Look around or you might miss it.
A few weeks ago, I experienced the incredible U2 concert at the Las Vegas Sphere, a 360° theater. Despite the mesmerizing music and visuals, I couldn’t help but notice the sea of screens held by fellow concertgoers, capturing only fragments of the larger spectacle.
Why discuss this in a 2GO Advisory Group blog? Because much like concertgoers missing the big picture, business leaders, particularly after mergers, may have a narrow focus on specific issues or departments, overlooking broader organizational dynamics.
Estimates show that 70-90% of mergers and acquisitions fail (source: HBR, March 16, 2020). Here are five seemingly minor operational issues I have found cause inefficiencies:
- Access Issues:
Ensure employees know how to access essential tools such as internal servers and shared drives, to prevent security risks and wasted time.
Have you ever shown up at a new job and couldn’t figure out how to print or know where to save your files? Have you ever been told to find something “on the server” and didn’t know what server that is? This is one of the simplest problems new hires or new business configurations face, but it can have far-reaching effects
- Communication Systems:
Establish shared communication rules to avoid confusion and inefficiencies arising from multiple tools.
I worked at a company where my boss was on a different calendar system than I was. Each time I needed to set a meeting with him, instead of looking at the enterprise MS Outlook system the rest of the company used, I needed to call his assistant to check his calendar. At the time of the acquisition, both companies kept their legacy email addresses and calendars, leading to wasted time, general frustration, and widespread head banging against the wall!
- Version Controls:
Maintain open and accessible systems for sharing product information to facilitate onboarding and efficiency.
How do your sales leads access product information? Are there seasonal reviews, shared servers, or monthly meetings? Does everyone on a newly created team have the latest information and understand where changes are kept? The physical binders, online systems and/or communication lines need to be open and accessible. Often, the experienced sales people will hold a lot of this information in their heads, making it difficult (and inefficient) for new people to get up to speed. Be certain that pricing, deductions and sales requirements are known by everyone who needs this information.
- Meeting Practices:
Document and communicate meeting norms, ensuring inclusivity and clarity in the new organizational culture.
Lack of explicitness on meeting culture and expectations leads to unproductive sessions. Do meetings start with an agenda or small talk? In the Zoom world, are we a “video camera” culture or not? Is the meeting designed for reporting or to solve a problem? Document the processes from both sides of a merger or management change and communicate forward-looking plans to help everyone focus on their expectations.
- Presentation Style:
Standardize presentation formats to convey information effectively and prevent misunderstandings.
I had a new boss who sat the team down to present his expectations for financial presentations. 10 point Arial font, italics around units, 5 bullets per page, etc… Yes, it all felt like minutia. Yet, in retrospect, the information was important enough to ensure that format wasn’t undermining the message. I have friends at Amazon, and there the rules for meetings are very strict. Even if your processes aren’t binding rules of engagement, be certain all members of the organization know what’s expected.
Effectively using employees prevents frustration and burnout. Consider reassigning internal teams or hiring a 3rd party consultant that can focus on the organization, while employees can focus on doing their jobs. 2GO Advisory Group offers 360 degree assessments, recommendations, and implementation plans for successful integrations and transformation, helping organizations realize their vision by detecting and overcoming challenges.
Lauren Zaslansky Conner, a seasoned professional with more than 25 years in consumer products and services, specializes in strategy, transformation, and operations. Her expertise supports organizations in evaluating internal workings, developing strategic priorities, and implementing cross-functional plans for success.
If you are interested in support for your integration or other management efforts, contact Lauren at lauren@2GOAdvisoryGroup.com