Two cultures that must integrate
When Companies or departments combine it is not balance sheets that have to adapt, it is not systems that have to make immediate changes, it is two cultures that must seamlessly integrate. This means that the people involved must be willing and capable of making the smooth and effective transition from their current small business into the new, bigger whole.
When you, as owner of the business, identify and effect an acquisition, agree a mutually beneficial merger or see the benefits of reorganisation, you are excited and positive; you just know it is all going to work out for the best and everyone in the organisation will be better off as a result.
But do your staff and managers know this?
Communicating the reasons for the course of action you have started, and more importantly how they will have a positive effect on those who do the day‑to‑day work, are essential to a swift and universally supported integration.
Current culture defines how you operate, why you have been successful and what your customers like about dealing with you. How sure are you that this will fit with the culture of the new business? Understanding the characters of the teams that you will be joining together will make managing the transition significantly easier.
Remember your objective is to make the new, bigger business more effective and more profitable than the sum of its components, so make sure that your new found knowledge is shared with your staff, after all it’s them that will have to work together!
Theoretical, I know, so here are some practical suggestions:
Communicate the Company’s culture
You must understand how your business is perceived by others: its culture. Speak to customers, suppliers and staff and ask them “What makes us great” and use the information you gather to shape how your new organisation will look. Involvement in this manner will help you to gain valuable ideas from the frontline about how to make the merger smooth and effortless.
Reinforce the positives for everyone
Consult with your key staff to identify how their aspirations will be met by the course of action you have started. When everyone’s values are aligned and compatible you will experience a much greater cooperation in the process and see motivated people helping you. Use tools such as Motivational Maps and NLP Values Inventories to identify your teams’ attitude to change and the best way to manage them.
Before, during and after the restructuring give regular updates that include everyone.
Especially staff, but also customers and suppliers, like know to what is going on. The potentially massive changes that are taking place could leave them unsure and uneasy: this is not good for business. Ensure that employees feel included in the changes, rather than being forced to accept them; they are what makes your business function.
Ensure that customers and suppliers see your actions as positive for them in the long term. Without happy customers you have no business; ensure they know you will be there to provide your product or service to them in the long term. Without happy suppliers business becomes a hard road to travel; make sure they understand that they will continue to enjoy a fruitful relationship.
Spread the word
Share the knowledge you gain from speaking to individuals with everyone. Let the teams and individuals that are coming together know the values, hopes and concerns of the others. By doing this you will start to allow your staff to walk in the other’s shoes and gain a clearer perspective and understanding of the new colleagues they will be working with.
Make these suggestions part of a continual improvement process and ensure that regular interactions away from the challenges of the work are encouraged. This type of progress review will help your staff to understand the continuity and reinforce your commitment to making things work for them.
Thanks for the added challenge!
This can look like a lot of extra work on top of all of the legal, financial and operational jobs to be done, because it is. As many of our blogs say, you cannot be expected to be an expert in everything, and much as you might dislike it, there are only 168 hours in a week.
We help people to perform better in business, so if you see the value in the suggestions we have made, give call us a call to find out we can help you to implement them (and others) and make your merger the success it should be.