Everyone knew that current changes in the federal regulations and subsequent loss of contracts were bound to have major ripple effects throughout the company. Yet, no one said a word. All continued as usual. Management made plans for cutbacks while telling employees that everything would be fine. Charles, the CEO, was determined not to let morale go down the tubes… yet, there seemed to be a melancholy mood that permeated the very core of company, employees would snap at each other at the drop of hat. Rumors of layoffs and group closures ran rampant. No seemed to trust Charles anymore. Yet, many were trying to win his favour. Even his leadership team began to alienate him and the strong team spirit that was once the hallmark of the firm disappeared overnight..

The whole company was counting on a new game to regain the firm’s status as an industry leader, but as the planned release date neared, the prototype crashed, taking their hopes of revival with it. Carie, the CEO, was distraught. She was sure this was the last hope that the company had to turn itself around, yet, there was no way they would make their release date. She needed to think… left the office and headed to her favourite spot to walk. While the walk did her soul good, she had no idea what could be done. She had no choice. She called an open meeting the next morning of the entire corporate staff and encouraged the plants to do the same. She laid out the situation, the status of the game, the potential impact on the company and what she saw a lack of options. There was silence and shock in the room. She then left the 650 people present to talk things through. Four weeks later, the game still had some kinks but had made major progress as various teams gave their input and worked together. The employees committed across the board 7 % salary cuts if it were deemed necessary beginning that summer. What came as the biggest surprise was when one team grabbed the opportunity to work full-steam to finish the working prototype of a household robot a year ahead of schedule… which shifted publicity to the new product and the stock soared. While it is hard to point out how each employee participated… there was no doubt that everyone felt they contributed and were proud.

The intentions of both CEO’s were much the same… they wanted the best for their employees and their company, but their approach was different. How many times in your own life have you chosen not to share the truth with your spouse, partner, staff, team, etc.? What were the results? Did a tension arise between you or did everything remain status quo or improve? My experience has been that even the worst scenarios when brought to the forefront usually are worked out and the team grows together, not apart. Yet, when brushed under the carpet (hidden) the truth becomes distorted, there is no way to come together to work it through and a gulf between the players forms that tends to widen and grow.

Author's Bio: 

Sandy is an American, a Master Certified Coach and the Managing Partern of 1-Focus International, a wholistic, collaborative change management and leadership development firm based near Berlin, Germany. They specialize in enabling smooth transitons with a particular emphasis in the people-related integration and change management for Mergers and Acquisitons. Through the combinatin of large scale collaborative processes, Postive Psychology and a systemics approach she has devleoped a rapid, yet highly successful change management methodology. She has slos co-created the Collaborative Change 360 Review and written 2 change management and motivation training manuals.
1-Focus in based in the heart of Europe and has developed a highly competant coach and facilitator network throughout most of Europe.