16 Days of work, 5 Facilitators, 40 Participants.
We are proud to share with you the story of two excellent IT companies in Italy that decided to merge. This story will show you an example of extraordinarily high openness, inclusiveness and agility where all inner and outer boundaries faded letting the new and the unknown emerge powerfully.
When we think about a merger of two companies it’s easy to focus on the revaluation of the two companies, division of company shares, infrastructures, etc…
Of course these are all relevant analysis and decisions to be considered, but secondary if you realize that this kind of operation is first of all a union between two different human systems, each one with its own processes and tools, its own competencies, culture, values and principles.
In short: each one with its own people.
Collaborative working board
Keeping this in mind, our first small step was to leverage one of both companies’ strengths by introducing a shared collaborative working board with rhythmic and constant meetings so that it could be adapted in real time. This created a safe space where people could start making their own proposals and work together on structural activities in order to reach a common identity.
Thus the two work-streams purposely chosen to set up this board were brand identity and sales process: two issues that deepen the core of the two groups, working both on inner dynamics and outer relationships.
Open Space Technology
Once reached a sufficient level of operational alignment, the next step was to go deeper into what every single person felt to be really important for the future of the new company.
We explicitly asked this question to all of them and we chose a methodology that could leverage collective intelligence and self-organization: the Open Space Technology.
Guided by passion and responsibility, feeling to be definitely part of a new unique system, all people were able to define what the new organization could absolutely not be missing!
Fortified by long-running progress in open co-creation and significant conversations with all people of both companies, there came the time when the shareholders of the two companies had to think about their entrepreneurial vision to be followed as a guiding star in the new organization building process.
Even in this case, they decided not to be locked in their offices, they instead invited representatives of the most relevant stakeholders of the two companies. Customers, partners and key professionals to share the same table and using the power of LEGOⓇ Serious Play™ the two companies therefore envisioned their future together.
Adaptive organization design
Only when they finally reached a clear entrepreneurial vision, strong cultural alignment, sharing tools and processes, we could definitely start high-level working on the adaptive organization design of the new company.
The final challenge then is to conceive a company that can be adaptive, that can respond in real time to changes and constantly re-write itself every time, diving into uncertainty as one, even fortified and nourished by it.
“We can be who we want. Changing is an opportunity. Opportunity to accomplish our potential, what we can become, our unique contribution to the world.”
Claudia Pellicori, during the iteration 0 of this project.
This article was first published in our Cocooners N° 3