How Culture Operates – First 3 Months of a Merger

 

This post is by Jerome Parisse, originally published on the Walking the Talk website.  It is one in a series that Jerome and I are putting together to introduce a unique Culture Masterclass for M&A Executives, developed jointly by Isely Associates International and Walking the Talk. 

Two organisations come together

Each group gets to see what the other looks like.  Specifically what you see are the behaviours, symbols and systems of the other organisation. They may look like you, even talk like you.  On the surface they may be in the same business, and therefore undertake the same activities.  But very quickly you will notice that they are not the same as you.

Of course you will have heard some information already about how the other tribe operates.  Some of your members will have been involved in due diligence activities, or planning for the future acquisition.  Others may have worked there previously in their career.  Perhaps the other tribe was a past competitor, or someone you met at industry functions.  They might have been a customer, or a supplier.  You may share a parent, and be two divisions of the same group.  They will have a reputation regarding how culture operates, and you will know what it is.

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Merger Integration: Choosing the Most Effective Culture Strategy

In the heat of a deal, too many organisations leave culture to chance because they mistakenly think that they can’t (or shouldn’t) make decisions about it until a deal has been completed.

Certainly I’m not suggesting that every detail be carved in stone before close, but having a clear view about where you’re heading and what type of culture will support expected business and deal outcomes will both smooth and quicken post-merger integration.

When time is money, it pays to prepare.

What do we mean by “culture”?

Generically, many would say culture simply is “how we do things around here”. As described by my colleagues at Walking the Talk Pty Ltd, culture is “patterns of behaviour that are encouraged, discouraged and tolerated by people and systems, over time”. Continue reading