Ricola cough drops and herbal sweets have become a real international hit. Since the company was founded in 1930, the family-run brand has expanded from its headquarters in Laufen, Switzerland, to over 45 countries worldwide. But in May 2019, for the first time in its history, Ricola welcomed a new CEO from outside the family. Thomas P. Meier. His goal: to act with the necessary determination and speed to secure Ricola’s position as a global player.

To develop the necessary leadership culture, which Thomas Meier describes as ’the crucial ingredient’, he enlisted the support of TheNextWe.  ‘It all starts with the mindset,’ says Meier. With the aim of inculcating a company-wide mindset suited to an international operator, the company embarked on an individual management development programme, providing coaching sessions for everyone – from the  Board of Directors down.

’We export 90% of our products around the world and have retained the internal feeling of a family business in which cooperation is a top priority,’ explains Meier. ‘But at the same time, we need to be able to accelerate our brand. Together with TheNextWe, we have succeeded in realising the necessary mindset. In asking ourselves,  “What’s stopping me from taking this step?” we have found the liberation we were looking for.’,.

Rene Schori, Chief Human Resources Officer, adds:  ‘That was the main task: that we transform from an export-oriented Swiss SME to a global company that has a play-to-win mindset.’

As well as the entire Executive Board, executives who work at the headquarters in Laufen,  in the USA, Singapore, Italy, France and Belgium took part in the twelve-week programme. In the first four weeks, TheNextWe worked with them at an individual level to understand their reservations and develop new mindsets on the topic of leadership. Each participant was assigned their own coach. TheNextWe helped to establish a new collective mindset across all areas that befits the pioneering character of a global player.

The new behaviour that results from this mindset work was practised and consolidated for the following eight weeks. TheNextWe app served as the central space for the coaching, where the participants were also guided through inspiring exercises, coaching discussions and the setting and tracking of personal milestones.

The end of the programme was marked by an event where all the participants could share their experiences. Together, they noticed an incredible collective change that resulted in being freed from self-limiting mindsets. Executives reported that they were now better able to raise difficult issues directly and use the talent in their teams more effectively.

Rosa Riera, Co-CEO of TheNextWe, sums it up:  ‘Big changes in family-run medium-sized companies, often go hand in hand with a change in management from the owner to an external manager. This transformation is not trivial. Maintaining real togetherness, at the same time as establishing the idea of performance, enables a traditional company to remain successful as a global player.’

Insa Klasing, co-founder of TheNextWe:  ‘At Ricola, the CEO and board have made the mindset change programme a top priority and completed it themselves.  And it’s this proactive approach, taking a bold vision and matching that with decisive action, that makes mindset change programmes truly successful among all our customers.’

Case study video:

The magic ingredient: Breakthrough with mindset change: https://youtu.be/Y8krxgrIVrU