Co-Authored by: Sarah Le Roy
In our last blog post, 90% of Mergers Fail Without These 5 Crucial Elements, we focused on the organization’s role in a merger. Today, we’re focusing on the individual’s role – people absolutely can and should set themselves up for success once a merger is announced.
So what does an individual need to do to navigate their way through a transition? Below are the 5 critical steps everyone should take when a merger announcement goes to the masses:
Learn as much as you can about the other company. Glassdoor, LinkedIn, and earnings calls all provide different and important windows into an organization. Are they all 100% accurate all the time? No; be sure to acquire a wide variety of insight from a broad spectrum of resources.
Draw your own conclusions based on analysis, not emotion. Do a temperature check, swim in the pool early, and get a head start on understanding the priorities and cultural dynamics of the other organization.
2. Prepare for job shifts, including elimination:
You may need to re-interview for your position, so make sure your resume is up-to-date, your social media profile reflects the public persona you want to share, and get clear on your “superpowers.” What does that mean? Get some feedback from those who work with you and think in a clear-eyed, pragmatic way about what you’re great at and then apply those strengths to create a personal narrative of how you can add value to the new organization. “
“Synergy” is an innocuous term used frequently in merger integration activities. The end result being that you may end up competing for your own spot. Take this opportunity to do a bit of soul searching– are you content with your current role? If you have any ambivalence, use this opportunity to explore positions in other departments or consider “special projects,” such as a merger integration team.
3. Make the human-to-human connection:
Get to know your counterparts in the other organization’s departments. If you stay in your division, you’ll likely be working with some of these people – it’s never too early to start building those relationships. Doing so will also provide invaluable cultural insights.
4. Maintain perspective:
Understand that everyone in your organization is going through the same challenges as you are, so be gracious in the process. Your leaders are experiencing the same anxieties you are, this isn’t just happening to you alone, and it’s essential to keep this in mind as you reach out to others. Remember, uncertainty does not discriminate.
5. Set the right tone:
This is particularly relevant for leaders – everyone is watching you and taking cues. Be intentional regarding what type of culture you want to create. If you have an “us” versus “them” mentality, people throughout the organization will quickly adapt and resist true integration, a mindset that’s difficult to reverse.
It’s also essential for leaders to foster a space that allows people to be open about their fears and concerns, but not plug into those either. Instead, help others reframe how they can view the situation in a positive light. Be aware of the power of mindset and frame the merger as a positive event, citing how and why. The new organization will be larger and stronger, not to mention how it’ll be exciting to be a part of the future growth.
Ultimately, for individuals to successfully navigate a merger, having the right frame of mind and a plan for themselves is essential. Take this opportunity to do some soul searching, reset, and be your best self. Tap into your “why” and how this fits into the new organization.
Want to talk it out with our knowledgeable team? We’ve got your back. Get in touch!