We like to call them the 5 Cs. If you want your acquisition to be successful, you better pay attention to these key strategic areas because they are first to show tension during a transition.
How to blend the cultures of two or more unique organizations is often overlooked during the flurry of activity that takes place when a deal goes off. However, successfully creating, communicating and implementing a new corporate culture for the go-forward organization is essential to long-term success. Just as people aren’t productive when they’re unclear about their career future, productivity drops when they lack understanding of the cultural expectations in their new work world.
During a transition the sales force and others who interact most with the outside world are often confused about what is expected, unclear about what to say or do, and uncertain about the future. As a result the customer is neglected, or worse: treated to tales of misgivings about what is happening. Customers begin to wonder if anyone knows what is going on. They begin to doubt that their own needs will be considered during this chaotic time, looking elsewhere for someone who can assure them they will get what they want, when they want it, at the price they want, with the service they deserve. Loyal customers begin to fall away. Revenues drop.
People need to receive constant and consistent communications to keep them connected to the process of change. When people connect and commit, they produce value for the organization.
During change key producers feel energized if they are contributing and making a difference. They seek opportunities to understand what is needed, to be involved in decisions and actions. They are primed to produce information for task forces and project groups, to extend their enthusiasm to customers, and to examine innovative new ways to approach the opportunities change brings. They are ready and willing. The organization’s task is to recognize and leverage that willing ability.
A merger or acquisition is not done to cause organizations to be smaller, make less money, and work employees’ fingers to the bone—and mergers are not done to reinvent existing wheels or to lose key talent. Deals are done to work – plain and simple.
None of this happens accidentally. To achieve extraordinary results, a strategically planned transition must be developed. But it’s not enough to merely plan a stellar strategy. A complete solution must also include a way to get the thing off of the planning pages and embedded in the go-forward organization. Especially during mergers, it’s crucial to stay the course; keep focused. Creating a solid transition plan—and sticking to it—will keep you on track, and keep you focused on the vision for the new organization.
Communication, when used during times of significant change, engages all employees, delivers key messages at the appropriate time and in the appropriate manner, and facilitates the deployment of the new strategic vision.
Focus on three main categories of communication necessary during times of great change. MergerCoach works with our clients to customize a solution that effectively addresses these critical areas:
Strategic – What is the new vision for the organization?
Organizational – How will the organization’s structure shift?
Operational – How will the day-to-day operations be affected?
Getting the word out to the organization, suppliers & customers – sooner rather than later – that these issues are being addressed will keep your employees focused on maintaining productivity, rather than on speculating as to what’s around the corner. People can rally around a vision as long as they understand what tomorrow holds and how that impacts today.