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Blue Apron Has The Recipe For Culture Change

03/11/2016 11:21 EST | Updated 03/12/2017 05:12 EDT
Tim Ridley via Getty Images
Blue apron

Our growing love of healthy and sustainable food doesn't necessarily translate into a growing love of cooking. Many people who want to eat healthy and interesting meals don't have the time, nor the inclination to cook. Enter the meal-kit service business, estimated to grow to $3 billion in the coming years.

Blue Apron, one of the leaders, aspires to build a community of home chefs. In addition to providing basic sustenance, Blue Apron seeks to support lifelong learning of beginner and experience chefs, as well as create stronger family bonds by creating "cooking experiences that are fun for the whole family and that will inspire a new generation of home chefs."

What's the connection to culture change?

Many organizations stumble in executing on new strategies or in motivating employees to embody key values such as innovation, performance, or even integrity. With a strategic goal in mind, leaders hope that managers and employees will follow by virtue of the inherent logic of the new direction. Leaders' desire to just get to the end of the journey is similar to wolfing down an energy bar instead of preparing a meal. They think that they addressed the issue by consuming calories. But the hard reality is that managers and employees need something more.

People will be more likely to embrace change if they see themselves as part of the process. They need to have their questions answered and need to feel that their experience and expertise is valued. They have to experience what the new reality is like and feel comfortable making mistakes and taking corrective actions. Not too dissimilar to the experience of a family cooking together.

But leaders don't have the time to cook. There aren't the resources to let everyone take their own journey and make up their own recipes.

In comes the Blue Apron approach. Leaders should avoid partners (internal or external) who offer packaged solutions. There are no quick fixes. Instead, leaders should seek partners who can make their journey easier. The people in the organization must experience the "joy of cooking" if the changes are to be internalized, but the organization can make it easier for them. A "Blue Apron" partner will help leaders pinpoint the root causes of where employees gets stuck, and then develop a tight and focused action plan that encourages employees and managers to take the actions they need to move forward. No one can do the hard work of change for you or your team. But it can be made easier.

Bon appetit.

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