Turning Conflict into Collaboration

 The Challenge

Mergers create mayhem, as the CEO of a major health sciences centre found out. Heading up what had just become one of Canada’s largest health organizations, he needed to quickly form a strong leadership team to tackle funding and rationalization challenges. An organizational change management plan had to be put into action, but the senior leaders he inherited from three different hospitals brought with them disparate cultures and viewpoints and strong personalities. Conflict, suspicions and gossip were rampant, preventing the team from working well together and creating organizational alignment.

The Solution

With the help of 360-degree feedback assessments, senior team members and the CEO gained a better understanding of their individual strengths and weaknesses, where they were effective with each other and where they could improve. Senior leaders then met face-to-face in a conflict resolution process to identify the issues that were barriers to team work. The process helped them learn to interact in a more respectful way and to bring disagreements to each other, knowing they would be heard.

Senior team members then created personal action plans under the umbrella of the new organizational alignment and worked to improve their communications and reduce resistance to each other. They held each other and their staff accountable for the new, unified approach so it could spread throughout the organization. The CEO was briefed on the best ways to support his executive team members and how to further support their action plans.

The Result

  • The senior management team emerged with a new way of working together, adopting a more respectful and unified approach to conflict resolution
  • They began to join together to tackle the challenges they had been handed by the CEO and the government, and reached a new level of mutual confidence
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