Accompanying mergers: The TWIST study and practical experiences
Since 1990, the TWIST Consulting Group has assisted in mergers and acquisitions. The study "Leading Mergers to Success" published in 2002 has confirmed many of the assumptions we've made during our years as consultants. We would like to describe them in 3 examples.
1. Executive Coaching between the Pre Merger Phase and the Implementation /Integration Phase
Management can handle resistance about a merger with its own competence. Mainly successful for a good spirit are the criteria that our managers today lack the most: patience, empathy, and intercultural competence. Most of the Personnel managers who we have interviewed, said that these are very important measures. Coaching for the top management has been seen as very important by all experts we have interviewed. Only one third could realise this measure during the merger process in their company.
Only a few exceptional managers meet all these criteria, most require training. We support company executives in communicating the merger throughout the organization. We stress that it is important that the decision makers personally inform the departments of the impending changes. We help organize these information events, where organization leaders can answer questions put forth by the employees. During the workshops, which are facilitated by TWIST, ideas are gathered on how to further proceed.
2: Top down Integration workshops during the Implementation/ Integration Phase
Results of the Study:
The implementation of integration workshops makes the difference: they have proved to be the most important measure during a merger, and a determinant of success. (56% of the interviewees could realize them.)
The topics of such an event are mostly of practical nature (Who does what in the freshly merged organization?, How do we organize things now?, Which questions need to be clarified?, How can we shorten the decision making process? etc.). Just as important and often neglected are the psychological aspects (How do we establish a new identity?, What prejudices and rumours need to be dealt with? What hopes and expectations are our partners hedging?) etc.
An important prerequisite for success here is top-down orientation, because: Conflicts that have not been solved on the highest level will always (!) be carried down. Important therefore: The first integration workshop takes place on the highest level of decision-making. There, most conflicts can be brought up, and decisions be made about all main questions. Helpful: Members of the top management show presence during the entire Integration process, e. g. they travel to the most important events in order to answer questions.
3. Cultural differences – risk factors for pessimism and resistance in the merger process
Results of the study:
Where company cultures are seen as very different, the success of the merger has been questioned more often (highly significant!) and much more resistance was visible. Two cultural dimensions could be identified as critical for success: "different nationalities" and "different hierarchical understanding".
It is important to take into consideration the different cultural mentalities. But there is no time and room for intercultural sensitivity trainings. Our solution: During the negotiations of the specific decision-making departments two of our Trainers (for example one US American, one German) observe, and give Feedback at given times about culturally divergent behavior and expectations. This Feedback has always been taken very gratefully, since it helps to understand and appreciate the merger partner.
Please get more information about our Study Leading Mergers to Success as well as our client references in the field of Accompanying mergers under firstname.lastname@example.org.
Management Qualification in the Change Process
Our client is in the midst of a far-reaching change process. The organization is moving from the non-profit to the professional arena. In a few years' time, the company will have to face EU-wide competition. A Management consultancy accompanies the economic aspects of the restructuring effort.
Our task consists of the concomitant qualification of middle management with the following goals:
- Qualification of managers with regard to the new requirements
- Integration of middle management into the change process
- Improvement of the company-wide communication flow and the internal client-supplier relationships
The qualification issues were gauged with the help of a structured need specification. The concept thus derived consists of:
- Standard building blocks which all managers must undergo over the course of two years
- Optional building blocks that are taken according to individual needs
- Process flow elements
A senior expert or expert team carries out every seminar. These trainers may be members of the TWIST Consulting Group, cooperation partners with corresponding core competences or internal company specialists. The overall project responsibility (trainer selection and supervision, coordination, performance check, etc) is carried by our project manager.
Focus on process
The entire concept and also the individual seminar units are continuously synchronized with top management. The results of the seminars are analyzed in department or division workshops upon request. At the start of the project, the concept of collegial consulting was introduced. These collegial consulting groups receive supervision or facilitation if desired.
Having successfully completed two corporate coaching projects with the law firm Noerr Stiefenhofer Lutz in 2002/2003, we are now more convinced than ever before of the benefits and lasting effect of this instrument.
Corporate coaching (CC) is targeted and structured coaching of all (top) executives of a defined unit (corporate sector, company location, whole company).
The typical points of departure of CC are extensive processes of change, as for example the reorganization and realignment of a corporate sector, or the introduction and firm establishment of a new corporate strategy/management strategy.
The idea is to allow participants to acquire new competence and/or new attitudes in a consistent, quick, comprehensive and hence effective (!) manner top-down and firmly establish those skills/attitudes.
All senior executives receive a pre-determined number of individual coaching or training sessions (usually 3) within a period of 6 - 8 weeks. Hence, a very intense and comprehensive intervention takes place, which allows for a "leap of change."
If the costs are calculated in realistic terms, meaning that not only the primary costs (consultants' fees) are taken into account, everything works out. In comparison with conventional measures, the secondary costs (i.e. the times during which highly-paid decision-makers are absent) are reduced by the fact that …
- brief units of time are used individually and to the maximum
- time is not wasted by group dynamics (hardly helpful at this level)
- coaching near the workplace does not incur travel times
Crucial people in the organization will change their behavior simultaneously. It will take some time until the new balance of power has established itself. This change will not be entirely smooth; however, in most cases a quantum leap will take place.
The article that has been written by TWIST senior consultant Charlotte Goldstein together with Dr. Karl Rauser (Personnel Manager at NSL in Munich) can be easily mailed to you.
Other versions of this article were published:
management & training 11/2003:"
Corporate Coaching – Patchwork mit rotem Faden
JUVE Rechtsmarkt 12/2003: