Have you ever been through a merger/acquisition process during your career?
- Yes, I’ve had my company be acquired by another: 45.22%
- Yes, I’ve been at a company that acquired another one: 35.31%
- No, I’ve never been involved in one of those situations: 19.47%
Merger challenges. 80% of you have been involved in mergers, either as the buyer or the bought. They’re extremely challenging and stressful situations. One of the most challenging aspects of any merger is managing the culture combination. Processes, technology, products, operations, financials — those are all relatively straightforward to sort out. The big leadership challenge is creating one new culture from the two that came together. Failure to do so creates great risk for the organization and can definitely adversely affect the merger’s outcome.
As a leader, stay focused on cultural issues. Pay attention to brewing culture conflicts and get in front of them. Define the culture you want to build and find every opportunity you can to reinforce it. Pointing out actions that are or are not consistent with the desired culture helps people understand what you’re building toward. Your team can handle the operating details — they need you focused on combining two cultures into one successful one.
Mike Figliuolo is managing director of thoughtLEADERS, which includes TITAN — the firm’s e-learning platform. Previously, he worked at McKinsey & Co., Capital One and Scotts Miracle-Gro. He is a West Point graduate and author of three leadership books: “One Piece of Paper,” “Lead Inside the Box” and “The Elegant Pitch.”