Situation: A company acquired an office in a new geography at no cost – just a commitment to keep the office going. The immediate challenge is transferring the previous owner’s client base to the new owner’s service. The people in the distant location are OK, but it will take coaching for them to deliver the new owner’s level of service. However, these people are proud and resistant to change. How do you eliminate a them-us cultural divide?
Advice from the CEOs:
- Involve the person who facilitated the acquisition in the integration process. Get his opinion of what is needed.
- Your prime commitment is to the client base and past practices that built the client base. Maintain or surpass this level of service. As long as the team meets this level of performance, they are serving your objectives.
- You and the key manager of the newly acquired office should meet with their most important clients. Help the manager convert those clients for you.
- Your other implied commitment is to the manager and employees that you inherited through this deal. Educate them on your approach – “we will do all that we can to create success for our clients.” Connect with the manager, understand how this person serves clients, and coach the individual.
- Be fair – the fairest method of managing is a meritocracy.
- Manage by results, not process – if the core values between the two sites are similar, allow for cultural differences in local practice.
- If all this doesn’t work and you want for “them” to become “us” you will have to have someone from the home office move to the distant office and manage it.