100 days of Frey’s: Always be prepared!


CFO Brad Wentzel shares a roadmap on how to ready your organisation for its change journey.

For the past 25 weeks, I have been learning everything I can about Frey’s Food Brands. I’ve been to all the sites, met mostly everyone, and assimilated as much information as I can about the business, its people and my role in it.

Read more: Learnings from my first seven days

Read more: Two weeks in, no change yet!

If you have been on the same journey, all these efforts should have yielded plenty of insights for you too, and possibly even exposed some inefficiencies that you can reframe into opportunities.

Well, now is finally the time to get to work on those! From week 25 to week 50, the gaps you have identified need to be addressed, and your gambit to leading the organisation begins.

The goal of this part of the journey is to prepare for the change management that will take place in your next and final phase of joining a new organisation. Here’s how:

  1. Brush up on the company’s strategy. Understand where the company wants to go and start thinking of ways you can get there.
  2. Check in with HR. At the core of the business is its people. Make sure you understand the specific challenges and opportunities that your people are facing and identify solutions and growth opportunities for those areas.
  3. Do your research. Consume any information, whether it’s from books, podcasts, or the internet, about your business sector and the environment you operate in. What are the challenges? Think about how you can overcome them.

Preparing for the change processt

It was during this phase that I started setting the cadence for my team, and the business at large. This required constant, clear and conscious communication about my goals and intentions.

Set reasonable expectations. Explain them to the team and the business, slowly. And explain them again. Consistency is one of the cornerstones of authenticity.

But remember, change is scary for everyone. Reassure and reinforce your team’s concerns, because they WILL have some.

Offer them guidance on how to manage upstream, including you. As a member of the exco, you will have seen and engaged with the upper echelons, which your team may not be privy to. Part of your duty to your workforce is to be the bridge between the executives and the business.

Reiterate your support and commitment to their downstream actions. Create an autonomous and innovative culture.

Lastly, help your team understand how to achieve, how to be present, and how to add value to the organisation and to its leadership.

As you ready yourself for the change that is to come, remember to be:

  • Visible
  • Present
  • Authentic
  • Transparent

In the next phase, I hope to implement a review and check-in process, begin growing the talent within the organisation, and reinforce autonomy. What will our journey have in store?

Read the full series here:

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