Transitioning a business for growth always presents its challenges and oftentimes, the alignment of the people and transformation of the culture is key. In this particular case, a family business was sold to a private equity partner to expand the business and capitalise upon opportunities in the marketplace. The people who were involved from the inception of the company were still with the organisation. They were experiencing a change in culture, direction and method of working. The speed and rate of change was further amplified with additional acquisitions merging with the business. The core team, still having to deliver, was under increasing amounts of pressure to provide stopgap solutions whilst other parts of the business were integrated. This had a snowball effect on morale, bringing about diminished team spirit and lack of personal performance.

It is difficult when you have people who have a sense of ownership in a business, who were always close to the decision makers and felt heard, to then be part of what seemed to be turning into a machine, and they a cog within it. The situation required a series of one-to-one sessions with individual team members, in addition to group work. The private sessions enabled us to explore their core drivers, strengths and aspirations, as well as areas they wanted to develop. They also had the opportunity to reflect on their perception of certain events and how they shape their beliefs. This allowed us to tackle certain rifts that seemed to be occurring and enabled individual team members to observe and begin to understand their inter-personal dynamics. This brought about better communication, which in turn created an environment that encouraged collaboration, greater transparency and higher levels of trust.

Through group work, they identified areas in which they could be each other’s mentors and role models, playing off each other’s strengths. This also provided a more collegiate work environment, one in which they each felt encouraged to shine and to help each other out, wanting the best for each other, as opposed to the politicking people often experience in the workplace.

There was also a realignment of roles in which the functions were playing to strengths and areas of competence as opposed to titles due to length of service. Some team members realised they were not in the right role or company, wanting to pursue their own personal ambitions. This meant the team that remained consisted of individuals who were committed and wanted to be there, which in itself created a more positive working environment. The others were empowered to believe in their capabilities, some of which set up enterprises and have their old employer as a client.

inSight - Salty not Sweet

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