The Issue 
We were approached by a leading UK pet care company, who wanted to achieve two key things: 
• To get employees to connect emotionally with their new vision of becoming ‘the world’s most trusted pet care company’ 
• To raise general employee engagement scores, which were down across the business, and address some performance challenges 
We started by talking to people. To everyone, in fact. To employees at head office and in the factories. To customers, key stakeholders, pet owner groups – everyone. To find out what people really thought about the business and, in particular, how much they trusted them. 
We then ran two conferences, where we engaged the business around what we had heard. Our conversations had told us that there was a need: 
• To grow competence within the business 
• For more consistent role modelling 
• To be much better at cross-functional working 
• To align how the business behaved externally with its customer with the ways it behaved internally with its staff 
• To create more ‘space’ for staff to think, reflect and innovate 
• To act with greater ‘strategic integrity’ – in other words, for the business to do what it said. 
Working with the conference attendees, we asked them what they needed to do to ‘go beyond the words’ and make the vision real by building on its current values. So they told us, and The Spirit was created. 
The Spirit was a series of six projects, run by employees and linked to an internal communications strategy that would instil a new way of working that would indeed take everyone beyond the words and make the vision a reality. 
Having created the Spirit, we then launched it into the business, getting people to sign up for each of the Spirit elements and supporting them in delivering real and tangible actions that would make these new ways of working a reality. 
So what difference did it make? An enormous amount is the simple answer. 
The vision stopped being owned by the senior managers and was picked up and owned by the whole business, with teams of volunteers driving The Spirit forward to transform the business – driving collaboration, creating timeout thinking spaces and upping levels of honesty and straight talking. 
Ways of working changed and the gaps we had identified started to be closed, with collaboration improving across the business. And employee engagement climbed. 


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