Just imagine, after much searching, you’ve found the ideal house. It’s in the right location and offers all the facilities you need. Sure it’s looking a bit tired and could do with some investment but then again you are never short of ideas and are optimistic of how it can be improved, so you make a generous offer in the hope that the seller will agree.
Now the next job is to convince everyone in the family that the new house will live up to your expectations and will be of benefit to everyone. You expect the usual resistance, reluctance and apathy, even perhaps a few dramatic outbursts. But just imagine for a moment that you get your backing and can even convince the bank and your friends too. It’s now moving day and everything’s going just fine, but there is one big different about this move from all others: not all of the existing family are going to move out.
You’ll move in some of your family, kicking out some of the unwanted existing inhabitants to make room for them. Just imagine this. Imagine how the original inhabitants will have to put up with you walking around, what is now your house, having to listen to your comments about how bad it is and how everything needs changing and improving and how could anyone let things get this bad?
This is how it is when one business buys another. The purchased company has to spend all its time justifying why things are the way they are and the purchaser just can’t help him or herself in criticizing everything he or she sees. Along with this, the purchaser did not calculate all the hidden moving costs (unexpected extra legal bills, taxes, open claims and short term costs that the seller conveniently forgot to mention and the due diligence team failed to pick up on). When you consider all these things and the anger and frustration experienced on both sides of the deal, it really is a wonder that any acquisition works in the long term at all. I know of companies that have employees that, more than ten years after being taken over, still do not consider themselves as part of the new organization.
Some of the most challenging (read interesting) change assignments are those involving aggressive takeovers.
All the change manager needs is a client that understands the importance of creative transition strategies and powerful communication.
Here’s looking out for the next one!
Have a good week,