When a company undergoes a major corporate transition, such as a merger or acquisition, a lot of attention to detail goes into the terms of the deal.
But how much energy goes into what happens after everyone has signed on the dotted line?
Usually, far from enough.
Understandably, the last thing upper management wants to deal with after a strenuous merger negotiation is the transition.
Yet without a post-transition plan, the waters ahead will be choppy. You may even find your company is worse off than when you started.
Corporate Transition Casualties
Sometimes the results of a transition are mild confusion. People don’t know who they’re supposed to report to, or people’s time is wasted attending redundant meetings or trainings. You’ll lose productivity, and possibly even some team members.
But a major corporate transition executed without a follow-up plan can also result in a complete disruption of your company culture.
Imagine your company is a nation going to oust a dictator from power. You’ve got a clear entry plan, you know how to take down the tyrant, and you’ve scoped out obstacles.
You have a great combat plan, but if you don’t have an exit strategy, you’ll have chaos on your hands. Instead of the brand-new democracy you envisioned, you’ll end up with conflict as new factions emerge.
It may sound overly-dramatic, but I’ve seen this happen in companies!
Following a major transition, the excellent qualities that made a company a leader in its industry might vanish overnight.
All of a sudden, the company has lost that spark that made it stand out in its field and that drew its employees to work there.
There wasn’t a plan for instilling values into new employees, or maybe the lack of communication with employees led to a lack of buy-in.
Confusion, frustration and blame are not good emotions for employees to have when you’re combining groups of people and reorganizing teams.
Acquisitions and mergers rock corporate cultures, even when you’re merging businesses within your own umbrella of companies.
Weathering the Storm
There’s a simple way to ensure that your company and its people not only survive, but thrive through a major transition. The best way to get through it with the least collateral damage is to build trust.
- Management and employees
- Teams being merged
- New departments
My Top 3 Tips for Building Trust After Transition
- Transparency. Share as much as you can. It may feel like over-sharing, but being on the journey and part of the story creates reassurance for employees. They’ll feel more excited and feel a greater sense of being on the team when they all hear the same thing. They’re more likely to “buy in” and feel invested so that they put forth their best effort and energy.
- Clear expectations. I can’t stress this one enough. Don’t leave it to the people merging in the transition to figure out what they’re supposed to do, how, and by when. Speak the truth to people’s roles, department goals, and objectives. Clear expectations are a beacon of light in what are often foggy conditions following a transition.
- Listen. Constantly check in and ask your employees lots of questions. You have to keep a pulse on what’s really going on, who’s struggling, and what questions are coming up. Things can go off the rails fast, but if you’re checking in with your teams, you’ll know what’s brewing before it reaches a boiling point.
A major corporate transition is a challenge. But if you use my 3 tips for weathering the storm by building trust, you’ll get through the rough seas and back to smooth sailing.
Create transparency, set clear expectations, and listen to what’s happening with your employees.
You know the expression “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”? It couldn’t be more true here! If you think it’s going to be challenging to add one more meeting or training to the calendar following your major transition, just imagine how much harder it will be months later, when your company culture is on the verge of collapse and the employees are at each other’s throats.
Need guidance in leading your team following a major corporate transition, such as a merger or acquisition? I’m here to help so you don’t get lost in the whirlpool. Let’s jump on the phone for a free Strategy Session so you can navigate through this challenging and exciting time.