“A Culture Challenge”
“It is certain that those who survive a merger (as many lose their jobs) will have a different corporate culture to understand”, says Jacalyn Sherriton, President of Corporate Management Developers, a firm that specializes in post-merger consulting. “The accomplishments or qualities that organizations reward in their employees tend to be very telling of their culture”, Sherriton says. “Some companies reward employees who toe the line, while others reward entrepreneurship”. “Mergers can require such flexibility from employees that it’s not unlike starting a new job,” says Jim Stern, Vice President at Corporate Management Developers. “Unless you’re able to conform to the new culture of accountability, you’re not going to be successful”. .
Why do mergers go wrong? “A large but rarely discussed reason is that when business marriages are hurried into, sometimes the result is a loud clash of styles,”say corporate culture experts Jacalyn Sherriton and Jim Stern. Both agree that the most harmonious mergers avoid clashes by recognizing the importance of culture and carefully blending the distinct cultures of both companies. Their proven models for doing so have helped organizations such as Nabisco, Mobil, IBM, Bristol-Myers Squibb and George Washington University Medical Center, to name a few.
“The Latest Case of Mismatched Reach and Grasp”
“There is no concern for the human impact of mergers or for how to make the merger work,” says Jacalyn Sherriton, President of Corporate Management Developers, Inc., a post-merger consulting firm. “Newly merged organizations must create a plan to make the merger work, address potential culture clash, and involve employees in going forward.”
“Change is typically an overlap onto the existing, often antithetical, culture.” A survey conducted by Corporate Management Developers of Senior Managers at 500 corporations shows that even though more than 80 percent of them agreed that culture is important in managing organization change, they do not think their organization is currently addressing it nor has the know-how to do so. Sherriton and Stern have the framework that has successfully overcome that challenge.
“What’s Hot on Teams and Teamwork”
Not so much a step-by-step guide to making teams work as it is a critical first step. This book focuses on whether a company has the culture to support teams. Consultants Jacalyn Sherriton and James L. Stern have limited the scope of the book: it doesn’t address team setup or management. Worth a glance if you’re wondering whether your company’s culture is conducive to teams; the information in chapter 4 on making your company’s culture more team friendly is especially helpful.
Culture Shock! How to Survive a Merger
Despite their popularity with executives, corporate mergers are often accused of yielding little but a high failure rate. One common problem: employees are caught in a collision of corporate cultures. “Expect that things will change. You may end up with a new boss, new coworkers, an office in a different location, new rules and regulations, a new human resources department, different pay scales and benefits, and even an unfamiliar software system,” says Jim Stern, Vice President of Corporate Management Developers. “Some people lay low and survey the landscape. Others are quick to jump in and ask a lot of questions”, says Jacalyn Sherriton, President of Corporate Management Developers. “Just make sure you’re learning the new system”. “Some acquiring companies assign “buddies” to help employees of the acquired companies assimilate. They might offer advice on how to act or even what to wear”, Stern says. “Employees can also scout out a mentor on their own”. It’s tough, but there’s no avoiding it: Employees in companies that are acquired need to be flexible. “We’re relatively confident that no two organizations have the same values,” Stern says.
To ensure successful teams and teamwork, there are three essential levels of responsibility – the organization: to create culture to support it; the team responsibility: to establish healthy norms learning from past mistakes; the individual responsibility: to feel empowered enough to provoke the team and organization to change.
POWER LUNCH – CNBC with host Bill Griffith on “The Aftermath of Mergers/Acquisitions: Making It Work Featuring Dr. Jacalyn Sherriton