Tues 29 Aug 2023 2:00pm UK time

When you combine teams, or even acquire another agency, it can be difficult to get everyone singing from the exact same hymn sheet.

For Jonny Tooze, founder and CEO of LAB Group, to get people to follow the same processes, it starts with culture.

“When you merge teams, the reality is that particular disciplines need a particular sort of environment, and that environment is created by culture,” he says.

“At LAB, we hate the concept of cultural integration. It feels like some sort of totalitarian state trying to make things work. The most important thing is just respecting the culture that’s needed for what is being executed.”

Merging operations and ways of working can look different for every business. Running an agency group, this can be even more complex.

Some of the things that Jonny implemented at LAB Group are simple yet effective:

  • Getting everyone aligned. “Each business has different approaches, and a different view on quality, on what’s important, on what strategy means – aligning what is meant by those things is really important.”
  • Giving his teams more autonomy. “We wanted to go somewhere in the middle, where each of our teams could be celebrated, run their own culture and be their own agency, yet at the same time, have a place where they can cooperate, integrate and communicate with each other.”
  • Working things out by working together. “I always go with the approach of letting things happen more organically, giving teams reason and purpose to work together. With a client, for example, the easiest thing to do is work on a pitch together as a whole – you work things out pretty quickly that way.”

“When you’re integrating something, it’s almost like transplanting an organ,” says Jonny. “It’s never going to be a perfect fit. And if you’re not constantly monitoring it, then it’ll be rejected.”

“There’s always going to be some legacy feeling that’s not quite right, or maybe a power struggle here and there. I think you’ve got to be constantly working on it.”

Whether you’re merging your team’s processes or going through the M&A process and figuring out how those bigger jigsaw pieces fit together, this is a session worth signing up for.

Come along and hear how Jonny merged his team’s processes and cultures, and why sometimes a one-size-fits-all approach might not be the right way forward.