One person can hold an entire business back!

The Struggling Affiliate Onboarded Yet Another Managing Director

For years this company had problems with this affiliate. Somehow the strategy that worked so well in other affiliates did not work here. They had tried it all.

  • Sending their best people over to help the local leaders on short stints
  • Sending their best people over to be in charge, and so forth, on longer stints

Nothing Worked…

The numbers kept being the worst in the organization. Financially… but also people wise… with higher employee turnover – especially from recent hires– and the lowest engagement scores.

Now, they had yet another managing director onboarded again… this time a local one with a great reputation. He had quickly set up his leadership team. Replaced a few members– as it was custom– but he felt something was not as it should be.


1,000+ people in 10 offices – up to 450 miles apart. Some of the offices are set up in smaller cities to acknowledge and service major clients… others to host the administrative staff in the larger cities.

The Classic Example of ‘Out of sight – Out of mind’

Innovisor had worked with this client for years on overall organizational change programs, but this time it was time to zoom in on solving the most concerning business issue.

The affiliate – that somehow – could not succeed.

We zoomed in on the networks and suddenly everything was clear. A classic example of “done by and done with the people BEATS done to the people.” The leadership affiliate had always run change through the ranks and activities at the major offices.

The smaller offices were hit by the “out of sight – out of mind” syndrome and had not gotten any attention from the leaders. They had been left to make up their own view of what was going on by talking to peers and the few people traveling between them.

Of those few people, one person stood out as highly influential!

One Person Stood in the Influence Networks

He had been with the company for what seemed like forever, and he had been disciplined in visiting all the people he worked with in the offices. Even during COVID, he stayed in contact, and as a result, developed deep personal relationships.

He was not part of any of the leadership groups – he used to be but got degraded in 2020 in one of the many restructurings that had taken place.

So, he was no longer in the know of what was going on in the organization…

But he was still the person everybody sought out when they wanted to make sense of what was going on in the organization. As he did not know, he was not always able to tell but could share some of his own frustrations instead. For an outsider it could like obstruction – it was not intended.

The solution was simple the new managing director reached out to his phone and looked up the number in the company phonebook. He knew he needed to get this person onboard… and to rally around the organizational changes needed. To do this he needed to build trust, listen to concerns, and make him an insider on the upcoming activities in the affiliate.

Only by turning him into an insider and activating him as a catalyst will lead to succeed.

Jeppe Vilstrup Hansgaard

Case written by

Jeppe Vilstrup Hansgaard

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