Enterprise-wide transformation in a multinational organization takes inspiring vision plus lots of work across multiple dimensions of accountability.  And Danone is leading the way.

What are their secret ingredients?

At the heart of this recipe for successful transformation lies a synergistic blending of four key ingredients.

  • Transformational leadership
  • Collaboration
  • Innovation
  • Growth through sustainability

(For more on the first two ingredients #1 Transformational Leadership, and #2 Collaboration, see part one.)

As Danone began engaging in building a new future for their organization, it became essential to innovate. At the same time, they wanted to keep their mission of “bringing health through food to as many people as possible” at the center of all activities.


To have a complete enterprise transformation, Veronique Penchienati, General Manager of Danone Waters, Paris, realized it would take innovating everywhere.

Her transformational leadership teams are putting customers first by:

  • Connecting with customers in new ways.
  • Including them in innovating.
  • Innovating the way products get to market.
  • Adapting to the changing market.
  • Setting up ongoing innovation.

And they want to accomplish all this in a way that takes care of communities and the environment.


Danone’s commitment to health includes doing whatever they do in a sustainable way. To that end they are:

  • Working with local stakeholders to ensure that non-polluting businesses would be encouraged around the spring’s catchment area.
  • Focusing on how products are made, not just design and marketing.
  • Working company-wide to reduce their carbon footprint.
  • Working worldwide with consumers to preserve local resources.

An example of only two results so far:

  • One project resulted with 420,000 children and parents planting 1 million trees in the mountains close to a key Polish spring.
  • In another they have made extraordinary headway by reducing the footprint by 40% across all brands.



Danone is growing in stature as a leader in both public health and the competitive waters market.

The Danone teams are demonstrating that a global enterprise, operating from mutually enhancing, sustainable values, can be profitable by doing so.

Here are just a few more results:

  • The waters division sales increased 10%(equivalent to $4.6 billion US dollars) over a year.
  • Other divisions have had bottom-line successes too:
    • Fresh Dairy Products up 2%
    • Baby Nutrition up 11.6%
    • Medical Nutrition up 5.9%

“We’re very proud of the business results—and the way we have achieved them,” says Penchienati.

Widespread participation of all their people, combined with a focused intent to be true to their vision while making innovative changes, summarizes the secret ingredients of Danone’s enterprise-wide transformation. (From “Transforming Danone”, for details, see (Insigniam Quarterly, v1, issue 2)

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