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Keirsey Teambuilding Workshop Case Study
Transforming Merged Companies into a New Team

Situation
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 merger.

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).

The Breakthrough
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.

The Results
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.

 

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