A start-up was acquired by a private equity firm. There was low morale, diminished team spirit and lack of personal performance, all ultimately impacting results.
The people involved from the inception of the company were still with the organisation and were experiencing a change in culture, direction and
method of working. The speed and rate of change were further amplified with additional acquisitions that needed to be merged with the business.
The core team was under increasing pressure to provide stopgap solutions while other parts of the business were integrated. They were feeling undervalued and unrecognised.
- Gained an understanding of the vision and objectives of the PE Firm, and what was needed to get there
- Reviewed company objectives, what they espoused, what they rewarded (misalignment often causes lack of trust, disillusionment, conflict and low morale)
- Mapped capabilities and dynamics of core team where the issues were taking place (as a cohesive unit and as individuals)
- Gained an understanding of the real CAUSES of conflict (not just symptoms) split by which were due to the company, and which were due to team/individuals. Both tracks were dealt with separately.
- Enabled individual team members to reflect and understand events and interactions (perceptions, reactions and subsequent influence on relationships with their colleagues etc.)
- Individuals developed new personal strategies to improve communication and relationships with colleagues, along with ways to tackle rifts (e.g. areas in which they could be each other’s mentors and role models, playing off each other’s strengths)
- Rationalisation of roles (with buy-in from team members).
The company had put in place some practices that were fuelling conflict, primarily:
- A clash between competence, seniority and compensation of acquired teams vs. core team
- Moving targets on ESOP
- Lack of openness to new ideas, opting instead to focus purely on acquisitions.
In a nutshell, the spirit of the company was changing and the crucial elements that attracted team members to join quickly disappearing.
- A cohesive team consisting of committed, competent and collaborative individuals
- Greater communication, transparency and higher levels of trust
- Less friction and improved results
- BUT the company didn’t make the required changes fast enough
- Realising they were not in the right role or company, some team members resigned – some went on to become founders of their own start-up attracting key team members to join them.
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