Resolving turf wars, rebuilding trust and profitability

The Backstory
A prominent educational testing company was having substantial organizational and operational issues, resulting in complaints, law suits, defection of unhappy clients and plummeting profitability. A newly appointed CEO knew he had to act quickly to restore morale and improve financial performance.

But first he needed to address a “dysfunctional” management staff where rivalries and “turf wars” hindered effective communication and collaboration.

TAI’s Role
TAI was hired as the lead consultant in the turnaround process where the challenges were primarily human and organizational. After a thorough interview process, TAI realized department managers and staff could correct operational performance, but only if they could start working together. That meant rebuilding trust at an individual level.

We investigated how each executive viewed himself as a leader and how he wanted to be viewed by others – his personal leadership platform.

Through a process of individual sessions and group workshops, we zeroed in on areas of alignment between team members, focusing on what people could do together. An executive team once dominated by destructive silence started pulling together in new ways and reaching out to other divisions. Barriers of communication disappeared as they worked on turnaround initiatives based on new found alignment and shared vision.

The Results: Collaboration, Cooperation and Profitability
By changing the way individuals and teams relate to one another, productivity and effectiveness increased.

Powerful new creative initiatives were started across divisions. The spirit of the organization started to soar. Improved financial performance followed close on the heels of these changes. Revenues improved and profitability returned. A company-wide bonus was announced just six months into the turnaround year.

And just eight months into the turnaround year, staff were asked to rate the senior team’s performance. 72.4 percent of staff reported the team encouraging teamwork and collaboration, nearly 25 percent higher than the previous year. Asked whether they had confidence that the company’s strategy and goals would position it for business success, 76.2 percent responded favorably, more than 30 percent up from the previous year. Seventy nine percent said that, all things considered, the company was changing favorably, up from just 44 percent.

Those having trust and confidence in the overall job being done by the senior leadership team was at 77 percent, up from 43 percent. Finally, 73.2 percent of staff rated the ability of top management favorably, up from just 37 percent a year before.

Our work with this company has started a trend of collaboration that is now growing at other levels. The senior team is now collaborating naturally and spontaneously without our help, guided by their shared visions of where they want their company to go.

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