«We cannot afford silo mentality. I wouldn’t want to know how often we have invented the same wheel at the same time and how much added value has been lost as a result.»

The country general manager of the biggest European subsidiary of a global corporation was forced to act when he noticed that the unit had lost competitiveness. He recognized that the reason for this was a lack of cooperation between business units and functions.

It was azimut’s task to develop a concept for “efficiency through cooperation” and then to accompany its implementation. An initial round of interviews showed that despite having common customers, suppliers and mutual service relationships, there was not much active searching for synergies or know-how transfer. The result was not only inefficiency, but also a feeling of disorientation amongst the managers and employees.

Hence, our concept allowed for two starting points: structures and culture. To us, both starting points belonged together: Wanting to change structures without accompanying work on the culture would be like wanting to build a bridge out of rice paper.

The next step was a multi-day workshop with the leadership team. There, the consequences of insufficient cooperation were made clear as well as the opportunities found in establishing collaborative structures and a culture of cooperation. The most important thing, however, was that in this framework that was carefully planned by us, the managers were able to see their own contributions that had made the structures and culture into what they were.

Based on the insight that was acquired, we organized a conference with an extended leadership team. Now, everyone who was to cooperate in the future was gathered together. The leadership team presented the big picture and we moderated a well-founded feedback process.  That way, each person was able to contribute the specific work realities, problems and needs from his perspective, and give feedback to others.

The conference ended with concrete projects with the goal of making the organization more collaborative and efficient. In those projects as well, it was possible for all those who would be involved later to take over the design of their working relationships together.