Merger Communication Effectiveness – Lessons from the Trenches

When top executives are asked about lessons learned following a merger, acquisition or business sale, more often than not they say they would have invested much more energy and effort in communication, even when their deals were successful. Too often we see acquisitions or mergers not achieve full potential in a timely way owing to loss of key people, customer attrition and productivity downturn.

Absent (or less than effective) communication is almost always a factor when organisations experience these troubles whilst joining forces. In addition to investment in communication excellence to drive deal success, other interdependent investments include leadership capability and organisation culture.

Immediate prerequisites for effective merger communication include clarity of purpose and strategy, a shared view of the deal rationale and clear cultural expectations. These set the context for what business leaders and employees are asked to deliver and how they are expected to deliver it.

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Put Culture on M&A Agenda from the Start


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


Senior executives and deal team members are best placed, but often under-prepared, to drive effective cultural outcomes.

Environmental cues for expected behaviour

Culture – “patterns of behavior encouraged or tolerated by people and systems over time” – is created from the messages people receive about what is valued in an organisation. And these messages come from three different channels: behaviours (what is role modeled, our actions), symbols (those small things that send a strong message, such as how a business spends time and budget), and systems and processes (anything from budgeting to performance management, measures of success, promotions and talent management).  Decisions made send a message via one or several of those three channels. Continue reading