Distribution Company – Change Management Case Study

Improving Company Culture in a Distribution Company

The Problem

One of our clients is a distribution company in Auckland, New Zealand. This business is rich with culture and community connections. This is a story of change management.

However, after generations and numerous relatives’ involvement in the organisation, the board was starting to notice they were getting bogged down by old-school tactics and beliefs.

“It is an old business; it’s a family business. Prior to COVID, we were like Blockbuster. And when you’re in a family business, change becomes hard because you get very content,” says the Director.

COVID-19 has become an all-too-familiar determining factor for organisations, and this company was no different. While the directors already knew the world was moving forward and they would eventually need to catch up, the pandemic accelerated that need.

“When COVID happened, it was like Netflix coming. We then realised that we had to change.”

This organisation also recognised that to take that next evolutionary step, they needed to engage with a company with a reputation for supporting businesses as they entered that next phase of life.

Attain has such a reputation.

“We asked ourselves, ‘Can we hire an eCommerce manager? No. Can we hire a marketing manager? No. What do we do? So that’s why we needed an organisation like Attain.”

Sharn Piper, Attain’s CEO and the distribution company’s appointed consultant, says, “They came to us looking to grow their business. They wanted help with vision and to get a clear focus on direction.”

However, Attain soon uncovered that underneath all the drive and passion of the team there were some severe blockages.

Our Solution

Our first step was to take a look at not just what this organisation wanted, but what they needed.

Initially, the board approached Attain for sales training. They recognised that on top of competitor competition, the pressures COVID was having on supply chains was increasing the need to explore other, more sustainable revenue opportunities.

While this was undoubtedly true, Attain’s process of creating remarkable businesses starts with the most important factor: people.

During our first meeting with the heads of the organisation, we noticed significant faults in the way the directors were communicating, which then had a flow-on effect on the work culture as a whole.

“We needed to try to get everyone in the business on the same page in order for the company to move forward,” Piper says.

The distribution company recognised that despite the benefits of having a close-knit family business, there were some downsides.

The Director notes, “When you’re dealing with a family business, you need to be really, really good at conflict mediation.”

Part of Attain’s strategy for this organisation was to get integrated with the senior leadership team to truly understand the ins and outs of how they worked together.

“We’re in their offices every two weeks, sitting down with the leaders and reviewing their processes, their structure, and most importantly, their communication.”

Our external intervention proved to be extremely effective in a team that was so personally connected with each other.

“We provided outside support as well. Sitting down with the leadership team and keeping them accountable for their goals,” Piper remarks.

However, our strategy didn’t stop there. Aligning their internal comms formed the foundation of the rest of our growth plan. Once the team was collectively pointed in the right direction, we could start deploying vital brand and marketing strategies to help elevate them to the ‘Netflix’ level of organisation they were striving to be.

We gave the brand a refresh, helped them develop their vision and values, and we developed key brand awareness tactics, which included creating social media content and sending out regular monthly newsletters to their existing customer database.

The Director noted that being a traditionally humble organisation, this has initially been a struggle for them to do on their own.

“All this marketing stuff is really challenging for us because we’ve always been very under the radar. It’s very difficult to go out in the spotlight.”

However, as the Director and other leaders soon discovered, they were more capable than they gave themselves credit.


Undergoing a cultural facelift in the middle of a pandemic is no easy task.

“This is a big ship with a smaller rudder. It’s going to take a while to turn it,” says Piper.

However, since Attain’s involvement, there has been a noticeable shift in leadership. Communication has improved, the leadership team is collectively working towards shared goals, and decision-making has gotten faster.

With poor communication no longer acting as a serious blockage in their growth plans, this distribution company has gotten back to their pre-COVID sales. Moreover, two new business ventures have been discovered and the team is working towards an exciting and bright future.

The Director says, “Since we engaged with Attain, we’ve seen a lot of change from staff motivation and brand value. Before, we had a lot of confirmation bias about what we were capable of doing. Attain helped prove us wrong.”