Case Study coaching through an acquisition

Gumball delivered a customized, leadership development program and individual coaching that helped guide the client through an acquisition riddled with multiple leadership and organizational changes. 

The Situation


Gumball was hired to assist this $450 million dollar game company who had been recently acquired by one of the world's largest game companies. Once acquired, the leadership team immediately took proactive measures to shift from being entrepreneurial leaders of their own small company of 400 persons to leaders of one studio required to meet overarching, company-wide corporate goals of a now 10,000 person company. Over the course of two years, the organization faced three leadership transitions, two organization restructures, the advancement of their bench strength, up-skilling their executive talent, realigning the culture to a new brand and values, and redefining their mission to align with the mother ship. Gumball was brought on board to strategically consult, coach, and facilitate the executives through all these transitions over the course of 3 years.   


The Solution

Gumball was initially tasked to support executive transitions and team development. We were contracted to facilitate four, customized executive team off-sites. The off-sites were designed to take place in three specific phases.

Phase one focused on building a new, and unified executive team built upon understanding where they fit within the big picture of the whole organization. They wanted to assure they met their expected financial goals while maturing as leaders. Given every executive team member was new to the role, they strived to learn how to be leaders while simultaneously transitioning into the larger organization. 

Together, Gumball and the executive team outlined specific skills they wanted to build during the first off-site session. However, before the off-site took place, the CEO announced he would be leaving the company. Gumball quickly adapted the first phase to include the executive team impact and executive team transitions due to the leadership change.

Phase two focused on preparing for the second off-site session. The goal was to continue team and leadership development under new leadership while strategizing how the executive team would announce, and manage, the leadership transition. 

However, during preparations for the second off-site, another organizational change was announced; the studio would transition from a company of multiple franchises to a single platform, a mobile studio. Simultaneously, the new General Manager (GM) took paternity leave. Therefore, phase two’s goal included further leadership transitions and the transition of the organization’s structure to mobile. Fundamentally, the project became an organizational change management project. 

Phase three focused on facilitating the leadership changes. During this time three members of the leadership team left and three new members joined. In addition, the organization lowered the studio's budget by $5 million, forcing the studio to reduce the employee headcount. Gumball supported the development of the vision, mission, organization design, and road map, as well as the enterprise-wide change management process through strategic consulting and facilitation services.

Gumball was contracted for an additional phase to provide and manage coaching services to the client in support of continued organization transitions and personal development.

A customized and formalized coaching criterion, including specific coaching guidelines, was established and implemented through the studio’s HR department. During phase four, the GM took a two-month sabbatical leave. Three leaders were appointed as equity-authority, deputy GMs. This triumvirate leadership structure was well received by the organization’s and studio’s employees.

A model recommended by Gumball, which is based on the successes of other triumvirate models likened to Google.  During the GM’s absence, operations and delivery continued to hold steady through the continued transition.  A final off-site was conducted with the executive team, where they were informed of yet another organizational change.

The newly appointed GM would not be returning after his sabbatical. The off-site focused on how the triumvirate leadership team would handle this change, and relay it back to the employees. Gumball’s recommendation was to move forward with the triumvirate leadership model and receive Gumball’s unique triumvirate coaching service for the next six months during the transition.


The Impact

Post transition year one the studio exceeded financial targets and was identified by headquarters as a leading studio in their portfolio, specifically in innovation and leadership.  Visit our Leadership Development page and learn how your organization can benefit from our customized leadership development program or contact us below for a free consultation!

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