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17th January 2011

How we are helping to unify teams during job and budget cuts

This article explores how we have helped three different organisations move from conflict to collaboration.  In each case, the teams were unified and able to remain motivated and driven to ensure the organisations could better navigate the choppy waters of the current economy.

Case study one: Large regional Police Force

It was recognised by the Commissioner that major cuts in the public sector were leading to increased levels of pressure within the force, and also, inevitably, to increased possibilities of public unrest and disturbances. In effect, a ‘double whammy’. Impact Consulting were asked to provide support in equipping officers with the skills to develop their self awareness and resilience during the tough times.  They were encouraged to allow greater openness within and between teams. We facilitated development workshops using the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) as a non-confrontational approach to differences in style.  Two sessions were delivered; one for the senior leadership team and the second for the Inspectors who report to them.

The aim of the workshops was to help staff deal with defensive behaviour effectively and create an opportunity for Inspectors to provide honest feedback to the senior management team, within a safe environment. Placing emphasis on interpersonal processes and communication styles, we helped the team recognise their counter-productive behaviours under pressure, and develop strategies to respond in the most effective way.

“All staff involved in the 2 day programme thoroughly enjoyed the experience and took away a lot of positive outcomes. The facilitators made both days motivational and everyone got involved in the activities.” Chief Superintendent

Case study two: A global electronics and manufacturing company

We have again been working with a blue chip organisation with whom we have an ongoing and valued relationship.  The aim was to establish the appropriate balance between healthy competition between departments (driven by the need to hit targets) and maintaining collaboration and unity at senior management level. Concerted efforts to achieve targets in increasingly tough economic circumstances had led to silo working.  Senior staff wished to maintain the profile of their own departments and functions. This was damaging the organisation’s culture of collaboration and effecting organisational performance.

The Impact Consulting workshops focused on perception and attitude and the motivation and reward systems underpinning performance. Particular emphasis was placed on how pressure can lead to unrealistic thinking (cognitive distortion) and how this can undermine effectiveness. Participants committed to moving forward with specific actions to enhance collaboration, whilst maintaining a healthy level of departmental competition.

Case study three: A shared Informatics Service within the NHS

In an effort to increase efficiency and cut costs, information technology functions in some NHS regions have been amalgamated into shared services across a number of organisations and sites.  We have been working with a service provider in the North West who are experiencing increased challenges. Following on from what was essentially a merger, a sense of unity and shared culture was needed within the new organisation. As is often found in these cases, many staff demonstrated great resistance to change, harbouring a false belief that things might return to ‘how they were’ if the shared service fails.  Efforts are being made to establish a shared vision and common direction, whilst securing jobs which may otherwise be outsourced.

The first step has been to clarify the vision and share this at senior management level, prior to roll out.  A staff perception survey has been carried out across the whole organisation (Organisational Behaviour Audit). We used the findings to facilitate a workshop with senior management and operational management teams. This enabled the leaders to challenge and support different views in a safe environment.  We were able to develop a strategy for rolling out positive culture change within the organisation with full buy-in from the teams.

Do you need support in unifying teams?  To find out more about how we can help contact us today, call 0161 351 2290 or email [email protected]