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post restructure

Global pharmaceutical company

Post restructure this Business Unit needed to refocus and energise the team to fulfil its strategic ambition for the year ahead.

The challenge

The business unit (BU) of this global pharmaceutical company had gone through a significant internal restructure. It had involved tough choices and resulted in a state of unrest, insecurity, and frustration for many that remained – an environment that wasn’t conducive for success in the year ahead.

To address this, the leadership team invited Rubica to run an in-person 2-hour session for the entire BU. The brief? To re-focus and energise the team – supporting them in moving past the restructure and adopt behaviours that enabled the BU to fulfil its strategic ambition.

The solution

What we delivered had to be finely balanced – it had to be sensitive to sentiment, yet build morale and clear a path that would allow the BU to positively move forward and deliver on its goals for the year ahead. And all this needed to be done in a 2-hour conference slot.

Undeterred by the brief, we chose to break up the time we had with the BU into 3 distinct sections…

  1. The first section would build trust and focused on giving people the opportunity to share their emotions openly and safely in relation to the previous year. This was done live through our analytics team’s pulse point mechanisms. This was a pivotal moment – as it captured the collective voice of the team; demonstrated the leadership teams desire to acknowledge and understand how people were feeling; and enabled the team to strengthen a kinship – something of great importance given many were field based.
  2. The second section looked to switch the focus and inject a sense of optimism and pride. We already knew this was a capable and talented team, but this was marred by the recent and disruptive changes.We asked everyone to share their proudest moment from the year just gone. The strengths of these stories were shared via another of our analytic team’s pulse points – providing a real ‘wow’ moment as it demonstrated what this team accomplished even in a time of adversity.

    Informed by what was shared, the team were then asked to collectively pinpoint and prioritise the beliefs that enabled these achievements and which would be most helpful in the year ahead. This was an important intervention as it

    1. Encouraged the team to move forward and positively focus on success;
    2. Signposted to leaders what they needed to focus on and uphold for their team to succeed.
  3. The third and final session looked to cement a narrative and commitment from every individual – informed by what they’d agreed collectively:

    “What do I really want my year to be?”

    “What is my story going to be?”

    “How do I need to make it happen?”

    With the majority of the team being field based, this was an important moment. Whilst it created a positive focus for the year ahead and a sense of accountability, it also reinforced that they didn’t need to go it alone – it was ok to reach out and ask for support.

Key takeaways

Changing mindsets and behaviours is by no means instantaneous. It takes time, persistence, and empathy. But this 2-hour event was a positive first step for driving such a change, with our key takeaways being:

  1. Recognise that behaviours are driven by beliefs, thoughts, feelings and the stories we tell ourselves. To encourage a shift to desired behaviours, use appreciative story-telling to focus on the helpful beliefs that shape moments of pride (and pay attention to less helpful beliefs that may be holding desired behaviours back).
  2. Avoid labeling emotions ‘positively’ or ‘negatively’. How people feel are simply signals that tell us to act differently. By recognising this we can then find a way to helpfully move forward.
  3. If a period of uncertainty or challenge has been endured – acknowledge ‘what has happened’ and allow people to vocalise how they feel about it in an appropriate way. Leaving things to fester will create un unhelpful work environment at best, and a toxic one at worst.
  4. Ensure leaders hear sentiment in the room first-hand, otherwise things can be misconstrued, or assumptions made which can influence what path is taken (which may as a result be inappropriate) and stifle progress.
  5. Once people have had the chance to acknowledge what has happened, look to take a positive stance e.g. focusing on strengths or stories of success and using these as a catalyst to move forward. Leaders should also use this insight as inspiration for what they need to do – helping everyone to collectively move forward.
  6. When you are seeking commitment from individuals get them to write it down – this is a tried and tested mechanism that is more likely to make something happen/create action.

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