Acquisition Assimilation or Merger Mania

A merger of competitors had been consummated a year prior and we received a call to help them with accelerating the process of assimilation as well as accelerate a significant project that was already underway.

As it turned out, the project was focused on integrating the two product lines and supply chain processes to get the best from both company’s existing systems.  The plan was already in place and ready to operationalize but there was resistance from both sides in the merger to changing their systems.

Through working with the executive leader who was accountable for delivering the synergies promised from the merger, we coached her in drafting a vision and strategies for accomplishing the integration desired.  Coaching was provided for how to have the desired impact leading to employee engagement and accountability for making the plan take place.

The project was delivered on time, the investors were satisfied, the financial community was astounded and she was a hero.

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Hair Salon Collaboration

She owned and operated five salons and wanted her salon managers to help her lead the organization.  She already had a collaborative vision for where she and her managers wanted the salons to be in the future, and even had priorities and high-level strategies for getting there.

The opportunity resided in engaging her managers by sharing the big picture and involving them with creating the plans for WHAT they would focus on and HOW they would behave in achieving the goals.

In a planning meeting, the owner shared (with passion) her desires for the future of the business and asked the managers input and ideas about the vision.  They jumped on board and provided ideas, insights, concerns and a lot of questions about how this could be achieved.  She then involved them in notestorming ideas about actions that could be taken to make the vision a reality.  They joined in again and helped develop a plan that all of them could live with and support.

They then led (as a management team) a town hall meeting with the employees to share the strategies, vision and plans and ask for the employees ideas and thoughts about how to make them better.  This was done through breakout groups by salon.

The owner is now visiting her salons and providing feedback, recognition, support and coaching to the plan that assures ongoing continuity, consistency and sustainability because she is constantly igniting energy and engagement within the workforce.

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Entrepreneurial Expert

A small painting company with two crews was being run by the owner.  He wanted to grow the business and had tried for many years without great success.  The way he operated his business was to make all the sales, write all the proposals, order and deliver all the supplies to each job, inspect each job daily, lead the final walk-through with the customer and collect the money for the job.  Then at night he did the books, marketing, networking, etc.  He was at his max and could not grow the business because he was the bottleneck.

In order to grow, he needed to first have a focus beyond the day-to-day delivery of services.  He drafted a vision and identified growth strategies to be shared with the two crew leads.  He shared his vision and strategies with the leads and asked if they could help him by suggesting how the strategies could be implemented.

The crew leads jumped on board and made suggestions for how these could be implemented as well as asked to be more involved.  The owner helped them to understand the value (WIIFM) for them if they could grow the business and consistently deliver quality services.  It’s important to notice that he did not offer them more money, but talked about stability of income, potential for group benefits, more work, and helping him with the final walk-throughs on the job, etc.

With this new focus and understanding, he stands to double his business in three years and add an additional crew or two to cover the expanded work.

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Strategy and Deployment: Most stories about strategic planning and deployment have to do with gaining focus and understanding for where leadership is taking the organization.

Consolidation and Centralization

A perfect example is a non-profit organization that was consolidating twelve offices into one regional office.  Each of the twelve offices had an executive leader who was recognized in the community as the leader of the community organization.  She typically was on boards, participated in fundraisers, was present at disasters, was a member of the chamber, etc.

As such, this executive was in a position of power and prestige in the area she oversaw.  All the sudden, corporate says, consolidate and centralize all services under one roof, while maintaining the fundraising and coordination of the communities locally.  This meant one of the twelve was elevated to lead the services group and her community.  Mayhem reigned as each executive protected her territory and turf.

To remedy this situation, a singular vision and set of strategies was necessary in order to coordinate delivery, quality and timeliness of all the services delivered.  This initially felt like a disempowerment process for the other eleven.

So, all twelve, plus leaders for each of the four central service delivery aspects of the business were involved in creating the common vision and strategies.  Then all were involved in the planning process for delivery, fundraising, marketing, etc.

As each of the twelve saw their priorities being emphasized and began to understand the difference in their roles, they assumed more personal accountability and ownership of the vision, strategies, plans and priorities.  Each of the executives actually gained prestige since she was able to spend more time with the community events, disasters, homeless, soup kitchens, etc.

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Elevating From Functional to Strategic Leadership – 6 Preparation Steps

So the CEO or COO decided that you should be elevated to a more strategic role and participate with the executive team.  Good going!

Anticipate and prepare yourself for the role by thinking about, planning for and doing the following:

  1. Identify direct reports to whom you can delegate your functional work with minimal coaching, and do it – Now!
  2. Set up informational, learning interviews (meetings) with your new peers at the executive level and with current peers who are being elevated with you.  Learn about their priorities, concerns, likes and dis-likes.  Do it – Now!
  3. Review the Strategic Plan for the organization and the Annual Plans for each of your peer groups.  Research and learn about overarching industry issues, trends, strategies, technologies, clients, competitors, etc. so you have a holistic view and context for providing input, ideas, relevancies, options and current issues when solving problems, planning and making decisions with the executive team.  Do it – Now!
  4. Elevate your thinking beyond your functional arena to the organizational level that encompasses all functions, the distant future, solubility, competitiveness, global issues, and a much broader scope for thinking about your role.  Do it – Now!
  5. Work with your boss and your peers to suggest and assume responsibility and accountability for moving the organization forward through your strategic efforts, projects, strategies, and leadership actions aligned with the Strategic Plan components.
  6. Stay open to learning and change on both a personal and leadership level by challenging others to make things better, sharing transparently, giving trust before expecting it from others, thanking those who do good, and coaching those who need help.

Need support to break old habits?  Give a call 330-329-3137.

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