What Makes a Great Merger Like a Great Relationship?
This headline grabs your attention doesn’t it? How many of us have a relationship in their lives that is going south, tearing lives apart? The divorce rate in America is around 50% and the failure rate of mergers and acquisitions is also very high, around 70%. With statistics like this I thought it might be helpful to focus on what I know from experience, makes a great relationship with friends and family, and a great merger and acquisition.
A focus on values and behaviour.
Why values and behaviours? The fastest way to ruin a good relationship is to ignore the values of the other person. Step-on or ignore the values of someone and watch how quickly this will create conflict and cause them to disengage from the relationship, or leave an organization.
The fastest way to build a great relationship is to recognize and behave in a way the supports and acknowledges the values of the other person. This is true in personal one-on-one relationships and in organizations. When you have an alignment in values there is a sense of shared purpose, or togetherness, creating a feeling of belongingness, and internal cohesion. Having this sense of connectedness is the basis for developing trust in a relationship.
The #1 value I hear from leaders who are building a high performing workplace culture is the desire for greater trust among the leaders and staff. But how can you build trust if you don’t have shared values?
So wouldn’t it pay huge dividends to include a Cultural Values Assessment in the merger and acquisition process? So much time and money is spent on due diligence, checking all the financial records, however, very little time is ever spent on assessing the workplace cultures of both organizations to find out where there is alignment and misalignment of values. This process would highlight the areas of difference, raise awareness for where the potential difficulties will lie, so you can go into the merger process with more insight and better preparation.
Much like the time and effort that goes into a marriage proposal. Don’t both parties think about the values they have in common that will support the relationship in the long run? Certainly.
I think great relationships have a lot to share with CEOs who are planning a merger and acquisition. Being prepared and knowing the values and potentially limiting values and behaviours makes good business sense.
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With 30 years in business transformation working with organizations, Joanna’s passion lies in working with leaders, facilitating active participation in organizational change, developing resourceful teams and aligning strategic objectives. Her goal is to help organizations become high performing and values-driven, where people are engaged, take ownership, build commitment and bridge communication gaps. As CEO of the Culture Leadership Group, she ensures successful transformation from concept through to implementation.