Articles

Success Story of company merged from three bitter competitors

Jun 27, 2007

Late in 2005 I was invited to assist the Global VP of a medium size manufacturer of capital goods to assist him to bed down his US operation which had recently been formed by merging three bitter competitors.
By the time I arrived the executive team had been appointed and all head office employees relocated to a single head office. 
I interviewed the members of the executive team individually in their own offices. 
It was immediately apparent that turf wars were raging and that the key battle ground was the preservation of product lines and jobs.
At the first three day workshop twenty-two senior executives demonstrated outward friendliness to each other and me but any attempt to discuss their combined future continually had to be rescued from discussion of their individual agendas.
By the end of the second day little progress had been made.
At 16.00 I moved the meeting out of its comfortable conference venue to a canteen with wooden chairs, a low ceiling, melamine tables and an almost unbearable echo. Outside snow began to fall and inside signs of resignation and despair were appearing.
I divided the group into three teams and gave them a job they had no hope of getting a solution to while promoting their current agendas and protecting the fortresses they had erected. The job was to envisage the company they wanted to be 24 months hence.
After about 45 minutes none of the groups had made much progress. I wandered over to one group and suggested they ‘raid’ one of the other groups to see what progress they made. They picked up the flipchart and easel they had been working on and walked over to the other team.
I then suggested to the third team they should join the debate.
At this stage 14 execs were standing around the team of seven seated.
They all admitted having made no progress.
For about fifteen minutes they picked over the progress each team had made.
Then one of the execs said “You know the trouble here. We never talk to each other. I have no idea what you guys do”. 
The ice was broken and they began hesitantly and then with fervour to talk about what they brought to the party. On the third day they thrashed out a Strategic GamePlan© of great quality which has led them to becoming a leading player in their market. 
The Strategic GamePlan© process enabled them to
  • Exploit the opportunities afforded by emerging technologies and trends
  • Generate scenarios of the future
  • Identify and select markets with viable future potential
  • Create a motivational and meaningful vision goal
  • Develop a Strategic GamePlan© using FWI technologies designed for this decade and the next
  • Ensure that the efforts of every division, team and individual are fully aligned to the vision goal
  • Make strategy implementation the key task of every team and individual
  • Ensure strategy is a continual process and way of life
  • Ignite employee pride and commitment and the passionate loyalty of customers
  • Create a customer focused ‘can do’ culture.
The global president made two more acquisitions in the next year which nearly doubled the sales revenue of the company.
As a consequence of the enthusiasm of the executive team and because Strategic GamePlans© are designed to exploit unrelenting change, the transition was relatively smooth with only a small drop in morale and that for only a short period of time.
The key to them becoming a strategically focused organisation in which the evolution of pride, commitment and loyalty among employees, and the development of a winning ‘can-do’ culture focused on creating customer delight, was the Strategic GamePlans© process. This involved two day strategic workshops every two months for a year chaired by a FWI facilitator.  
One of their executives described the importance of the process very neatly, “No matter how good our plans are, if we hadn’t had a great process to discover a winning future and didn’t take the troops with us, we wasn’t going nowhere!”
This executive team which began with acrimony had truly reinvented the future of their organisation. Within a few months they had become the market leader or number two in each of the markets they had selected.
They reported that profits, productivity, employee pride, morale, commitment and loyalty were soaring as were the number of loyal customers.
The organisation had truly been energised to become a great success story.
We at Future Winners International have tremendous expertise in gaining the commitment of executives holding very different opinions. With the permission of the authors, extracts from letters they wrote to me make this point.
 “Entering the session, the Division was characterised by a very complex strategic dilemma, a management team of outstanding individuals without a team ethos, and a less than satisfactory forward order book. The management group had tried on previous occasions to address this situation, but without noticeable success.
“The strategic time out achieved all its objectives. Deliberations remained focused throughout, and the pace never flagged until the objectives were met and documented. We would all recommend Alan’s participation in future such sessions.” Noel Potter, Executive Manager, Denel Aviation.
“We know in which direction to go as a result of the strategic planning conference you facilitated.”
The processes and technologies you used throughout the Conference were refreshing compared to those used by previous facilitators and enabled us to agree our future vision and the detail of our reinvented company – all in a day and a half.
The topics raised by the process gave us confidence in the new vision as was demonstrated by our unanimous acceptance of it.
We left the conference in high motivation, a GamePlan which will ensure we are well placed in the countries in which we operate, and plan to open new markets in the next two years, and a determination to make real progress before our first strategic review in three months.
Your ability to ask the right question at the right time and focus our deliberations was the key to our success. Dr Andor Richter, Senior Vice President, Parsons Energy and Chemicals Group. (Europe, Asia, Africa and Australasia)
If you would like to discuss your requirements or learn more about our Strategic GamePlanning process phone our CEO Alan J Whitaker at +44 79 6022 7478 or e-mail us at alan@futurewinners.com
We are keen to assist you to become a future winner!
Please note that we never name clients in the case studies we utilise to promote our success. Their anonymity and yours should you become a client are guaranteed.
Quotations are all on company letterhead and used with the permission of the author.