Don't miss out
Sign up for our free newsletter to get weekly insights from the industry's leading practitioners!
October 2, 2023

Integration is not just about combining processes and systems. It is also about bridging the cultures of the companies and creating a shared identity. However, integrating two organizations can be complex, especially when it comes to managing major cultural differences. In this article, we explore key strategies for effectively balancing culture during an integration, featuring Mark Rayfield, CEO of Saint-Gobain North America, and CertainTeed.

“In M&A, the people are the greatest asset. It’s not the products, not the IP, or the locations. It’s the people’s knowledge, abilities, and what they have built as a business.” – Mark Rayfield

Managing Culture

Culture serves as the foundation of an organization, encompassing shared values, beliefs, norms, and behaviors. To increase deal success, it is imperative to manage the cultures of both companies. Here are ways to balance culture during an integration: 

  1. Understand the Target’s Culture

Ensure that the target company’s behavior and management style are aligned with the acquiring company. Understand the differences and similarities between the two companies for easier integration. 

To get a better understanding of the target’s culture, Mark relies heavily on industry knowledge, one-to-one discussions, and visiting the major sites of the company. He also looks at the safety and cleanliness of the plants as indicators of the company's culture.

  1. Respect and Learn from Each Other

The acquired employees will know the business better than any acquirer. Recognizing their value and what they bring is key to success. During an integration, there is a unique opportunity for mutual learning, so approach it with humility and a willingness to learn from one another and create a more effective combined entity.

  1. Preserve the Best of Both Worlds

An effective integration strategy acknowledges and celebrates the strengths and unique attributes of each organization. By preserving the best elements of both cultures, a new and stronger cultural fabric can emerge. 

Establish Consistent Communication

A smooth integration requires transparent and consistent communication. By keeping all stakeholders informed and involved, organizations can alleviate uncertainty and build trust. 

Do regular updates, town hall meetings, and open forums as they can help address concerns, clarify objectives, and foster a sense of unity among employees. This includes explaining decisions and standing shoulder-to-shoulder with the teams.

Integration Team

Mark emphasizes that the cornerstone of every successful integration is a highly skilled team. To optimize efficiency, they ensure the presence of a dedicated integration team for each functional area. Moreover, they appoint an integration manager who supervises all functional leaders. In the case of larger acquisitions, they assign an integration manager from both the acquiring and the acquired entities.

A good integration manager keeps the project on schedule, tracks risk registers, understands upcoming tasks and resources, and flags any gaps in resources.

Related eBook

Just a second
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.