Much time and effort is focused on financial due diligence in the merger/acquisition process. Understanding an organization’s culture is as important, but not quite as easy as asking for reports and data. Culture is about people, specifically how the employees and management interact as individuals and as a whole. If you ask company leadership about their culture, they will usually tell you the story of how they want it to be, not necessarily how it is.
Gathering data about company culture is an in-depth process in search of the “truth.” In order to understand cultures of both organizations we utilize both assessments and interviews. Then we create a specific plan to prepare both organizations before the merger and a follow up plan to integrate the cultures after the merger.
The lower levels of the organization will only survive and thrive if the top level management team comes together, and transparently supports the new culture, and addresses the issues that come along with transition. Otherwise, the good people quit and the remaining ones lose productivity andthe other company loses profitability.
I will help you navigate this challenging process so that your merger or acquisition will be more successful, less stressful and ultimately more profitable.
Past Projects - Kellogg Brown & Root
In the late 1990’s Kellogg, a global engineering company, merged with Brown and Root, a global construction company. On paper it made sense. Design it and build it within the same company. However, the two cultures were tremendously different. Kellogg was comprised of conservative, traditional thinkers and strategists. They built billion dollar facilities and couldn’t afford to make mistakes. On the other hand, Brown and Root had a high urgency culture focused on deadlines, making budget, or better yet coming in under budget, with a lesser skilled workforce that needed higher levels of supervision. Kellogg’s workforce was international, highly educated, with a multicultural perspective. Brown and Root was chock full of “good ol’ boys.” In order to successfully bring these cultures together, they hired a leadership consulting firm that I worked for. We designed and facilitated a two-day culture integration/leadership workshop that all employees that had any level of management responsibility were required to attend. The top level executives all participated in a 360 leadership survey that identified their top leadership qualities, and then as a group, they were asked to agree on what kind of culture they wanted going forward. Another big decision was who to keep in management based on these qualities and who to let go. This process took a year to complete. But the merger was a success!
Past Projects - Union Carbide & Dow Chemical
Union Carbide was taken over by Dow Chemical Company in 1999. Union Carbide was committed to making this transition as smooth as possible for their employees and wanted it to be an empowering experience for them. Every single employee went through a four hour professionally facilitated session where:
Each individual had the opportunity to describe to the group how they perceived the current Union Carbide culture.
Next they talked about how they perceived the Dow Chemical culture.
It was an open forum for everyone to express their concerns, fears, or excitement about the takeover.
3. After that they were given the opportunity to reflect upon their next decision
To take a severance package or stay after the acquisition.
Some knew they would not fit in. Others were excited about new opportunities.