simpleshow academy workshop at Ritter Sport: chocolate experts can be explanation experts, too

Ritter Sport is the family company that not only invented its chocolate bars’ distinctive square shape and convenient snap-open packaging, but revolutionised the chocolate market with a colourful idea. From 1974 on, every flavour has had its own unique wrapper colour. Ever since, the company has constantly surprised us with innovations and a parade of exciting new varieties.

Why am I telling you this, you ask? Well, since the company’s founding in 1912, change has been in Ritter Sport’s genes. Especially over the past few years, the organisation – and not just the product range – has been growing by leaps and bounds. The international expansion has spawned new departments, teams and positions: a development that poses a major challenge for internal communication. After all, the new structures and processes need to be communicated to employees in a way that’s understandable and motivating.


And that’s exactly where we come in. How so? With a leadership workshop initiating participants in the significance and methods of a simple explanation.

So, as a trainer for the simpleshow academy, I headed to the town of Waldenbuch in Southwest Germany. I had intense cravings for chocolate before I even arrived. The building itself has a shape reminiscent of one of the deliciously sweet squares. But I wasn’t there to gorge myself. I had some explaining to do. So we got straight to work. With a short introductory presentation, the participants learned the basics of simple explanation: simpleshow’s explanatory technique, which we’ve refined over years of experience and scientific studies. Next it was time for the participants to put what they’d learned into practice. As they worked through group assignments and exercises, the managers focused on the topic of “change” from the employees’ point of view. Along the way there was plenty of pondering and sketching, trial and error. The group discussed what they had figured out and wrote down their reasoning on a flip chart, an important step in the simplification process.

By the end of the workshop, everyone was convinced that anyone can explain a complex change process simply and accessibly and that good explanations improve day-to-day communication considerably.