Sunday, December 16, 2012

Murders & Acquisitions

Leading Through Transition

By Simone Jo Moore

A challenging environment, the company that inspired this story was the focus of three company acquisitions within two years, requiring a strong and flexible change management and quality improvement focus. The interest this story still generates even a decade after its original writing in the early 2000s tells me that leadership through transition is still of great concern.  Is it purely that we have a new generation of leaders in the field or that people are still struggling with the heightened emotional state these types of transitions create?

It’s a hunter and target environment that uses strong, negatively charged vocabulary. As the Chinese saying goes – ‘may you live in interesting times!’ When you see that bunch of unknown suits march through (consultants, attorneys, etc) and secret meetings being held with upper management, the impact of the message is simple, “Be afraid, be very afraid!”

We can easily get entangled in the storm of emotional drivers. They superimpose the straight legal and financial aspects.  As manager’s leaders or even as part of a team, we need to deal with this fallout. Transitions of this type are the most intense work most people will ever do. You will almost certainly work yourself and your people harder than you anticipate during this type of transition so you need to understand and know how to plan for the critical success factors.

Not paying attention to these areas can lessen your success by 50%.

  • Retaining key talent
  • Aligning leadership
  • Getting the right mix of skills and competencies
  • Communicating and managing change with employees
  • Properly estimating people-related synergies

There are many scary things that could happen to your job and during a merger, acquisition or restructure, if you are forced out of the game or find you are dragging your feet to work every day, I’d ask you “What are you planning to do about it?”  Everyone responds to change differently and will adopt change at different speeds – it’s a roller-coaster ride of emotions and emotions lead to demonstrated behaviour. Remember, you are also going through the cycle and may find yourself out-of-sync with your staff.

Fortunately, there are actions that can help mitigate the low points and reinforce the high points. Enjoy the content and make use of the resources. For the full story, lessons learned and a variety of resource references, just watch the TFT12 presentation here.  To read the original story, click here.

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