“The ideal leader was the one who was trying to make himself dispensable.”

— John Cleese, Harvard Business Review, March 2014


Cultural Change Management

SituationCatalyst (300x200)

In 2005, UBS created global support functions in Global Wealth Management & Business Banking as part of a worldwide reorganization of its core business. Previously organized by region or country, the new structure combined all product management, marketing, operations and information technology functions in one global entity.

Market Strategy & Development (MS&D), which placed all human capital-related functions in one group, was one of the new global functions. With a mission to “act as catalysts to create and compelling and consistent client experiences,” MS&D was charged help the firm deliver differentiated service experiences worldwide and accelerate advisor productivity.

In addition to encompassing diverse business support functions, MS&D’s 2,000+ employees worldwide also represented multiple ethnicities, nationalities, corporate cultures and languages — all with differing views of wealth management, work responsibilities and general mindsets.


  • Convert MS&D’s mission into action by empowering MS&D employees to think and act as proxies for clients — even if the service gaps they identified were beyond the scope of their jobs.
  • Promote a global leadership team and emphasize face-to-face communications between managers and employees to drive cultural change throughout the organization.


  • Generated 80 percent awareness of MS&D’s global mission and common mindset in 18 months despite language, cultural and regional differences by developing “We are Catalysts” program.
  • Produced 18+ face-to-face events annually, reaching every MS&D employee worldwide at least four times, by mandating the executive team to lead regional town meetings per year when they traveled outside their home market.
  • Reinforced regional face-to-face events with complementary line manager communications program to support more strategic and productive conversations between managers and employees.