Client :

Metro AG, otherwise known as Metro Group, is a German global diversified retail and wholesale/cash and carry group based in Düsseldorf.

It was established in 1964 by Ernst Schmidt and Wilhelm Schmidt-Ruthenbeck.
As of 2010, it was the fourth-largest retailer in the world measured by revenues (after Wal-Mart, Carrefour and Tesco).

Business Need:

  • With the arrival of a new CEO, CHRO and new board members, Metro decided their future success would depend on the ability of the organisation’s leaders to develop and implement profound changes across the global business that would transform not only the delivery model in the stores but also the product offerings and the structure of the internal functions including among others, IT, Real Estate, Supply Chain, Marketing and Non-Foods.
  • The key focus was on changing the DNA of the firm to enable a less hierarchical, command and control culture to one that is more collaborative, cross-silo and empowered at the lower levels.
  • To build more “enlightened” and risk-taking leadership as well as to breakdown the barriers between HQ and the countries, creating more trust and partnership between the two operations.

Our Approach:

Oxford Leadership collaborated with the CHRO and the AG Board to develop a two-step firm-wide culture change initiative called “Leadership for Growth” using the Oxford Leadership methodologies of Self-Managing Leadership®, Capabilities for Change™ and Strategic Focusing®.

After extensive testing and refining, a powerful experiential program was launched, and the Transformational Story was built.

In a follow up program, both global and local leaders from business and HR, were trained during a five-day experiential ‘Train the Trainer’ programme to rapidly and effectively multiply the transformational leadership capability building throughout the organisation.

Seven mission-critical capabilities were identified and embedded in this training:

  • Building Trust
  • Celebration & Appreciation
  • Dialogue
  • Team Dynamics
  • Coaching
  • Giving & Receiving Feedback
  • Decision-making (speed and decisiveness)


  • A solid foundation was laid to rebuild the winning spirit of the company, people bought in to the idea of ‘one company, one meaning, one language, one strategy, one action’ and in 24 months, over 120,000 people had engaged in the process at Metro Cash & Carry. METRO reported that the people gained self-confidence and a sense of closeness, appreciation and a deeper level of trust across the company.
  • Various tools, both internal and external, were used to measure and evaluate the impact.
  • This helped rebuild the social fabric of the organisation and lower the silo barriers deep within the organisation. Ultimately it ensured authenticity and true commitment to the transformation ultimately achieving significantly higher levels of personal and organizational performance and results.
  • METRO noted the real impact the trainings had in the organisation as the managers became more skilled in leading meetings, in communication, in respecting different perspectives, and most importantly, in cooperation and cross-functional and cross-country collaboration.
  • More than 1,500 managers across more than 15 countries have now gone through the “Train the Trainer” program.