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Coaching: Mentoring: Training: Consulting: Facilitating

Broxburn Drive

Steering in the right direction

A Business Integration Initiative

In the ceaseless pursuit of being the most cost-effective producer of customer satisfaction, many organisations eventually run out of quick fix options. They have to use radical solutions if they are to maintain momentum. It may involve merging with a competitor, or, more commonly, merging business units within an existing organisation.

A local government agency was set the task of preparing itself for a regime of continuously reducing income and possible privatisation. It recognised that a single point of contact, for all multidisciplinary offerings, would be the most cost-effective solution. This meant that nine specialist business units would be merged into one.

In the first phase of preparation and research our facilitators and the senior management familiarised themselves with, and reaffirmed the strategic requirements for, the new organisation. The specialist heads were asked to determine what their teams saw as the benefits and risks of the proposed structure.

In the next phase a facilitated workshop for senior management addressed the objectives, structure, values and prioritisation of key integration issues.

One-year and three-year objectives were announced to all staff; together with an outline of departmental objectives, measurement, events and activities.

Team Leaders then attended an "Interdependent Manager" based workshop where norms of personal responsibility, values and competence were established. It identified what they saw as areas of urgent focus within the newly integrated organisation.

Taking some existing team leaders and a small number of potential leaders, a cadre of facilitators was formed and specifically trained to organise and lead staff- involvement meetings.

From the issues identified by the senior management and team leaders, a list of "what must be achieved" was produced and allocated to task managers. They accepted responsibility for involving others in how the task could be achieved, setting milestones, regular measurement and briefing.

Simultaneously all other staff attended an "Interdependent Manager" based workshop. They also were asked how the organisation should resolve some of the cultural issues thrown up by integration; including staff recognising the impact of their behaviour and attitude on the goals the organisation was striving for.

Once everybody had attended a workshop, a 12 month program of events was published listing the objectives for the year, measurements, roles of the house, reporting milestones, task team’s objectives and social events.

Key areas of focus emerged

This whole process quickly established a safe working environment where staff felt involved and knew what was going on. As a consequence, customer service improved dramatically.

Document 6.3