The company is steered by five shareholders, who also hold board positions, and it has successfully grown over sixteen years. Now, however, each shareholder has a different view of the future. The lack of agreement is effecting the whole business.
David meets each shareholder individually and discovers that each and every one feels this is their last chance to resolve the situation. He proposes a two day off site ‘break-through’ workshop.
As a Gestalt practitioner, David understands a breakthrough is more possible when people stay with ’what is’, and are open to listening to each other – rather than urgently striving for quick fixes.
The workshop commences without a structured agenda to allow real issues to surface. It soon becomes clear that a key relationship between two participants is not working, so David invites the pair to have a business conversation together as their colleagues observe. From time to time the conversation is ‘paused’ and those observing are invited to state what they are noticing and maybe to offer some practical advice. It becomes increasingly clear that the two individuals are not able to make their relationship work.
There is frustration as all sit with the reality of the situation.
After lunch, someone suggests a change to the reporting lines and to some board responsibilities. Not everyone likes these suggestions, and the workshop process shifts as the participants grapple with the issue.
By the end of the workshop there is a decision to change some of the reporting lines and responsibilities within the board and shareholders.
There is also a very significant decision to develop the business for sale.
“The process created a catalyst for change, bringing into sharp focus things people intrinsically know, but haven’t thought or voiced. The outcome was a clear sense of our vision of what we wanted to do with the company. It changed the culture of the board and improved quality of communication. It has also made board meetings more productive.” MH, Managing Director
Just one year after the workshop, the company was bought by a large media company. One of the five shareholders stayed and became Managing Director in the new organisation. The other four pursued their careers in different directions.