The Most Important Thing (After the Merger)

I’ve been working on a couple of projects lately that deal with merging one acquired company into another.  In a hallway conversation with one CEO, the question came up … What is the most important thing we should do after the merger?

If you’ve been through a merger or an acquisition at any level, there are probably a few things that ‘stick in your craw’ regarding how smoothly the integration occurred.

Most due diligence activities performed during an acquisition focus on the financial aspects of the acquired company.  After the financial health of the company is analyzed, acquiring companies look at the maturity and efficiency of the corporate systems and processes.  This is all very important and of course any deal has to have a sound financial basis.

But what is almost always neglected are the cultural aspects of the merged companies.  It is relatively easy to change pay systems, healthcare providers and standard company forms.  It is a virtual nightmare to seamlessly integrate corporate cultures.  To make the merger work, the leadership must consider culture up front and recognize the significant role culture plays in the development of a company.  The leadership must then over communicate and educate the staff on upcoming changes and how the acquisition or merger will impact everyone in the new organization.  Since change will be dramatic, it is critical to create an environment of trust wherechange can be both managed and lead.

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