Leading Change: The Cotteswold Way

Multi-award winning Cotteswold Dairy is one of the most widely known and recognised family business in Gloucestershire.

With its distinctive blue and cream livery vehicles, the company has been delivering milk and dairy products for almost 80 years and now employs over 350 people.

George Workman is the third-generation grandson of the founder and has recently embarked on one of the company’s most ambitious initiatives to date – a companywide new management style and culture change programme.

We have been working with George and his management team for over a year now. Firstly, with George on our LEAD programme, then with George and his management team on the creation of a business plan and more recently with his operations and production leaders on LEAD and LEADlight.   

“The LEAD programme has opened my mind up to new learning and leadership techniques and has been invaluable when applying this through my business,” says George. “I am becoming a better leader and have a toolbox to improve the business and myself further.

“I have just run a workshop with my directors and management team where we have developed, agreed and will now be rolling out clear company statements, strategies, goals and values which will be relayed onto all staff. This will ensure values are aligned to what we are doing.

“We are implementing a change in management style to be more engaging and motivational with all our staff with a greater emphasis on teamwork.

“Along with improving communication, we are initiating regular team briefs across the whole company (only a few departments run them currently), we are also introducing ‘Meet the Boss’ sessions for all staff.

“It doesn’t stop there as we are introducing a companywide Continuous Improvement program with an objective to involve all staff, through various action teams.

“Along with all this change, we are aiming to work smarter with what we do, with our processes and deliver the very best products to market.

Justin Young, Operations Directors comments, “The change in George in the last 12 months has been quite profound and is an inspiration to others so much so that when George asked if others wanted to join LEAD, I was first to volunteer because if I can develop in the same manner then that can only be good for me, my teams and the company.”

The dairy market and managing the supply chain from the farmer to independent retailers right through to the doorstep is a very complex undertaking but made so much easier with an engaged workforce. George and his team are truly leading change and making a real difference to people’s lives.

This article was published in Gloucestershire Echo and Gloucester Citizen.

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