Keirsey Teambuilding Workshop Case Study
Transforming Merged Companies into a New Team
A successful mid-sized high tech company recently acquired a smaller but rapidly growing
company that would allow them to expand both their product portfolio and their customer
base. The larger of the two companies, MidCo, was considered an industry leader, and had
built a reputation over time as one of the most respected companies in their market space.
The acquired company, InnoCo, was a very successful startup in the same industry, known
for developing innovative new products that developed new markets within the industry.
MidCo had seen InnoCo as a strategic acquisition, recognizing the strength of their
cutting-edge product development prowess. InnoCo had positioned themselves to be an
attractive acquisition candidate, and welcomed the overture from MidCo. However, once
the financial aspects of the merger were completed, the two companies were finding that
there was a high degree of conflict between the two executive teams; they were butting
heads on almost every issue, and these conflicts were not only slowing integration of
InnoCo into MidCo, but were affecting each of the companies negatively in areas where
they had previously excelled as separate entities. The CEO engaged Keirsey’s Consulting
Division, Synergy Leaders LLC, to work with him, his existing executive team, and the
executive team of InnoCo to surface and overcome the obstacles blocking the successful
integration of InnoCo into MidCo. The CEO saw that the two teams were not meshing, and
the combined companies were not benefitting from the synergies foreseen at the time of the
As preparation for their Keirsey Team Building Workshop, the two excutive teams took
the Keirsey Temperament Sorter-II. The overall makeup of the two team are reflected
in the Keirsey Team Temperament Maps to the right. Armed with this information, the
Keirsey consultant met with the combined team to conduct the workshop session.
Surfacing the Problems
MidCo had built their reputation as an industry leader by delivering highly reliable
products and exceptional customer service for many years. They had well-established
procedures for ensuring product quality, and making sure customer inquiries and support
issues were addressed. InnoCo had built their success through the speed of their
product development cycles, being faster to market with new technologies than anyone else,
and nimbleness in changing direction as new technologies emerged. When the two companies
merged, each executive team felt that the other didn't understand the value they brought
to the new entity: MidCo executives saw InnoCo as reckless in releasing products that
hadn't been fully tested (and caused support problems); InnoCo executives felt that
MidCo was trying to hamper their innovation with unnecessary processes and bureaucracy (that
slowed their time-to-market).
One look at the Keirsey Team Temperament Maps of the two teams gave the Keirsey consultant
a clear perspective on the cultural conflict at the root of the problems these teams
were encountering. There were 11 members of the existing MidCo executive team, all
Guardians. The InnoCo executive team was made up of 7 members, consisting of 6 Artisans
and 1 Rational. The temperamental makeup of each team contributed directly to the strengths
each brought to the table. Guardians value stability, reliability, and predictability;
they create rules, processes, and business practices that establish the structure that
promote these virtues. MidCo’s reputation was based on the rock-solid dependability
created by this Guardian sensibility. Artisans value adaptability, creativity,
and maneuverability. Their ability to innovate was based on their willingness to ignore
rules and processes that interfered with using new technologies in different ways, and
dropping technologies that were made obsolete by new ones. Each team brought unique,
but opposite, values to the merged company based on their temperamental makeup, but
neither was wired to recognize the values of the other.
During the Team Building Session, the two teams came to understand that their differences
stemmed from their temperamental diversity, and not from a desire to sabotage each other.
The MidCo team recognized that the value InnoCo brought to the merger stemmed from their
willingness to "break the rules" in developing breakthrough products, and InnoCo saw that
in order to make it to the next level, some process and stability needed to be established.
In recognizing the strengths of each other, each realized that these reflected their own short
suits, and that the other team added true value to their own efforts. By understanding and
appreciating these differences, the two groups were able to integrate into a functioning
team and move forward with the successful merger of the two companies.