Cultivating Change in Times of Success: A Strategic Imperative for Leaders

What does success truly mean for an organisation? Is it an endpoint, or is it merely a stepping stone toward greater aspirations? This question is at the forefront of discussions in boardrooms of successful companies worldwide, challenging the complacent view that being prosperous means you've done everything right.

Britannia Industries Limited, a stalwart in the food industry with an impressive legacy spanning 130 years, are not taking a break despite their good fortunes and strong track record. Instead, they're proactively pursuing a journey of cultural modification, seizing a period of stability and success as the perfect time for this transformation. This isn't about fixing what's broken; it’s about enhancing what's already working well and ensuring that the company remains innovative and efficient in the years ahead.

In this article, we will delve into the critical importance of nurturing your company’s culture during prosperous times. We’ll explore why a successful company like Britannia is embracing change, and how this forward-thinking approach can lead to continuous growth and innovation. By examining this strategic choice, we aim to show why changing your organisational culture during the good times is not just a wise move — it’s essential for staying successful and relevant in an ever-changing world.


Navigating Through Stability

Breaking Free from the Success Bubble

Success is a clear indicator of a company’s strength and effective strategies, but it can also create a comfort zone that’s hard to leave. This zone, built on stable performance and a series of wins, might lead to a lack of urgency and a false sense of security. It’s a sneaky trap; the same factors that brought success could start to blunt the drive for new ideas and the ambition to always strive for excellence.

Ritesh RanaTake Britannia, for instance, whose Head of Human Resources, Ritesh Rana, spoke recently in our 10th #TheCultureFactor Conference. Britannia has been a leading name for 130 years, proving their ability to thrive in the food industry. They could have easily remained content with the status quo, maintaining everything as it was. But they’ve recognized that staying static, even when you're at the top, is a risky strategy in a world that's constantly advancing. They’ve chosen to challenge the status quo, acknowledging that even in times of prosperity, there’s always room for improvement and growth.

“Obviously, the environment and the context changes, so you need to keep refreshing yourself,” Ritesh remarks on why the company has chosen to refresh their culture roughly every 10 years, even when things are going smoothly.


Embracing Change in a Fast-Paced World

In today’s fast-evolving landscape, being open to change is not just advisable; it’s a necessity. To maintain a leading position and continue to be relevant, companies must anticipate and be prepared to initiate changes even when it seems optional.

Britannia exemplifies this proactive stance. They understand that past achievements do not guarantee future success. By adjusting their company culture while on solid ground, they demonstrate foresight and strategic planning. They’re not just fixing problems; they’re getting ahead of them, making sure they stay strong and successful in the years to come. Their commitment to evolving their culture is a big statement: no matter how well you’re doing, you must remain agile and ready to adapt. This proactive mindset is a clear indication of their understanding that success is not a final destination, but a perpetual journey.

We aren’t creating a crisis, but we can see a crisis coming [in the future] and that creates enough [of a] crisis for us,” Ritesh Rana says. He points out that while Britannia’s success is evident in areas where they excel, there are always KPIs that reveal opportunities for improvement. “That’s where the crisis is getting clear. But, as I said, I’m not looking at currently to push a lot, it’s a gradual change that we are trying to build.”

The Strategic Imperative for Proactive Change

Beyond Crisis Management

Shifting gears when you’re ahead, not just when you’re behind, can really set a company apart. For many, the push to shift culture and strategy kicks in during tough times. That’s when change feels urgent and necessary, and the whole team gets on board quickly. However, there’s significant merit in being proactive, in making these shifts amidst success. It allows for thoughtful planning, strategic execution, and deliberate moves without the acute pressure of an impending crisis.

“Culture is easier to change when you’re in a crisis, because everyone is far more aligned. We are attempting to do that because our performance has been good, and we think we need to start early - before it becomes a crisis. So convincing your team is going to be that much [more] difficult. Because you will always start with the question ‘Why change? We are doing well."

Balancing Efficiency and Innovation

In the quest for success, companies often focus intently on efficiency and cost-reduction. These are key pieces of the puzzle, but they need to be balanced with a culture of innovation and a willingness to take risks. Britannia, with its tradition of prioritising efficiency, has reaped the rewards of a cost-conscious approach. Yet, they're wise enough to recognize the need to foster other facets of their business, such as innovation, growth, and keeping their team engaged and motivated.

By actively engaging in their cultural shift, Britannia is addressing this balance head-on, aiming to create an environment where innovation flourishes alongside the efficiency and cost-consciousness they've mastered.

“Last ten years our success has come through a lot of focus on efficiency [...] This sector by and large [...] it’s a very low gross-margin business, so you can’t afford to lose track of cost consciousness. So you need to have that cost-focus, and put everything on top of it.”

The Three C’s

But change is not only about culture. Ritesh discusses three elements that are critical for successful cultural change.


Change requires more than just the desire for progress; it demands a solid foundation of capability in systems, processes, and people. It's essential for the organisation to have the right skills, knowledge, and tools to support the transition, ensuring a cohesive and successful movement forward.


For change to be effective, capability must be matched with capacity. This means having the necessary resources, time, and energy devoted to the change process, ensuring the organisation is adequately prepared, and not overstretched.


The final essential element is the culture of the organisation. The collective mindset plays a pivotal role in championing change, creating an environment where innovation is encouraged, and every team member feels empowered to contribute to the transformation.

Capability, Capacity and Culture, the Three C’s, as he calls them. “If you put all that together, then it works. In isolation, none of these things work.”


For any successful organisation, success is not the end goal but a milestone on a continuous journey of growth and evolution. This realisation prompts a strategic shift, urging leaders to use times of prosperity as golden opportunities for cultural refinement. If you're ready to take transformative steps within your organisation, don't wait for necessity to dictate your actions. Reach out, and let’s begin crafting a resilient, future-proof, adaptable culture together.