Silence Is Deadly, and 4 More Ways to Kill a Merger

Silence Is Deadly, and 4 More Ways to Kill a Merger

Leaders sometimes have good intentions behind their silence — they’re waiting until they have more reliable or complete information before releasing anything. But the vacuum will always get filled, often with an inaccurate or anxiety-inducing substitute for the truth.

October 24, 2014

Given that more than half of mergers fail to meet their targets (83% in one study by KPMG), there’s lots of evidence that certain conditions can be fatal to change management. Take heed if you don’t want your NewCo to end up in the morgue.

1. Silence Is Deadly.

When a merger or change management is on the horizon, the air is usually swirling with FUD (fear, uncertainty, and doubt). People are worried about how the deal will affect their employment and their work life. They’re desperate for official answers but will settle for rumour if nothing else is available.

Leaders sometimes have good intentions behind their silence — they’re waiting until they have more reliable or complete information before releasing anything. But the vacuum will always get filled, often with an inaccurate or anxiety-inducing substitute for the truth. Not a good environment for getting things done or working together.

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2. Marco... Polo!

With ever-shifting org charts, additional office locations, and faceless staff directories, employees can feel like they’re wandering around in the dark.

Struggling to find the right person leads to frustration and less incentive to try the next time they need help. Opportunities to forge new relationships are lost in the shuffle.

3. Silo City

Work continues before and after the change management, but without proper support for collaboration, staff are more likely to labour on in isolation. They won’t get the benefit of each other’s knowledge, they won’t feel the satisfaction of cooperating, and they could duplicate effort and even work against each other (whether intentionally or not).

4. Unfashionably Late

Waiting too long to address integration issues can mean that a culture of cooperation and unity never takes hold. Minor issues can escalate into major problems, and habits of suspicion and standoffishness can become entrenched.

Without early initiatives, employees can get the message that integration just isn’t a priority.

5. You’re On Your Own

If leadership doesn’t walk the talk of integration, it’s much harder to sustain that integration among the rank and file.

When executives are tight with information, competitive for resources, and model an “us vs. them” mentality, staff will be hard-pressed to demonstrate the cooperation and openness required to bring their companies together.

Set up a merger site

A well-designed merger site gives your NewCo the best chance to thrive during any type of change management. ThoughtFarmer M&A Edition provides an answer for each merger-killer:

Merger integration issue ThoughtFarmer M&A solution
Not enough communication  News, blogs, email digests. Share merger news and successes instantly, 24x7.
Rapidly changing org structure  Merged employee directory. See who's who and meet your new, merged firm.
No support for collaboration  Collaboration spaces. Create cross-company groups to share ideas and documents.
Slow integration  Shared calendars. Keep the decision drumbeat moving with shared merger calendars.
Lack of leadership  "Ask the CEO" Forum. Answer employees' questions to reduce fear and uncertainty.

ThoughtFarmer M&A Edition provides a communication and collaboration space for change management, managed by the acquiring company and shared with the target. Learn more about how ThoughtFarmer M&A Edition supports the social merger.

Have questions? Get in touch! We're always happy to hear from you.