Merging businesses and cultures following a series of mergers
When businesses merge they usually lose value and rarely deliver the savings that were hoped for. In many cases this is because a great deal of investment is put into the easy bit (financials and contracts) and little if any investment is put into the resources that will make the merger work (the people).
When the HR director arrived at this business, it was several businesses competing with each other. Efforts to achieve economies of scale had failed and each new acquisition continued as before. The HR director led the board decision to address the situation which had put the business at risk.
Several cultures needed to become one culture and each acquisition needed to function as an operating unit sharing common goals with the rest of the business. This required a common vision for the overall business that all the business leaders could buy into.
We worked with a team from within the business to research and develop performance criteria for the directors based on a single vision for the business. The criteria were used to inform a training event (run by the business school of a university) that brought directors up to date with their industry and their market challenges. We used the criteria to design a career review process and event in which directors took a structured look at themselves and how this fitted with the direction of the business.
In combination the two ‘events’ enabled directors to understand how they needed to work differently and to evaluate how likely it was that they could, or wanted to, make that change. Over the following year a number of directors left the business, having made well informed decisions to do so, the remaining directors developed into a unified force and the business started to turn around, making a multimillion profit within a few years.