For over 25 years, I have worked with organizations that have experienced a merger or acquisition. It is amazing how seamlessly these organizations put new signs on all of the buildings, streamline the paperwork, print new brochures with the new company name and logo, and successfully accomplish any number of similar routine administrative functions.
However, it is a puzzle to me why so many organizations do such a poor job of blending the cultures of the two organizations into an effective, focused, and successful new corporate entity with a clear direction, culture and personality.
Why is this?
1. Management is too busy with the financial/administrative tasks that they have no time or energy left to manage the human factors better.
2. Management does not realize the impact on morale, security, relationships and productivity of a culture filled with uncertainty, stress and change.
3. Management does not have the empathy or sensitivity to the impact on the human relations of the new culture and delegates these decisions/actions to the HR department, or no one if there is no HR department.
4. Management tries to legislate the new culture rather than let it cultivate over time.
5. Management does not know what they want the new culture to look like and therefore plays ‘Let’s wait and see. ’
6. Management is out of touch with reality of what is really going on in the trenches of the organization and relies on its ‘direct reports’ for their awareness and/or understanding of what is really going on rather than checking bottom-up for its reality check.
I worked with a client a few years ago that went through a merger – acquisition. After four years, two distinct cultures were still present in the organization. I constantly heard: when I was with _ , we never had this problem. And from employees of the acquired organization there was still a dispute about who bought whom.
I will tell you that during these years of uncertainty, lack of focus and unclear direction, this organization lost business, sales and good employees until they decided to spend as much time and money on their human resources as they did their printing.
Management quote for the week: Mere precedent is a dangerous source of authority. Andrew Jackson
Tim Connor, CSP is an internationally renowned sales, management and leadership speaker, trainer and best selling author. Since 1981 he has given over 3500 presentations in 21 countries on a variety of sales, management, leadership and relationship topics. He is the best selling author of over 60 books including; Soft Sell, That’s Life, Peace Of Mind, 91 Challenges Managers Face Today and Your First Year In Sales. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org , 704-895-1230 or visit his website at http://www.timconnor.com .