On Friday September 11th we had the honor of having our first meeting of the new season at the One Group Center at 706 N. Clinton Avenue in Syracuse. Our presenter was the CEO of the company, Pierre J. Morrisseau, and he talked about the process of pulling together which was basically 11 or more separate companies into one.
There were two things that were amazing about the presentation.
One, you start to discover that having companies that do similar thing does not necessarily mean that they have a similar idea of culture. Each of the company felt that they have their own identity, and there were going to work hard to keep that identity even after recognizing that they were part of a larger group. Some of the companies saw themselves as consulting, whereas others saw themselves as service providers.
What Pierre and many of the other leaders in the company had to do was find a way to break down the bonds and get everybody to understand that it was all for one, which is what helped them to come to the name of the organization. That's not always as easy as it sounds.
They took a very interesting step, one that is often recommended by certain types of consultants, of allowing the members of each company, including the employees, to at least have a say in some of what they were trying to achieve. When everybody feels as if they're a participant, it helps to break down walls, build a better sense of community, and help to create an overall organization.
Two, he talked about the process of setting up the layout of their new facility, of which they gave a tour of after the meeting. What they basically did was take an old and shut down former factory and turned it into a very modern type of office setting where, for the most part, there are literally no walls.
They set things up so that everybody can see everybody pretty easily. They encouraged people to let go of their mindsets of secrecy and the need for "protection" that walls can provide and to start talking to each other. If they need a bit more privacy they have individual rooms and conference rooms set up for those purposes. That's another part of creating a culture of one, which was their ultimate goal.
The room we were set up in is actually a very large space that can be divided into three separate conference spaces. It's their intention to invite other organizations to hold some of their meetings or event there, and at least for now they're offering it as free space.
It was a pretty good first meeting, especially when you consider that Pierre began as a consultant just like everybody else. Working with others, they were able to eventually merge into a collaborative group and he was able to become the first CEO of what is basically a new organization with a different organizational style. It's a very good lesson for consultants to always keep their options in mind and their minds open to the possibility of growth.