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    A Human-Centered Vision
    Operative-Culture Model | “Change-Management” Strategies

    How did the leading company in construction materials sales transform its culture with a responsive focus?

    A company’s relevance and profitability reside in its capacity for adaptation. With more than a century of market presence, CEMEX, the leading company in sales of construction materials, faced the challenges of adopting a notion of digital transformation, new guidelines for gender equity as well as talent attraction and retention. Hand in hand with Thrust, we designed devised a strategy to drive a responsive culture, i.e., an operative structure centered on people, capable of deft maneuver and cutting down needless costs, all to benefit its over 40,000 employees. 

    Always from the head down

    A successful culture permeates an organization from the top down. Using our “double loop” methodology, the first step was to kick off an ambitious diagnostic exercise that moved through the organization’s every level, from the executive suite to more than 40,000 collaborators in different worldwide CEMEX plants and offices. The study included workshops, surveys, ethnographies and one-on-one interviews that—with their record 70% participation—revealed the existence of emotional and operational barriers that led the company to work in silos rather than as a connected entity.

    Putting together the puzzle

    We used the so-called tribal methodology, that combines user-centered research methods with data analysis to identify different internal archetypes. For each archetype, we designed a series of practices that would specify expected KPIs for every position, in addition to a system of growth opportunities. The initiatives’ objectives were to recognize talent at CEMEX regardless of hierarchical seniority. “The people-driven company” even became a slogan and a reminder of where the company was headed.

    Never stop learning: CXU

    Cadena & Asociados undertook creative implementation of CEMEX (CXU) University’s campaign and new identity. The outcome was a fresh, innovative version of CXU that reflected the corporate culture’s new values, most notably digital agility and greater advocacy for gender equity. Currently student numbers are on the rise at CEMEX University, with themes that respond to business situations such as the covid-19 public health emergency.

    Flex that digital mentality

    A successful culture is a long-term, everyday exercise. CEMEX is going through a tough reorganization process in which a digital mentality and gender-diversity find themselves at the center of the discussion as part of institutional policy design and compensation efforts. We also put together a pragmatic and easy-to-understand ethics code and made it available to all. The strategy has a more people-oriented focus because at its conception it was inspired in and directly fed by employee feedback. 

    A brighter future

    In 2019, Forbes magazine, in partnership with Statista, included CEMEX on that year’s list of the “World’s Best-Recognized Businesses;” the ranking was based on “integrity, social conduct, product- and service-quality parameters as well as its participation as employers.” CEMEX was the only business from the construction materials industry that made the list. With this step forward, the company demonstrates it’s never too late to reimagine the principles and values that maintain its leadership position. A different situation might mean everything that helps comes to an end and ends up not helping anything.  

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