Change: Dealing with Change in Mergers and Acquisitions

Change: Dealing with Change in Mergers and Acquisitions

Remember the old advertisement on TV that ended with the tag line “pay me now, or pay me later”? Not spending at least as much time on creating very specific and actionable change management plans as part of your overall merger or acquisition plans will result in loss of personnel, longer implementation times, higher costs, and the very real possibility of failure.

Here are five approaches to planning that do not work:

  1. Focus on the business as the be-all and end-all
    - Unless your people know you care about them, they won't care about your company
  2. Avoiding making it clear how broad the impact will be
    - The desire is to skip over the implication, and leave people fuzzy about what’s actually going to happen
  3. Overstating the picture
    - Managers believe that if they get people scared enough, they’ll be motivated to work harder
  4. Inadequately covering the issues
    - Companies run through the issues once over lightly and at a very broad level, without clearly spelling out them out
  5. Blaming the employees
    Another approach, sometimes attempted to mobilize employees, is to lay the blame at their door, in hopes that they’ll recognize the problems they’ve created for themselves, change their evil ways, and thus reverse the fortune of the company, and in turn, their own fortunes

Most mergers and acquisitions focus on ‘changing the chart’. We believe that is not nearly enough. In order to have a successful outcome, you also need to, as John Scherer and Mark Yeoell put it, ‘change the heart’…that is, to lavish at least as much attention on your people. We call it “People Diligence”.

You are acquiring not only the ‘brick and mortar’, and other physical assets, but you are also acquiring the intellectual assets that reside within the employee base. If you do not take care to carefully manage the people side of your deal, to create and execute robust Change Management Plans, your odds of succeeding will be extremely unlikely.

Wolf Management will work with you create, simple, clear, actionable Change Management Plans that will help ensure that your new company is all that you want it to be!!


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