Our president and co-founder Phil LeNir recently had a conversation with one of our partners on how to implement and select topic for their client undergoing a cultural merger. We want to share this with you to show how CoachingOurselves can be applied.
Our partner is challenged with helping a new organization being formed from the merger of two separate organizations. They are currently merging operations and their next step will be integrating cultures and management. This is, understandably, a complicated task. Our partner needs to help managers align values, merge cultures, and work through the many human issues that arise in this complex and often muddled process.
Step One: Building Buy-In
An important first step in establishing CoachingOurselves in any organization is making sure senior leaders see the value in and are committed to the process. How do you do this? Organize a pilot with a small group of 4-5 senior leaders, using topics such as Strategic Blindspots or Probing into Culture
Senior leaders on board? Great! Now you can use their support to implement a CoachingOurselves program across the organization. A cascading deployment approach is best. We begin by having the change champions work through a series of CoachingOurselves topics related to change, resistance to change and change management. This is followed by a short but intensive program consisting of 8-10 peer learning sessions, 90 minutes each, over a 6 month period hosted by the change champions. It is better to move quickly and uncover any potential issues before they fester and impact the new organization.
The peer learning groups can consist of cross functional or intact teams made up of a mix of people from the old organizations. It’s important that the teams are on a smaller side, 4-5 participants, because they do not know each other and will see bigger gains from a smaller and more intimate group setting where they can gain trust and form real relationships.
Onto choosing the topics. What’s our strategy? First, you will need at least one that is going to be easy for the group. This will contain content they actively want to discuss, is stimulating, and does not touch on uncomfortable subjects – broad themes such as culture or strategy are the way to go. This will help them get to know and increase their confidence in one another and the change champion. Assuming groups are composed of middle to senior team members we recommend you choose from one or two of the following topics:
- Five Ideas about Teamwork
- Accountability: It’s a Tricky World
- Strategic Blindspots
- Developing Brand Leadership for Every Manager
- Four Pathways to Customer Insights
- Probing into Culture
- Understanding Your Organizational Culture
- Leading Change in Difficult Times
- Managing Time and Energy
- Silos and Slabs in Organizations
Once the group is warmed up and starting to trust each other, they are ready to work together in this new and larger organization and it’s time for more challenging topics that will initiate self reflection and address some of the difficult issues around the change. The change champion use these sessions to communicate the aspects of the new culture and support the process of integrating this through dialog. We recommend the following topics:
- Smart Investments in Talent
- Talent Management
- Understanding Stakeholders
- Leading with Humility
- Influencing Others: Leading through Trust
- Lenses for Leadership Insights
- Thinking Entrepreneurially to Grow Your Business
- Managing on Tightropes: The Inescapable Conundrums of Managing
- Political Games in Organizations
- Opening up the Moral Senses
- Building Purpose at Work and In Life
To conclude the program, we want to catalyze action and change amongst group members. At this point, the merger will be in the past and everyone will be focused on dialog around the present and future. You can choose topics that focus on broader actions for change or on specific issues relevant to the team:
Topics for change:
- Changing Things: What and How
- Rethinking Structure: Chains, Hubs, Webs, and Sets
- Ten Ways to Release Change
- Silos and Slabs in Organizations
Topics that address specific issues:
- Virtual Teams: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly
- Knowledge Sharing for Innovation
- Practical Tips for Leading Meetings that Matter
- Managing Culture Change: Beyond the Status Quo
- Crafting Strategy
We also highly recommend our specialized topic Friendly Consulting to conclude programs. This topic is different from the other CoachingOurselves’ offerings, as it asks one or two participants to present a current issue, while the rest of the group act as friendly consultants. This is effective at exposing preconceived notions and biases while generating new ideas and insights on around the culture change. Friendly consulting is a great way to wrap up CoachingOurselves programs and to support the human side of mergers.
Is your company going through a merger or another difficult transition? CoachingOurselves can help with a program tailored to your individual needs. Contact us!