Ensuring Acquisition Success When Cultures Differ
Leading the Acquisition or Merger from the Management Suite
The good news is that there are ways to merge companies successfully. Some high-level steps can be taken at the management suite level to ensure success.
First, recognize and identify cultural differences during the assessment phase. For example, one company might be focused on process, position, and hierarchy. In contrast, the other company might be very marketing-oriented, with a flat structure and fluid career movement within the company. This kind of cultural difference is not unusual.
Where two cultures differ, decide and choose which of the two cultures is best for the combined entity, and then merge one of the companies into it. Don’t be afraid to transform the acquiring company culture into a culture of the acquired company that is lighter, faster, and more market focused. Doing cultural change costs a great deal of time and effort, but results can protect the value of the acquisition or merger.
Next, seek out shared common values and how they are expressed in the everyday work life of the employees as well as how it informs corporate strategies. Find the influential voices in the organization and gain their support for the shared values of the combined organization so that the influencers can spread these values throughout the organization early.
Listen to the concerns of top talent to resolve problems and retain the top talent. Keeping top talent on board helps prevents the demoralization of the rest of the organization as well as further employee losses.
Facilitate communication between groups across the organizations so that they begin to develop relationships when the merger or acquisition starts. The most important things to remember are to be thoughtful about the culture of both companies and to encourage open communication from every group of both organizations.