When Trust is High, Challenges Become Easier To Handle


The leaders from the two companies were no longer listening with each other; I knew we had a problem.  

While the merger offered some big opportunities for these top leaders (and their stakeholders), they truly needed to learn to get along. If not, it certainly appeared as if the investment made in my work and that of the rest of the merger team would be squandered.

We needed to bring these leaders to the planning table and help them to work as one, in order to position the merged company for enduring suggest.

I started inviting a small group of these leaders, nor more than two or three at a time, out to lunch with me every day. We didn't talk about the work at hand. Rather, I steered the conversation towards discussions about family, hobbies and favorite movies, music and books. The idea was to help these folks to begin to see each other as just normal people -- with more in common, than not.  

Interestingly, the leadership team started to listen to, and trust, each other in our merger meetings.  They began to routinely share their feelings about effective organizational design and winning business strategies -- adding to one another's ideas and offering viable solutions for what we had to do to effective bring these very different businesses together. After only a few weeks, we saw that the merger effort would be a success. Our lunch meetings proved to be one of the most important investments of time these leaders could make in each other.

When trust is high, challenges become easier to handle.


By James Kerr

Keywords: Leadership, Culture, Change Management

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