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Leading Change: The Story of Transformational Change in a Family Business

Multi-award winning Cotteswold Dairy is one of the most widely known and recognised family businesses in Gloucestershire. 

With its distinctive blue and cream livery vehicles, the company has been delivering milk and dairy products for over 80 years and employs over 450 people.

George Workman is the third-generation grandson of the founder and has embarked on one of the company’s most ambitious initiatives to date – a company-wide new management style and culture change programme. 

“Things are really improving but we don’t know why” was the puzzling question that George Workman and Justin Young, Operations Director have been wrestling with recently.  

Transformational Change 

So, what’s their process for transformational change? 

“Firstly, we acknowledged that over 75% of change initiatives fail so we wanted to be in the 25% that succeeded,” explains Justin. “That meant George and I needed to take time out of the business to understand what change is and how to successfully lead our people through change. Transformational change (which means big change) completely alters how you do things so it brings with it high risk. We’ve been helping the business to develop a new vocabulary and understand how we are conducting ourselves as leaders and managers. We’ve used the QuoLux™ LEAD™ and LEADlight programs to do that, and communicate our vision, mission, purpose and aims for continuous improvement. Through all the positive things we’re collectively doing, people can start to see how their day job connects to the strategic plan.  

“We are now seeing other directors, leaders and managers being the agents of change. We’ve got a lot of legacy staff, and it’s making sure that fresh energy comes through. Strategically as a board we manage what the vision looks like, but it needs to have a collaborative buy-in because everyone’s got to own it. 

“As part of my research for my MBA (Leading Business), I met with a number of people who had been involved in the change process over the last five years. They identified over 30 critical activities (events) that have shaped the change. It was invaluable hearing this from the staff and trapping this learning. We can use this knowledge when we acquire new businesses or sites by knowing what to implement, when and how. 

When we discussed the 30 critical events, it surfaced over 600 aspects that we then distilled down intofive key ingredients in our successful transformational change program that we realised that we must “bottle”: 

1. Performance focus 

2. Effective leadership 

3. Governance 

4. Social structure 

5. Communication 

These are what we believe make up the Cotteswold Dairy Culture – ‘the way we do things around here’. Our Chairman is right when he says, “It’s what’s in the bottle that counts!” 


Cows in a field near the dairy

If you’d like to download our case study on Cotteswold Dairy, 'Transformational Change & Business Growth', click on the image below.  


3D cover of the QuoLux™ Cotteswold Dairy case study eBook


To learn more about our leadership and business development program, LEAD™, and how it could help your organisation, please get in touch with Jo Draper here. Our next LEAD™ program starts on 19th and 20th April.



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