Mercado Libre hosts the largest online commerce and payments ecosystem in Latin America, with a presence in 18 countries and a workforce of more than 35,000 employees. As the most valuable enterprise in Latin America, Mercado Libre’s exponential growth and sustainable success has been well documented over the years, but as MELI hit the inflection point, it realized that culture was the secret ingredient to fully unlocking corporate success, especially as MELI continued to scale. The “lead by example” tradition had maxed out and leadership needed to make a conscious effort to preserve and shape MELI’s culture.
MELI also needed help with three key issues:
- Breaking down silos
- Delivering value to users
- Developing human capital, transitioning its people from knowers to learners, from certainty to curiosity
A multi-year Culture Transformation Journey to define and design a company culture unique to MELI with a living, breathing, improvable set of principles
With the support of the CEO, we designed a 2016-2017 Culture Transformation Journey to drive behavior and mindset shifts, involving all levels of the organization. MELI’s journey began with an active and conscious process to work on its culture and preserve the “garage essence” of its entrepreneurial DNA, speaking to MELI’s humble roots in a garage in Buenos Aires.
Through the Culture Transformation Journey, we helped our client:
- Establish core principles/corporate DNA to guide the way people think and behave, understanding that leadership would need to play a critical role in demonstrating and demanding the values throughout the company
- Learn how to talk about culture
- Unlock new ways of working, with tools to also identify and stop what was not working
Modeling Success for Sustainable Change
We utilized Axialent’s Conscious Business methodology and frameworks as well as the ADKAR Change model to help leaders model the desired culture and ensure successful knowledge transfer to employees.
Key program elements included:
- 24 workshops including DNA workshops in Argentina, Brazil, and Mexico, plus 200 coaching sessions
The initial program took place between 2016 and 2017 with 400 leaders in Argentina and expanded to Chile, Brazil, and Mexico with additional leadership workshops, coaching sessions, and High Performing Team programs. We currently support the MELI team by helping them expand and foster their “Garage Culture” and encouraging company leaders to amplify and accelerate this culture goal.
The successful transfer of the Conscious Business concepts into the organization has helped MELI’s leaders lead with wisdom and compassion and transform human interaction through effective conversations, team collaboration, and innovation, delivering outcomes such as:
- Unifying culture across regions (whether in Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, etc.) even with subtle national differences
- Identifying pain points in execution and quickly developing a roadmap connected to culture to address them
- Integrating behavioral standards into the processes/human capital management systems, informing how MELI hires/fires, compensates, and promotes or demotes employees
Additionally, MELI has measured improvement quantitatively through “post surveys” 2-3 times a year to monitor progress on the executional issues and measure tangible results.
Cultural Transformation allowed MELI to define, shape, and live by a set of principles that makes MELI a culture leader as well as a market leader.
Quote/testimonial from client:
“This process taught us so much more about the way we work, the way we lead, how we build products for our consumers (the good and the bad) and ourselves as leaders.” (Pedro Arnt, CFO)
“It’s taught me the role of vulnerability and honesty in leadership, and it’s been incredibly rewarding. It’s allowed me to find the point between what my essence is and how I choose to be as a leader, and it’s been incredibly powerful.” (Pedro Arnt, CFO)