Leveraging Your Cultural Merger: 4 Possibilities

In any merger, whether within a small team or between entire organizations, there is always a fear of losing one’s identity.  In the latter case, only one CEO will become the new leader for the merged entities and there is the inevitable sense that one entity’s culture will dominate.

Occasionally, the merged leadership embraces the potential for accelerating the growth of a new organization, rather than focus on operational integration under the oversight of a dominant company.

There are several good reasons why the new organization approach makes sense:

  1. At the time of merger anxiety levels are unusually high, including the survival fear of losing one’s job.  This also creates an openness to change that is often not present in most organizations.
  2. Most people in a merged organization want their new leadership to try something new or at least share a new perspective on the future.  In essence, they are saying,   show us the value of our merger.
  3. Mergers are a great time to evaluate the values of a new organization and align action with vision and values.  If your values espouse self-management, why not recalibrate your performance appraisal process and emphasize individual goals and objectives with relevant metrics tied to overall company economic success.
  4. All organizations have their warts and bringing these into open discussion during a merger is usually safer than in normal times.

Most mergers consultants will tell you that the implementation of the merger is the most difficult part of the merger process.  That’s not surprising, but part of the difficulty is in the perspective.  When the focus is primarily on operational integration there is a sense of drudgery that pervades the process.  When the emphasis is on creating a new future, there is an optimistic spirit that brings out the creativity and courage to persist with your values in mind.