Don't Leave Management To Operate In The Dark
Managing during the first year of the merger isn’t going to be the same old drill, so the same old behaviors just don’t offer a lot of promise. Executives, middle managers, and first line supervisors desperately need expert coaching on merger dynamics and how to handle transition and change.
This is no place for OJT (on the job training) or a learn-as-you-go approach. There’s simply too much at stake. There are too many opportunities to foul up, and too much money goes down the tube when your problem-solvers and decision-makers are “playing it by ear.”
There’s little in the routine operation of an organization that would prepare managers and executives for managing this kind of corporate upheaval. Even the crusty, battle-scarred, seasoned veterans with years of experience under their belts can be rookies in this situation. It’s not enough just to throw your A-Team at the merger if they essentially have to feel their way along. Undoubtedly they will give it their best effort, but it’s like playing organizational Russian roulette. They may not get a second chance to make the merger work. At the very least, their learning curve is likely to lengthen the transition period at a point in time when additional days, weeks, and months are directly translated into lost productivity and hundreds of thousands of dollars down the drain.
So don’t leave your management corps to operate in the dark.
- Educate them on what to expect, on what happens and why, when companies are being acquired and merged.
- Give them training on how to avoid the most common management mistakes.
- Show them the shortcuts to success.
- Give them a grasp of the proper priorities.
We argue hard for “quick-impact training”—coaching that is intense, highly focused on the unique aspects of mergers, and rich in terms of specific“how to’s.”
Without proper training and coaching that give all parties a common frame of reference about merger management, managers and executives typically pursue conflicting strategies, argue over who’s right and who’s wrong, get in each other’s way, and generally tangle things up miserably. A little bit of expert coaching on the front end, however, can bring the alignment of effort necessary for a well-orchestrated merger integration.