How Do You Maintain Company Culture in a Merger? Four Suggestions

Situation: A US-based company is in the process of merging with a foreign company. The US company has multiple locations across the US, and there are cultural differences between these locations. The CEO has worked diligently to mitigate these differences. The foreign merger presents new challenges. How do you maintain company culture in a merger?

Advice from the CEOs:

  • Between some of the US locations, there has been a “we make money, but you spend money” perception. How did the company get past this?
    • The company adjusted metrics to demonstrate the contribution of each division to short and long-term profitability.
    • This information was communicated selectively to key opinion leaders within the company.
    • Use the lessons from this experience to plan post-merger communications and protocols that will contribute to team integration post-merger and improve the chances of merger success.
  • Focus on the common vision and interdependency of the teams. This accommodates differences in culture and encourages teams to appreciate each other’s contribution. Use the same technique during the merger.
  • Have lunch with CEOs of other companies that have been bought by foreign firms. Learn how they adapted to the new reality. Ask what worked or didn’t work. Seek specific details of solutions that were developed that could be applicable to the planned merger.
  • Become better educated on business culture in the country of the company with which you will merge. Seek experts who can give seminars to company employees on what to expect and how to work most effectively with workers and executives of the foreign company.

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