The problem: Two companies merged. At first, both companies were in favor of the acquisition because they viewed the alliance as a chance to leverage the strong points of both. Yet once the deal was completed, several factors caused the acquiring company to essentially carry on with its existing model of business. As a result, individuals in the acquired organization felt they had been promised one thing and given another. Their morale dropped, they became resentful, and some hostilities developed. Their subsequent resistance to change slowed the forward movement of integration and implementation of the merger.
The solution: We were asked to help members of the senior transition team of both organizations by assessing where each member was, cognitively and emotionally, in relation to the merger. By discussing with them how the changes affected them, we planned to help them discover the opportunities that existed for them within the new organization, so they could regain job satisfaction and achieve a certain level of personal growth.
Implementation and process: We conducted personal interviews with each member of the senior transition team of each company. Through these interviews, plus teaming sessions, we determined the degree of similarity and differences in ideas, opinions, and points of view between the companies. We also discussed what had gone well and what had not gone as expected.
When we summarized the results of the interviews, we found that individuals from both organizations had similar goals, and had experienced similar ups and downs during the process. The real differences occurred not in ideas about “where are we headed?” but in ideas about “how should we get things done?”
Results: Individuals were able to see that both organizations, not just the acquired company, initially experienced difficulties with the timing and magnitude of the transition. The outcome was a renewed sense of energy, commitment, and individual contribution among the management team of the acquired company, rather than the “I’m stuck here” attitude that had existed previously. Once their job satisfaction improved, they were also better able to lead their staff through the transition.