Case Study

Rebuilding Culture After CEO Dismissal

The Challenge

The CEO was terminated by the board following advice from legal counsel. When we arrived, the work environment was dysfunctional as a result of the actions of the terminated CEO. Distrust and suspicion remained. The board and a recently hired COO was concerned about reenergizing a relatively young staff and bringing the organization back to productivity.

What We Did

After conducting an employee engagement assessment, we held a companywide gathering. We conducted “truth & reconciliation” type meetings to allow the opportunity for grievances to be heard and responses given. We also acknowledged the point of transition and described the vision forward to drive the organization to greater success. Bringing everyone into the nature of the change process set the expectation that the road ahead will be bumpy, yet there is a clear path out of the turmoil. We worked with the board on their role, decisions and interactions with the staff to ensure that all parties were aligned with the actions necessary to stabilize the organization.

What We Discovered

The board demonstrated inconsistent behavior and oversight driving some of the instability surrounding the leadership transition. The organization was structured such that outside stakeholders beholden to the founders often drove much of the negativity. Staff were either not allowed to rise to their position or promoted prematurely, creating an environment where no one trusted the others on the team, including a clear “us vs them” divide between senior leadership and the staff.

Conscient Strategies discovered that staff were either not allowed to rise to their position or promoted prematurely—creating an environment where team members didn’t trust and support one another.


Implementation & Execution

Our recommendations and actions spanned a number of areas:

board management

We worked with the board to clearly define their role of a board and appropriate interactions with the operating team.

reset vision

We helped to reset the vision of the organization as a whole and understand their
importance to realizing that vision.


We coached specific employees to mature some of the behaviors that were exhibited by the team

organization restructuring

We restructured the programmatic responsibilities, processes and clarified professional accountabilities to optimize the productivity of the team as a whole.

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