In 2013, Staples, the multinational retailer of office supplies, initiated a massive restructuring of its European operations. As a result of the tremendous changes involved, which included large-scale layoffs and significant revisions of roles and responsibilities, Staples Europe’s employees faced intense pressure.
As a result, there was tremendous tension within the company—tension that appeared in what Staples Europe President John Wilson described as "a state of virtual warfare" among functions and locations. According to Wilson, “Relationships had deteriorated to a point where nothing was getting done.”
“Instead of blaming each other, we started asking each other how we can help one another. Just that simple shift in mindset has made an enormous difference in the quality of the communications, the quality of our understanding, and our cooperation between units and locations.”
President | Staples Europe
Recognizing that their carefully conceived transformation plan had no chance of succeeding in such an environment, Staples turned to Arbinger for help.
From June 2013 through January 2015, Arbinger designed and led customized work sessions every three to six months with the senior levels of Staples Europe leadership. Each session was designed for a specific stage of the transformation and to provide the leaders with tools that would allow them to successfully deal with the issues with which they were struggling during that stage. As a result, Staples Europe was able to execute the transformation plan in a far more collaborative and effective manner.
According to Wilson, “Instead of blaming each other, we started asking each other how we can help one another. Just that simple shift in mindset has made an enormous difference in the quality of the communications, the quality of our understanding, and our cooperation between units and locations.”