Author: Flora Clarke

Getting the rest of the team on board

Transformation pain point #96 

Let me share a story about Sarah.  

Sarah was a transformation leader who was known for her ambitious visions and a strong desire to drive change. She headed a team of talented individuals at a cutting-edge tech company, and she believed that a major transformation was necessary to stay ahead of the competition. 

Sarah had plans to shift the company’s focus towards envisioning a future where their products would revolutionise industries. She spent months crafting a detailed strategy, attending workshops, and consulting experts to ensure her vision was sound. 

A critical misstep

However, Sarah made a critical misstep – she failed to involve her team in the transformation process. She presented the plan in a single meeting, expecting everyone to immediately rally behind her vision. 

The team, however, was caught off guard. They were accustomed to their existing projects and methodologies, and the abrupt shift felt overwhelming. They had concerns about their existing skill sets becoming obsolete and feared the potential impact on their job security. 

As days passed, it became evident that Sarah’s approach had caused a rift within the team. Morale and engagement plummeted, and productivity suffered. Many team members felt disheartened and disconnected, unable to see how they fit into the new direction. 

Underestimated the emotional attachment

Sarah, in her determination to drive change, failed to recognise the importance of inclusivity, collaboration and communication. She had underestimated the emotional attachment her team had to the current journey and the uncertainty they felt about the future. 

Recognising the growing discontent, Sarah decided to take a step back and reevaluate her approach. She started by holding meetings with her team members, but instead of delving straight into charts and data, Sarah began with a story. She emphasised the potential they held and the incredible impact they could make if they embarked on this journey together. Sarah’s storytelling didn’t end in that meeting room. She continued to weave narratives into their everyday work.  

She encouraged her team members to share their own stories, fostering a culture of open communication and mutual support. These personal narratives became threads that wove the team together, creating a sense of belonging and a shared purpose. 

Belief and confidence

Sarah’s efforts bore fruit. The team started to see and believe in the opportunities of the transformation and gained confidence in their ability to navigate the new landscape. Through storytelling, Sarah managed to demystify the transformation process. She made it relatable, showing her team that they weren’t alone in their uncertainties. And because of this, they began to work together seamlessly towards the shared goal, advocating for the transformation. 

Through this experience, Sarah learned a valuable lesson about the importance of involving her team in the transformation process. She understood that successful change required not only a clear vision but also the support, understanding, and buy-in of the very individuals who would bring that vision to life. 

Humanised the transformation

Sarah’s use of storytelling had been the catalyst for this success. It had humanised the transformation, making it something they could all relate to and rally behind. It showed them that they were not just executing a plan, but actively writing the next chapter of their company’s story. 

It’s examples like this that show the true heart of mastering change.



Why activating your people is critical for successful M&A

Organisations pursue mergers or acquisitions for a variety of reasons: entry into new markets, plays for innovation or new talent, and customer-base expansion to name a few. In the current turbulent environment, we see that many deals are focused on productivity rather than pure financial objectives. With that core objective in mind, the ability to rapidly activate the optimisation strategy is critical to M&A value creation.

Whatever their nature, our research with Mergermarket confirms that mergers and acquisitions are notoriously difficult to execute effectively. One of the common reasons for failure is that leaders underestimate the importance of – and focus too little on — the people and culture factors in the equation. This is even more heightened when the purpose is to achieve operating synergies, which can be put at risk through underperformance and talent attrition because employees are unclear on the role they play, fearful of change and in turn become demotivated, quietly quit or loudly leave.

Featuring insights from senior M&A executives at major global blue chips around the world, our eBook shares findings gathered through a survey of 100 senior executives.


  • Why people and culture matter in M&A, and what happens when they are neglected
  • How to build cultural alignment and engagement
  • Why resetting the narrative is key and insight into the story-driven methodology The Storytellers has successfully employed to activate employees in post-merger integration strategies

Complete the short form to immediately download your copy

Are you ready to get digital? How to unlock connection through virtual events

Virtual events still sound a little futuristic, but they have been happening since 1993, when the world’s first live stream brought us the exciting webcam footage from a coffee machine at the Waldorf Hotel in New York. And yes, you guessed it, millions of people tuned in to watch. If we fast-forward to today, developments in technology and social media have opened the doors to new ways to connect online, from baking tutorials to home-schooling and even Parliamentary debates. We have seen the cancellation of all group gatherings… festivals, sporting events and business conferences, all of which is putting virtual events to the test on an unprecedented scale. 

These mass cancellations also mean that many organisations are having to rethink the ways in which they co-create, engage and connect their employees to their vision, strategy and purpose – without getting together in person. 

And for that, we have good news.

Reflecting on a recent business leadership conference we co-hosted with Phoenix Group, the largest life and pensions consolidator in Europe, it is clear that a virtual conference requires the same care and attention to detail as a live event. This particular conference was meant to take place over two days in an idyllic Scottish hotel with their top 70 leaders, but due to C-19 we had to rapidly adapt it to be run virtually as a dynamic digital experience. By keeping the energy levels up and having a jam-packed agenda, this highly-interactive conference was still filled with networking opportunities, collaboration and breakout sessions. 

It was a very successful two-day offsite, produced and delivered from the comfort of our homes. We were able to break participants into smaller groups for discussions by using the great breakout room function on Blue Jeans. We were able to synthesise and play back live data and feedback to participants in real time. We played inspiring films and presented slides for them in to engage with in a dynamic, pacy way. And we were all able to keep connected in the background using WhatsApp. 

This virtual conference enabled participants to fit in some home schooling, have breakfast, lunch and dinner with their families and it significantly reduced the environmental impact of hosting a large conference of this nature. And we still even had a virtual drink at the end of the second day. 

And so, while many companies are cancelling their conferences, roadshows and town halls due to COVID-19, we ask why? To all those who have their reservations about hosting a virtual event, to those who are worried about the technology or it not being as engaging and exciting or for those who are concerned that you won’t get the great attendee insights that are normally generated at events, then you are mistaken. The impact of the event extended well beyond the computer screen, and the feedback speaks for itself:

  • “A hugely successful remote conference”
  • “Future model for conferences”
  • “Highly engaging and inspiring conference”

The value of face-to-face interaction will never go away, but there are times where going virtual has never been as essential. This is a time when clarity, focus, a sense of belonging and the need to energise and galvanise now-fragmented teams is needed more than ever. Now is not the time to cancel your meetings, but to lean into the virtual world that offers so many amazing technologies that can make a large-scale meeting a truly wonderful digital experience. Don’t be overwhelmed by the technology or push back any key milestones in your calendar for fear of losing impact. Make the connection with your team when they need it most. It really does work.

Is your company ready to get digital?