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How to Lead People in Mergers and Takeovers: Four Expert Views in the FT

by Phil Dourado July 19, 2008

If corporate culture & shared purpose are vital to engaging people as part of leadership, no wonder so much value is lost in M&As. Perhaps seventy per cent of mergers and acquisitions fail to deliver increased value. A large proportion actually lose value.

It's a massive leadership challenge: You've just taken over a large company. The people there don't know you. They may not know your purpose in 'buying' them. They may be bought into the acquired company's ethos and way of doing things, its purpose and values. That might be what gets them up in the morning. You may be about to junk all of that. They don't know either way. They never applied to work for your company in the first place, but now that's who they are working for. No wonder confusion, loss of morale, loss of energy and direction is the typical aftermath of an M&A.

Four writers in the Financial Times today give short and powerful advice on how to lead through and after an M&A. They are an HR VP, a consultant from PA Consulting Group, an academic from Cass Business School, and a PR man. Oddly, I find myself in agreement with what the PR man says. In fact, what he says makes much more sense than the academic, who just skips past the cultural (people) issues and says focus on the business instead, as if the two are unrelated. Weird.

The article is on the link below. Only takes a few minute to read. You do have to register with the FT, I think, to read it (try the link and see if you can read it without registering - they used to have an allowance of five reads in 30 days without registering, and it may still be in place). But, it only takes a minute to register and it's free.

Is tribal conflict inevitable in mergers and takeovers?