How to respect a relational Family Culture and change it into a task-oriented Guided Missile

About Zeelandia
The client challenge

Koninklijke Zeelandia is an international and successful family business of almost 120 years old located in Zeeland, a Dutch Province. The fourth-generation shareholders are currently represented on the board of directors of the holding company. Together with customers they explore the world of bakery in inventive ways . They inspire customers with ingredients and better ways to bake, manage and sell. Four years ago, the currently sitting Executive Board (EB) started an acceleration of the professionalization process that the previous EB started.

This transformation is needed in virtually all areas of business operations.

The client challenge

The client had three key questions that they would like to see answered:

  1. Objectively determine whether one of the board members exhibits unacceptable behavior and expresses himself in a way to his direct employees that is not appropriate to our culture.
  2. Do the members of the Executive Board have the confidence and support within the organization? More specifically with their direct reports, the ManCom, Staff Directors and the MDs of the major (in revenue and profit) countries.
  3. Are the members of the ManCom, Staff Directors and MDs of the major countries willing and able to successfully realize the desired and necessary changes? The core of the question was whether the strategy deployed is supported by both the ManCom and the employees, as well as the Supervisory Board and shareholders.
Our approach to Culture Change


To increase objectivity, we conducted about 40 interviews and four “benchmark” measurements of the culture change, which we reported both on paper and “face-to-face”. With the feedback sessions with the ManCom and Supervisory Board, we have confirmed that the dominant current culture was without a doubt a relational “Family” culture. In addition, there was agreement among the participants that the direction to be taken should be the task-oriented “Guided Missile”. To evaluate the company’s readiness to go in that direction, we administered several tools: Culture for Change Scan, Dilemma Scan, Organizational Value Profiler and Personal Value Profiler.


Cultural dilemmas between the current and ideal cultures were captured through the analysis of the administered tools.
Some of the dilemmas included:

  1. We ask for entrepreneurial spirit, change, creativity and flexibility with customer focus AND We ask to comply to standards and harmonization to reduce complexity and costs and create synergy across countries and units;
  2. We keep valuing the history and pride of Zeelandia AND We need to change the culture to a worldwide organization run by professionals;
  3. Besides local responsibilities, we are also responsible for specific product group performance on corporate level AND Each country has its own local P&L and makes its own decisions in order to reach those goals.


A full day workshop with the Top 50 using the group Dilemma Reconciliation Process to get concrete action points to reconcile the major dilemmas merging the current Family culture with the Guided missile one: a true roadmap for culture change.


We have helped the board and HR to implement the changes suggested in the top-management meeting through Leadership Development and continuous monitoring of the changes.