Hand-shakeBy Margot Cairnes. The focus of most senior executives when it comes to a merger or acquisition is on balance sheets, financial performance and integrating products or operational functions. The impact of bringing two very different teams of people together receives far less consideration. Yet culture clash is the major cause for most merger failures.

Dale Stafford from Bain Consulting, highlights how culture clash is the number one reason for a merger or acquisition failing. Some surveys put the figure at 30% of all failed mergers.

The organisations involved with a deal may have incompatible cultures and ways of working. Staff loyal to the old brand and way of doing things may become confused, frustrated and suspicious. Morale slips, teams become defensive and reluctant to change.

Ultimately, productivity, customer service and profitability nose dive.

Tricia Mikolai, Managing Director for BI worldwide, observes, “Organisations with different cultures find it difficult, if not often impossible, to make decisions quickly. They are slow to adapt to threats or opportunities in the market place.The nature of mergers may entail things moving ahead at a rapid pace. Yet changing culture to keep pace, takes time”.

To drive a successful merger and acquisition particularly one between large and complex companies requires, not only a culture change methodology and toolkit, but a level of thinking that is currently beyond most organisations in Australia.
One or both organisations involved in a merger maybe limited by a socialised level of thinking.

Identifying your leaders with elevated modes of thinking

A company’s culture is all the shared values, beliefs and behaviors that determine how people do things in an organisation and how they interact with each other. A purely top down approach to cultural transformation will bring about limited or no improvement. It may even cause more harm than good.

Stakeholders from both organisations should be included and allowed to contribute or make suggestions. Leaders exist at all levels between the two organisation. They’re the individuals that offer the greatest potential for you to drive change across both companies.

Each staff member brings with them a unique set of skills and experience. Allowing for each to take a position of leadership is not only good for the individual, it is great for the team and the outcome for the entire change initiative.These biases and preferences can impact the change readiness and ability of leaders and the people they lead to adapt.

Attending the 12 Steps for Business CEO Master class is a must, if you want to learn how to manage cultural transformation.The CEO Master Class is an introduction to 12 Steps for Business – a revolutionary cloud based program for helping leaders, teams and whole organisations to manage the cultural transformation required for a successfule merger or acquisition.