An acquisition or merger can be hugely powerful in driving a business’s success but when they go wrong they can destroy huge amounts of value. Appropriate, intelligent and sensitive leadership of the people impacted by the transaction is perhaps the most critical factor in the success or failure of transactions.
It is entirely understandable that people within organisations involved in mergers and acquisitions should be concerned. When organisations and their governance change people’s careers and ways of working and networks of personal relationships are likely to be impacted, not always in ways the leader has anticipated. It’s vital to create an environment where these concerns are shared with the leader so he or she can respond and address legitimate concerns before they become major problems.
A lack of communication about the acquisition is frustrating and confusing to stakeholders. Leaders are generally best served by being open and communicative about every detail of the process in real time. It’s much more likely to be a problem if there is too little as opposed to too much communication.
The managers may also be confused about where the company will end up. The entire management team consists of business leaders, so they must be informed about every step of the process and know how to address their teams. They should also know how to answer questions from concerned customers.
Consider rewriting the Vision and Mission Statements
Most businesses have vision and mission statements that describe the company’s goals and plans. Before, during, or after the acquisition, leadership should consult widely within the teams at the combined company and often doing this around an agenda to create a renewed expression of common purpose is effective. If people have a shared understanding and articulation of what they want to achieve together they are much more likely to work effectively together.
Consider renewing incentive arrangements
All staff, not just management, need to not just understand and share goals but also feel they are personally invested in the success of the overall team and the business. Financial compensation schemes and widened equity participation can really help but so too can arrangements that link greater support to charitable and social endeavours that the people in a company feel identified with and want to support more.