Integrating new team members and learning about collaboration in a challenging market

Company: British American Tobacco Hungary
Industry: Tobacco
Company size: 53 000+ employees
Location: 40+ countries globally
Project keywords: team development, collaborative skillbuilding, role clarification

The client

British American Tobacco is one of the world's leading consumer goods bussinesses. Founded in 1902, their highly successful past paved the way to a transformational future. They are in the process of reducing the health impact of their business in order to deliver sustainable value for all of their stakeholders.
My client was the Brand Activation Team of BAT Hungary. They have been operating in a highly regulated industry from the start, and the change the company is going through required innovation on their part too.

Case study


The team was composed of young, ambitious professionals including a recently promoted leader. The team went through an intense period and they knew that they would have some new team members joining soon.


Goals of our collaboration

We had multiple goals with this project. For one, we wanted to support the integration of the new team leader and provide a clean sheet for the team to clarify roles and expectations. This was a chance for them to talk about the ways of working they wanted to cultivate within the team.



The products they deal with are new to the market, and there are strict rules around how they can and cannot communicate about them. This means there isn’t a lot of pre-existing know-how for them to follow, they have to be creative and innovate often in their work. Having the necessary team culture that enables innovation is crucial for their success.

How to establish a culture of innovation within the team?

Given their circumstances, the company wanted to give them an opportunity to develop their skills and grow together. I got involved to design a team day for them as part of my ongoing consultancy and mentoring work with HR.

Taking a step back to see the big picture

With new team members joining soon, another goal was to learn about team development so the team can handle any upcoming changes and challenges in an intentional and productive manner.

This team day served as a container for them to get away from the everyday hustle, take a helicopter view, and spend a day working ON the team instead of working IN it like they do every day.

Understanding the current stage of team development

To support this further, we wanted to give them a chance to learn about each other in a meaningful way, and to gain self-awareness regarding their own tendencies and ineffective behaviors regarding collaboration.

Learning about collaboration together

How to manage changes in the team?

How to grow and learn together?

Integration of the new team leader 

1-day team retreat at a cozy venue

A collaboration workshop with mixed elements of team building and learning about Radical Collaboration and team development.

When having important and potentially delicate conversations, the right meeting space makes a big difference. It can unconsciously put people on the defensive, or it can help them ease into the conversation a lot faster. When designing a workshop, I take into account subtle elements like these too. 

Scoping session with HR and leader

Before coming up with the framework of the day, I talked with HR and the team leader to understand what they would like to achieve by the end of this project, what their business reality is like, and to learn more about the team I was about to work with.

Pre-design interviews with all team members

After I developed a high-level plan based on the information from HR and the team leader, I conducted short (15-20 minutes) interviews with all 5 team members to get to know their personalities and to hear about issues from their perspective as well. This allows me to look at things from multiple viewpoints and design the team day in a way that takes their unique team dynamics into account.

After the interviews I created a team diagnosis and intentionally chose topics and exercises that would help the team address these issues.

Feedback session with HR and leader

During the workshop, I also observed the team dynamics and how people interacted with each other. I gave my observations to HR and the team leader in a feedback session, along with next step recommendations for what to look out for and how to best support the team.

Consultation sessions with HR

I’ve been working with HR for months before this workshop as a consultant and organizational development mentor. I supported their ambitious HR BP in her internal organizational development role so she could effectively support people with their team and skills development. In a partnership like this, we can combine her intimate understanding of the business with my external viewpoint, ideas and professional knowledge, then she can work on implementation in her own capacity.

Project elements


Impact of our collaboration

Many team building sessions aren’t as effective as they could be because they aim to help people get better at teamwork without understanding the real issues standing in the way of collaboration. A lot of times conflict doesn’t stem from personal differences and failings but from things like unclear stakeholder expectations or a lack of role clarity.

The Brand Activation team learned how to see themselves as part of a bigger system, and gained a more clear understanding of their role in the business as well as in relation to their stakeholders.

By getting to know each other and themselves better, and understanding the phases of team development, the Brand Activation team is now better equipped to face the changes and potential challenges that could arise with the arrival of new team members, and solve them faster and more smoothly.

Getting together to talk about how they wanted to navigate this period and what kind of team culture they want to build served as an emotional recontracting, and involving the new team leader in this process helped him connect to the team both personally and professionally.

Some team members mentioned that they were grateful for the opportunity to learn new skills. They appreciated the fact that the company recognized their unique circumstances and they got special attention with this team day.


I recently faced a professional challenge in my career where I felt I was lacking tools, structure, and knowledge. I reached out to Kata and together we came up with a solution which made me very comfortable from the first moment: she became my mentor to help me develop my business partnering skills while turning learning and development challenges into actionable solutions. During this process we complimented each other’s strength to reach our goals: Kata’s strategic thinking, coaching skills, and immense knowledge about organizational development, and my knowledge about the organization and people. As one highlight of our results, we managed to plan and execute a compact yet multipurpose and effective one day workshop for our activation team. Through this process, Kata taught me as an HR professional that it’s not a weakness to ask for help. On the contrary, the most strength-based solutions can come from such a process.

Client talk

Fanni Katona,
Junior HR Business Partner, BAT

You've made it this far, now how can I help you?

explore more studies

request scoping session