Forging leadership, cohesion and direction from a merger

The client was a successful medium sized UK company providing consulting and technical services in environmental management to industry, finance and public sector clients. The entrepreneurial founder had promoted a number of people to Director level – all based on their undoubted technical expertise. In addition the company had merged with the UK arm of a larger US based company in the same field, bringing a small number of Directors on board from the merger. The result was a board with little idea of direction or leadership, except for that imparted by the founder, and limited cohesion.

 

Taking the Board offsite

We were asked to facilitate a leadership development programme for the Board during which they would arrive at a coherent strategy for the combined company going forwards, a greater understanding of their leadership role, both as a board and as individuals, and a set of ‘team protocols’ or ways of working to guide their development as a team going forwards. The programme began with a 2-day offsite which was also required to deliver some very specific outcomes around buy-in to the vision, commitment to what growth would mean, and the roles and responsibilities of board members.

The offsite was developed in close cooperation with the board and covered:

  • A striking demonstration of the power of cooperation and what happens when it is not present
  • An in-depth examination of Leadership and Decision Making style
  • Work on the strategy designed to draw out each individual board member’s views and create team concepts
  • The establishment of Team Building Blocks and Team Protocols
  • Analysis of current roles and roles required for the future
  • Agreeing the roles and responsibilities for each board member going forward
  • Agreeing responsibility for specific parts of the plan together with reporting mechanisms and performance measures
  • The writing of Heads of Agreement confirming each individual’s commitment to the vision and their part in achieving it

“The most productive two days of my business life.”

 

The outcomes

Every individual board member left the offsite with a clear and public commitment to the vision as well as knowing and understanding their part in it. The board had established how they would work together going forwards, how they would make decisions and how they would develop their capability as a team. 

Feedback was uniformly excellent with several Board members saying it had been “the most productive two days of my business life”. 

Since this piece of work was carried out the company has doubled in size, made a second successful merger and been named “one of the top ten UK consulting firms”.