21 Dimensions to Cultural Integration
“Every deal is different and it doesn't have to do with the industry. It has to do with the deal itself.” -Valeria Strappa
Importance of Culture
The characteristics that make a company an attractive merger or an attractive acquisition are reflected in the talent and the way they get things done. So you can actually say that the underlying reason for the deal is the culture itself. Which is why culture is everything.
Every deal is different
You can’t template cultural integration. Every deal is different and it all starts with the strategy of the deal and the incentives to deliver the business case. The spirit of the deal and the structure of the deal will also be different in every deal and they will delineate how people will behave as you start integration.
As you close the deal, it is very important to talk about the non-negotiables of the deal. There are certain things that the acquirer doesn't want to change in the acquired company because that is what will preserve the spirit of the deal. Also, there are certain things that the acquired company cannot challenge because that is the acquirer’s process, regulatory environment, product or whatever it is.
Keys to Success
The first step to success is to have that cultural assessment as part of due diligence. Many times people forget how important cultural integration is. Having a very structured approach to it really helps a lot because it also dictates the approach to integration.
Leadership interaction is key. Through leadership interactions, you can shape cultural integration. If you can capture the hearts and minds of the acquired company’s leadership, that's when you will achieve that inflection point. That is where the leadership will start influencing their own company on new behaviors.
Not a one way street
Cultural Integration is a 2-way transformation street. Both parties are going to be experiencing change, and the best thing that you can do is try and grow together. Make sure that both parties are open to learn from each other's processes and behaviors.
“Many times, the acquirer is so concerned about integrating, that it could be suffocating the assets that they acquired, and also losing the opportunity to advance together and even move your own company forward by learning from the new acquisition.” - Valeria Strappa