How to overcome one of the biggest challenges in post M&A integration
One of the greatest challenges that C-levels face upon having their company acquired by a multi-national or foreign company is that they no longer are the ones fully in charge, that the rules of engagement have changed. On a personal level, they often feel they’ve been downgraded and need to report to someone else. This poses some challenges to their ego and can often even go against their own DNA which played a big role in itself in bringing them to this senior position.
Often after being acquired we have witnessed a wide range of behaviours that is detrimental to the successful integration wherein senior management simply don’t make that adjustment and continue doing things and taking decisions without consulting or reporting to their newly appointed seniors. This often has a detrimental effect on the newly merged entity and includes continuing to sign off on contracts with suppliers, making binding commitments etc…
Often, the acquiring company is hesitant to confront these executives either out of fear of the knowledge they possess, perception of the other employees and a plethora of other factors that pertain to the human fabric.
In many cases, the right thing to do is identifying and gauging beforehand the willingness to adapt to new ways of doing business. If all options have been exhausted and you reach the conclusion that old habits won’t die, there is a need to fire the old guard and establish new rules and processes.
If you’ve reached the conclusion that firing is the only option, you needn’t be worried about the overall effect on company morale. It has been proven time and again that the vast employees of an acquired company are usually willing and even keen to adopt change and become part of something bigger (the merged entity). The only caveat is that change is introduced with transparency and that everyone is treated in a respectful manner. This process, when done right, goes a long way in earning trust, loyalty and corporate engagement.
Most importantly, once a company has been acquired, it’s essential to communicate the new vision to all of the new employees and get them on board and fully engaged.