Saturday, March 20, 2010

A Recipe for Change

They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.
-Andy Warhol

Last December Domino’s Pizza announced a major change to their pizza recipe. Considered by many to be a risky move in the highly competitive market, it now appears that the change is paying nice dividends.

In announcing the forthcoming pizza makeover, Domino’s Chief Marketing Officer Russell Weiner issued a very insightful press release that spelled out the changes. A look at the statement reveals a well thought out strategy, and for leaders, an opportunity to learn some key ideas of enacting change.

Change requires a commitment to be relevant. In the statement Weiner said, “The fact is, we love our pizza, but as times change, so do our consumer tastes.” From that statement we learn that the success of any organization is to be relevant.

For a pizza chain or any organization, relevancy is essential to survival. While proud of its product, Domino’s realized that market demands required an overhaul of the product in order to succeed.

Weiner continued, “We’ve created a pizza to reflect what customers are looking for…it’s a completely reinvented pizza from the crust up, and we are proud of it.” Enacting change in any organization can be a challenge. Successful leaders and organizations respond to changing conditions around them and are not afraid to adapt. Steve Jobs said, “Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.”

Change requires a commitment to excellence. An impressive observation form Weiner’s press release stated that more than 80 percent of Domino’s menu is new since 2008. “The cherry on the top of all of this recent innovation is our newly-inspired pizza. Our inspiration came from the thousands of direct consumer feedback messages on several social media channels,” Weiner said.

As a result of the feedback, Domino’s tested for the next two years dozens of sauces, seasonings, and blends imaginable to in order to perfect their new product. Their commitment to excellence and relevancy was not rushed, but rather years in the making.

A leader enacting change in his organization must also understand that the right change at the wrong time can sink even the best of ideas. Excellence is a process of enacting the best ideas at the right time. Before the launch of the new pizza, Domino’s listened to the consumers, and took their time to be sure that the new product met their expectations.

Weiner added, “With this new pizza we are convinced Domino’s can be known for both quality and service.” Only after countless tests and changes did they unveil their new product. Striving for excellence is what separates good leaders from great ones. In leadership; it is the difference between being satisfied with where you are and striving to be relevant.

Change requires everyone’s involvement. Weiner said, “The entire company has been involved in this. From the CEO to our franchisees; from our supply chain division to our supply partner; from our product development team to our marketers- everyone has had a hand in reinventing our pizza.”

It could be argued that Domino’s still may have had the same success without everyone’s involvement in the process. But certainly, everyone at Domino’s is sharing the credit for the success that it has had since. This is attributed to smart leadership that brought in everyone who would be touched by the change.

Dee Hock said, “The problem is never how to get new, innovative thought into your mind, but how to get old ones out. Every mind is a building filled with archaic furniture. Clean out a corner of your mind and creativity will instantly fill it.” At Domino’s, innovation from the top down is what made their change successful.

According to a report published on, for the quarter ending January 3, Domino’s profits climbed to $23.6 million up from last year’s $11 million. That certainly is a nice rise in dough. Leadership bold enough to change and be relevant is to be credited with the success.

Weiner opened his press release with the statement, “The fact is, we love our pizza…’ In fact you may love your company, your product or service, your personnel, etc. But you must love it enough to be willing to enact change where needed and when needed.

A good recipe for change is a commitment to relevancy, a commitment to excellence, and a commitment to involve everyone. As Johan Wolfgang von Goethe said, “There is nothing more dreadful than imagination without taste.” Imagine the possibilities of what change can do for you.

© 2010 Doug Dickerson

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