Developing a shared culture in merged organisations

An NHS organisation, working with Oxford Executive Coaching over 12 months

Client Requirements

A group of NHS organisations were merging to create a platform for growth into new areas of activity. The senior executive team had consulted widely on the proposal and discovered that there were serious concerns amongst staff.

We were asked to help in bringing the new organisation together a single team.

Coaching Solution

Organisational mergers are driven by business opportunities but their success often depends on the people in the new organisation coming together as one. We began the process by coaching the senior executives of one of the organisations to develop their leadership skills. This prompted a review of the organisation’s strategy and a proposal to merge six organisations that shared the same building. Next, we carried out individual coaching and group coaching for members of the Executive Team of the merged organisation and others to help them in thinking through their plans for the new organisation and address their differences in personality and management style.

This was followed by a team building day for all staff, informed by a cultural audit of all affected staff. The audit showed that while people were in happy in their work, the consultation on the merger had understandably left them feeling unsettled. It was apparent the different organisations had very different cultures and many individuals did not understand why they were being asked to merge and concerned about the direction the management team were taking them in.

At the away day, these concerns were addressed. The Executive Team (who had also had an away day during which they planned how they would deal with the issues raised) and Chair explained their vision for the merger and communicated their enthusiasm for bringing the separate organisations together. By the end,  staff who had barely spoken to each other before, introduced themselves and worked together in their new teams.

The result is that the new organisation has now come together as an effective single unit that is thriving and growing.

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