Case Study 2

Merging Cultures

Cornerstone Propane was formed to bring together several regional propane retail distributors into a major, nation-wide company. The leadership of this venture felt strongly that their success required a unified culture across their diverse network and stronger managerial and leadership skills for their service center managers.

They wanted the managers to see themselves as managers, not simply as employees, focused on serving their customers and growing their businesses. The management team had begun to communicate strongly the core values of the new company – truth, integrity, and honesty – and to stress the theme of personal responsibility – “if it’s to be, it’s up to me.”

To drive this culture building, TDF International developed a 2-day workshop focused on building a culture of managerial responsibility. The workshop used TDF to help the service center managers identify their management styles and strengths and to create a simple language for understanding the management process. The workshop stressed the themes and values of the new company and focused on how the local managers could succeed in this new environment.

We rolled out this workshop to almost 300 managers across 15 regions with great success. Two hundred seventy one of these participants rated the workshop as “very helpful,” 23 rated it as “somewhat helpful,” and none rated it as “not helpful.” The workshop offered the managers a new view of themselves and their jobs, a new sense that their voices were being heard and valued, a sense of their importance to the company, and the opportunity to meet key managers from the operations center as well as the leadership team.

A two-day workshop, of course, is a start and not an end. This workshop, though, accomplished what it was designed to accomplish and generated the energy and commitment to move on to new initiatives. For example, the management team added a director of organizational development who was already a certified TDF trainer and who built on this effort with his own initiatives.

TDF International strongly recommended that we could be most helpful in the future by working with the regional managers to strengthen their leadership in the effort to strengthen the local centers, and we have done this work subsequently.

The consequences of this rapid intervention were remarkable. People from several different companies, with very different histories, began to feel part of a single, new company. People began to see their roles and their contributions differently. Finally, people felt valued and respected by the effort their senior management team was making on their behalf.

“We merged three companies into one and TDf conducted a very successful management training seminar to get everyone on the same team, the same page, and speaking the same language.”
CHARLES KITTRELL, EXECUTIVE VP AND COO
Cornerstone Propane Partners