WHY THE NEED?
At one point culture was seen as one of the major aspects of strategy. Then it became ‘the’ major aspect. Now Culture is Strategy.
Products, services, your distribution channels, can be copied. Not easily, but eventually.
The only real strategic edge you have is culture.
But what happens when “cultures” meet, such as the typical tension between Sales and Production, or Long Term Planning vs. Short-Term Profitability. Or in the extreme, the merger of two different companies, or even national cultures.
Inevitably, there are clashes and tensions, which if not anticipated or dealt with, can literally cost you a fortune and kill the human spirit.
WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU DON’T?
Without an awareness of the typical patterns of behaviour that occur when cultures meet, your chances of building an even stronger and robust culture (a culture greater than the sum of its two parts) are very limited.
The energy goes into people protecting their culture rather than seeing the productive possibilities in the other.
Even worse it detracts from the energy required externally to match your organisation’s capabilities with the opportunities and needs of the marketplace.
Before you know it, an “organisational” merger becomes very personal as does people’s behaviour. Because they are not aware of the predictable systemic patterns of behaviour that occur when cultures meet, destructive conflicts occur, with entrenched “us” and “them” thinking becoming difficult to evade or overcome.
A BRIEF OVERVIEW
Every leader needs to learn what culture is, the elements of culture building and how cultural cliques can sometimes take away from both the effectiveness and efficacy of organisational capability.
Come Together: When Cultures Meet is a one-day programme designed to help recently merged organisations or business units work more effectively together. It enables organisations to quickly overcome any initial transitional problems and capitalise on the best aspects of each culture.
As we’ve said, mergers and acquisitions are a common business strategy. One business unit acquires another to strengthen itself in the marketplace. However, in the midst of financial and operational goals, two (or more) different groups of people now need to find a way to work together effectively.
Come Together: When Cultures Meet targets the people aspect of the merger process and addresses the behaviours that prevent your merged cultures from working together productively. In doing this you’ll be able to capitalise on the contributions of all parties and move forward as one integrated organisation.
It will enable your organisation to:
- Define what culture is all about.
- Learn the key elements of Culture Building.
- Quickly overcome any initial interpersonal or ‘teething’ problems that are the result of the merger.
- Really explore the ‘best of both’ cultures and integrate these into your ‘new’ culture.
- Shift the responsibility for the success of the merger to all persons involved, not just senior management.
- Provide a chance for self-reflection and awareness for individual contribution to the success or failure of the merger process.
- Get to know your ‘new’ colleagues in the merged entity.
- Have everyone strategically involved in the merger process.
- Reach a better understanding and appreciation of the ‘other’ culture and their ability to interact during the process of merging cultures.
- Build a robust culture.
SO HOW DOES IT WORK?
The centrepiece of the programme is a highly impactful experiential activity that surfaces the powerful dynamics at play when cultures meet.
A group with their “normal” way of working encounters a group with its “normal” way of working and then instantly you access the typical patterns that emerge when cultures meet.
The debrief process consists of thought provoking insights into these destructive patterns, sets up a highly engaging atmosphere for authentic dialogue and specific strategies on how to productively manage when cultures meet.
DISTINGUISHING FEATURES AND BENEFITs
|HOW THE PROGRAMME WORKS||WHICH MEANS FOR YOU|
|An exploration about what culture is and why it’s so vital to organisational health.||An awareness of the importance of culture is reinforced and a commitment to building it together.|
|An emotionally charged experiential simulation of the merging of 2 cultures: “dominant” and “other”.||Participants get the learnings at a real ‘gut’ level, not just at head level. They can’t run from or deny the visceral experience of the tensions of mergers.|
|An overview of the role of dominance and the dominant culture, and the unspoken and often unaware rules of "the way it is around here".||All participants get to reflect personally on how they are helping or hindering the integration process.|
|Intervals of solid theory, reflections and leadership strategies are presented.||It’s not just a day of awakening, it’s a day of learning 4 key strategies that help to ensure you build an even stronger culture.|
|The simulation is debriefed and the typical patterns that emerge are discussed through a shared conceptual map.||The emotional charge is taken out of the discussions yet the passion remains. Allowing more authentic, honest and meaningful dialogue about the pull going forward.|
|Seeing the merger process and the systemic patterns involved, not just from a typical financial or operational viewpoint (where most mergers or acquisitions are focussed).||Personal “reactions” are reduced, allowing more logical and reasonable decisions to be reached. Your people will master “the condition” of the system, not their emotions or the emotions of others.|
|Doesn’t have to be confined to large scale mergers. It is also suitable for recently merged departments or where existing interdepartmental frustrations are costing you dearly.||A great stand-alone Leadership Development Module for any Leadership Programme.|
Just wanted to say a big thank you for the AMAZING session you ran for the joint Mars-Wrigley LT yesterday, it was a fantastic day and we landed some great outcomes as individuals, the joint team and for the business.
It was an important day on our journey to becoming the Mars Wrigley Confectionary business and the insights you shared across the day meant we landed not only clear actions but we left feeling a true sense of connection to each other, which is no mean feat considering many of us hadn’t even met each other before yesterday!
Katy Halliwell, People & Organisation Director, Mars Chocolate
Very easy to do business with Paul Mitchell and the human enterprise – Paul worked with us to tailor a solution based on our specific business needs. Our leadership conference themed “A Culture to be Proud of” resulted in overwhelming positive feedback – Paul as a consultant is genuine, authentic, and extremely skilled in his delivery – this was a valuable investment that did deliver the intended business benefit.
Andrea Thompson, Human Resources Director, GE Capital
I cannot speak highly enough of Paul’s performance in helping us to get on the path of success with our merge. The feedback from the entire team was extremely positive. Even the most cynical were convinced. Paul delivers all of this while making it easy and fun for everyone. It is a real pleasure to work with him.
Alain Moffroid, Business Director – Out of Home, Unilever Australasia
Thank you so much for the very successful and thought-provoking session you ran with our group last week. I have had fabulous feedback – everyone thought the workshop was appropriately pitched in a safe learning environment, a great exercise to raise awareness, and highly complimentary about you of course!! You are so highly skilled, a perfect professional, very entertaining and I love the human element you bring to every conversation and every action you make. You bring such a real and very authentic energy Paul. I am in awe of how well you read the audience and relate back to the heart and mind of the issue.
Lucy McCarthy, Commercial Excellence Director, Allergan Australia
We were attempting to merge two marketing teams following a recent acquisition, when we decided to commission the help of the human enterprise. We felt that teams were largely working in silos and therefore were unable to maximise they synergistic opportunities and operate as one team with one direction. Already we have seen a noticeable difference in the tone and participation at the marketing meetings and consistently more shared learnings and socialising across the team.
Jenny Shortall, Marketing Director, Reckitt Benckiser Australia
Come Together gave the leadership team the opportunity to acknowledge and discuss our experience as two organisations learning to work together. The simulation set the scene for a robust Q&A session that unearthed some great questions and insights for the leaders of our business. As an experience we gained a broader appreciation of how it feels to “stand in another’s shoes”. We are certainly a more united team as a result of the experience.
Mark Milliner, Group Executive – Commercial Insurance, Suncorp
*NB: All roles and organisations were accurate at the time the testimonials were provided
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