Navigating Merger Mania

This past year was a big one for mergers and acquisitions, as companies strive to become more viable in the turbulent global marketplace. If you haven’t been through this yet, you might encounter one in the months or year ahead. Here are a few reflections from my own experiences to help you prepare for what might be ahead.
  • Strap on your seatbelts: As anyone who has been through it will tell you, any merger or acquisition tends to be a huge roller-coaster event for everyone involved. It’s never business-as-usual. It’s never a merger of equals.
  • Mergers are like marriages: The stages of a merger are similar to the phases of a relationship…the dating, the engagement, the wedding, the honeymoon and then the joys and rigors of family life.
  • Good management can make all the difference: From my experiences, successful mergers do a few key things very well. Here is my best advice on how to manage the process effectively:
    • Deliver guiding principles that will set a behavior framework for all aspects of the process
    • Deliver simple communication messages that consistently address employee questions to fullest extent possible. Openness and honesty matter.
    • If you’re a leader, be visible, be available to listen and share the latest details
    • Don’t forget to share the vision…again…again…and again
    • Build relationships pre-close (the “engagement”)
    • Make key decisions early
    • Do as much as you can prior to the “wedding”
    • Remain flexible as the plans can change with new data availability
    • Place emphasis on capturing the hearts and minds of people
Have you been impacted by this activity yet?  How can we prepare for the time we may be caught up in merger mania?  What steps can we take to make the journey less traumatic?
About Alex Pollock

Alex Pollock has been studying leadership effectiveness for more than 30 years. A former leader in environment, health and safety, and public affairs at The Dow Chemical Co., he learned that we all have leadership roles to play. He enjoys discussing new ideas and sharing practical ways we can all become better leaders.

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