Alignment

Morgan Clarke was invited by our client, a significant player in the Banking and Financial Services sector, to take a look at the change management and cultural alignment implications of integrating two Life, Pensions and Investments sales forces post acquisition.

Although managed through separate reporting lines, good co-operation between the sales managers of both businesses was viewed as business critical by the client, especially in the generation and flow of leads.

The Challenge

At the outset the integration had been characterised by mutual suspicion and an unwillingness to share information and collaborate – even when clearly in the interests of all parties. Morgan Clarke was invited to employ our change management and cultural alignment experience and to work with both parties to:

  • Identify areas of agreement, tensions and disagreement
  • Capture and report our findings, providing insights about the issues and opportunities for change
  • Make recommendations designed to accelerate successful integration and enhance the alignment of the two cultures
  • If accepted, Phase 2 would be to make change happen in line with those recommendations

Morgan Clarke’s Approach

Phase 1

  • Interviews were conducted by skilled Morgan Clarke consultants, and these interviews identified 3 key themes; the absence of vision, poor communication from the leader population surrounding the integration, and different reporting structures and metrics within the two teams
  • We recommended that the business resolve areas of uncertainty, ensure that incentives and working practices were brought into line and recommended that the senior team clearly define a less ambiguous structure, work up a clear view on the future, and resolve unanswered questions on management information, reporting and metrics and along the way

Phase 2

  • We worked with the leadership team to build a shared view of the future, facilitate a resolution of the issues, and a plan to exploit opportunities. This was followed by a major team event, bringing together all the sales managers to resolve differences and build closer collaboration for the future
  • At the pivotal team event for around 50 people which was facilitated by two senior Morgan Clarke consultants, the vision and strategy for the new integrated business was communicated to the sales managers and then they were invited to work through the implications, capturing areas of agreement, exploring remaining areas of tension and as much as possible resolving them in the course of a very motivational day
  • The final activity was to build a joint action plan for future co-operation and good working relationships

What was Achieved?

Phase 1

  • The senior team clarified 5 key issues and explored options for their resolution
  • The senior team emerged with a robust view of their strategic direction, a clear vision, a persuasive and communicable rationale about key decisions, and a medium-term plan

Phase 2

The success of Phase 1 laid the foundation for a successful Phase 2. Skilled external facilitation was essential and at the team event, we brought together all the sales managers for the following:

  • The senior team communicated the vision and strategy
  • The sales managers, in mixed teams, worked through the implications, building a joint action plan for future cooperation and good working relationships which was implemented in full
  • Within the fiscal year, full integration was achieved

If you face a similar challenge contact Clive Watkins on + 44 (0) 1306 621600 or email him at clive.watkins@morgan-clarke.co.uk