Making post merger integration work 

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We’ve built something new together that people really believe can go to interesting places. My own team has come together as part of the experience.

Mark Milliner
Former CEO, Suncorp Commercial Insurance

Two vastly different organisations engaged in a pressure-filled merger

Suncorp-Metway and the Promina Group merged in March 2007 to become Australia’s second largest insurer. The market estimated hundreds of millions in synergy benefits, but achieving them would require hefty structural and cultural change. To facilitate this change, the Commercial Insurance leaders knew they needed a unifying vision and a compelling way to engage their 3,000 staff in achieving integration goals.

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Metaphor as a productive way to explore complex and contentious issues

We helped the newly merged leadership to co-design a compelling vision through the use of metaphor and coached them and their teams to tell powerful stories and engage people in creating their own part of the vision. The image of a city organically evolved out of a five-day strategic conversation, and 2nd Road helped leaders  build a framework around the city that would enable people throughout the business to both align to the overall strategy but also make it their own. Workshops through all organisational levels culminated in a “marketplace event” in which eight departments were brought together to share their city stories and integrate their visions.

From cascaded Powerpoint decks to meaningful experiences

According to the group’s CEO, the resulting ownership and engagement gave their business a “resilience” that led to a growth in profits of 8% at a time when the insurance market was shrinking by 8%. They also saw customer satisfaction scores increase from 6 to 9, and they achieved the business’ five-year vision in three years.

Mark articulated the key intangible benefits he could see: “I can see a difference in what people talk to me about. They talk about what they are trying to achieve versus complaining about the person sitting next to them doing something wrong – or talking about how hard the competition is…You get people confident in what they’re doing versus worrying about things maybe going wrong. They get confident about what’s happening in the organisation. They get respect for themselves and their ability and their team, so they can weather more adversity.”

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