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In this fictional case study, Noelle, the CFO of an automotive parts manufacturer isn’t sure how to turnaround a seemingly toxic culture. The division had struggled through the financial crisis but was now on more stable footing, and as a numbers person, Noelle had assumed that once the division was out of the red, the people problems would go away. But after an unpleasant trip to the company’s largest plant, she realizes something needs to change. The CEO is proposing further layoffs but Noelle wonders if rallying around the people still left and transforming the culture might work better. “Oh, sorry. Water, no ice, please,” said Noelle Freeman, the CFO of Franklin Climate Systems. Watching the clouds out her window at 30,000 feet, she’d been deep in thought. Case Study: Can You Fix a Toxic Culture Without Firing People?

thumbnail courtesy of hbr.org

The most significant problems of mergers and acquisitions and downsizing programs is that people become disengaged.

They realise they are just cost factors and cogs in the wheel. Sooner than later they will be fired.

The results is, people stop communicating across departments or even within their own teams. You hear comments like:

I remember when it felt like the company notices me, even cared about me. But now it’s like nobody trusts anybody

That’s why you must plan for the post-merger process by establishing a change program with one focus: Create a new culture by letting the high potential leaders thrive the change process

Thriving the change process successfully

How to thrive the change process successfully by creating a new company culture?

First, top management of both companies must demonstrate its commitment to the change process.

How? By establishing a steering committee that is responsible for steering the change process of the merged company.

The program team is responsible to create and implement projects that generated positive cash flow rapidly.

Positive Cash Flow AND Agile Culture

We succeeded in setting up our global post-merger program called e-gnite back in the year 2000.

Project leaders were committed to delivering results that increased the bottom line rapidly AND created an agile culture and dynamic development process.

The result was that we created and implemented 22 projects within two years that generated a positive cash flow AND established a fresh, agile, entrepreneurial culture.

Well, that’s my story? How about yours? Thanks for commenting.


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