«We introduced a regional organization with geographically distributed teams. However, we still haven’t seen the benefits that we were hoping for.»

A global enterprise formed geographically distributed teams during the course of a major reorganisation in order to simplify the management processes of the specialists in the region and to increase efficiency. But, the employees felt lost in this new structure: Most of their new team members were located in different countries, and they knew their supervisors only by their names and from teleconferences. This resulted in even stronger identification with their own countries and their own tasks instead of the hoped-for globalization.

When we were hired to close the gap between the regional organisation and national/functional identity, several reasons for the current lack of success quickly became evident. The parties in question were hardly aware of the benefits of the new set-up. The employees were concerned that their new supervisors did not know enough about the country-specific situations and would not take them into consideration. In order to safeguard the country-specific interests, they oriented themselves more around the local management than the formal superiors. All these openly stated concerns and unresolved problems were important input to us for the next steps.

International Team Leader, Country Management, HR, second joint management level: We sat all stakeholders involved down at one table. In the process, the conflicts between the local and regional organization were discussed openly. As a result, regional requirements and local flexibility were jointly defined for the first time in a clear manner. However, it was also shown in the process that the local team leaders were not adequately prepared for their new tasks.

Solutions to the challenges described above were worked out in a series of workshops with all managers (local as well as global), and they were also implemented subsequently. This included, for example, job rotation for employees and managers, balanced integration of countries, and distribution of responsibility between local and regional management. It was also acknowledged that the benefits of a regional structure cannot be realized without additional work and expense and travelling at the beginning.

This way, it was possible to actually exploit international synergies in just a few months and substantially increase efficiency. The employees were proud of their international integration with the opportunities that this offered them personally.