12 Keys To Getting Results When Merging Teams


A company’s culture is the shared values, beliefs and behaviors that determine how people do things in an organization. A team’s culture, while aligned with the larger organization culture, can often look very different across the organization, and pocket cultures may emerge.

In the midst of organizational change and restructuring, these pocket cultures may collide, and the fallout, can be disastrous or at the very least disheartening. Keep issues related to blending team cultures a top priority and take these steps to ensure a smooth transition.

1. Plan ahead

Long before any change announcement is made, identify who will be impacted and how. Don’t leave it to chance – plan process, communication, measurement, and results.

2. Choose the Cultural Agenda

What is the result you want to see emerge from the combination of the multiple teams? How does this relate to the unique culture that each team brings? The new structure may follow one pocket culture more closely, or may create a blend of cultures. Bottom line…define it. Define what it will look like, and what it means to process, individuals and outcomes when merging teams.

3. Find the Pain Points

Review opportunities and the strengths from multiple perspectives and build your plan around them.

4. Diagnose the Similarities and Differences

Look for ones that matter to determine which gaps need to be closed as you merge. Use interviews, focus groups, accountability mapping, process flow mapping, observation or surveys to gather critical feedback.

5. Anticipate and expect a few bumps.

Senior leaders can find themselves in the uncomfortable position of watching the problem unfold without knowing what to do about it. Ask questions openly and honestly and listen for the answers, sometimes even when you don’t ask the questions.

6. Involve Employees in the Roll-out and Vision

Co-create the new culture focusing on the areas of similarity that matter with the newly formed team. Highlight and recognize the areas of similarity as the team moves forward together.

7. Use the Strengths of both Teams

Choose and declare what to bring forward and what to leave behind. There may be things that don’t work with the expected out comes of the newly created team, and letting the team declare this will help them own the new future vision. We have done this really effectively on a Graffiti Wall in a Merging Teams Workshop called Inspire the Future.

8. Communicate Often & Frequently with all

People will be uncertain in the face of change. Frequent, targeted communication will help to build confidence and ensure people are on track as they move forward together.

9. Leverage Opportunities to bring the teams together

Socially and operationally, set the stage with opportunities for the new team to naturally play together and work together to solve a challenge using the multiple perspectives to achieve success.

10. Measure progress along the way

Once you have identified the key measures of cultural and operational success, measure the progress. When you measure it, you have the opportunity to dig deeper, follow up and keep building. More than just annual measurement, use frequent touch points to keep the top issues and opportunities top of mind. Help your team to see the improvements as you move forward together.

11. Celebrate successes together.

Highlight the successes related to outcomes. Declare how the team worked together to accomplish the successes – both operationally and culturally.

12. Emerging culture is as important as emerging results

Often we pay attention to the financials and efficiencies gained…we need to devote equal attention to measuring the people analytics. Use a Cultural Integration Impact Identifier Tool to close the loop on merging the cultures. Using these tools, leaders manage and measure how people are adapting their beliefs and behaviors, thereby measuring outcomes and the probability that the behaviors will show positive returns.




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