MANAGE YOUR MESSAGE WITH JIM KARRH SURVIVING & THRIVING THROUGH M&A
The wrong internal message–especially “marketing jargon”–can derail the success of an acquisition. Messaging has a particularly important role in the effectiveness (or lack thereof) in a merger. Leaders need to know how to communicate the deal internally as well as externally, so that the integration is set up for success.
Jennifer speaks with Jim Karrh about the three forms of “us-versus-them” thinking:
Our company vs. their company
Senior leadership vs. front-line managers
Those who stay vs. those who go (“Everyone thinks the other side got the better deal”)
While the typical pattern is to focus on the financials of a deal and work on the people aspects later, Jennifer says it’s far more effective to consider the human capital involved from the very beginning. She says, “Day 1 of any deal is the moment you first start thinking about M&A as a growth strategy.” Business owners, from that point, approach their decisions differently.
Messaging has a particularly important role in the effectiveness (or lack thereof) in a merger. Leaders need to know how to communicate the deal internally as well as externally, so that the integration is set up for success.
Three of the most important pieces of advice are:
Recognize that your internal audiences will likely have a negative view from the outset
Avoid clichés (e.g. “nothing is changing,” “this is a merger of equals,” “we expect minimum reductions in staff”) which only serve to elevate skepticism even more
Jennifer joined Dave Bookbinder on his podcast, Behind The Numbers, where they discussed why more than 75% of M&A transactions don’t actually produce their planned synergies and how to make M&A more successful.
Christina Martini and Jennifer Fondrevay discuss how Jennifer transitioned from advertising to marketing and her experience with being part of leadership teams through a series of mergers and acquisitions and the human capital issues that arise during significant inflection points in an organization.
In this episode, Christina Martini and Jennifer Fondrevay discuss:
The importance of human capital challenges and considerations in today’s business world.
The characters you may see during a post-deal landscape.
Talking about the people from the due diligence phase, not late in the deal.
Seeing the opportunity in change.
Be open minded, have contingency plans, and be nimble in your interactions during inflection points.
M&A transactions are an emotional process for everyone.
Bring on a human capital advisor – someone who can advise as to the people challenges you are going to face during an M&A transaction.
Know what you’re good at, how it contributes to the new vision, and make sure people know that.
“When you are operating from a position of fear, people act differently.” — Jennifer Fondrevay
FEAR NOT: HOW TO MANAGE BIG CHANGES WITH TOM STEWART
Jennifer Fondrevay talks with Tom Stewart, executive director of the National Center for the Middle Market at the Ohio State University Fisher College of Business, about company culture, and in particular, about what happens to the feeling of a place after a merger or acquisition. That’s often a bad news story. But it doesn’t have to be.
M&A IS MESSY: THE IMPACT OF COMPANY CULTURE PRE AND POST SALE WITH RYAN TANSOM
Jennifer talks with Ryan about her experiences with M&A and how she has met a need that many businesses don’t think about until after the fact. That need, of course, is keeping your employees and more importantly middle managers in the loop about their future with your company once it is sold.
You Will Learn About:
Jennifer’s background in advertising and marketing.
How she got into M&A.
Who her book is for and why she launched Day One Ready.
Why M&A is important to a business.
Why incorrect valuation is the main reason businesses fail the first year after a merger.
The culture clashes that happen after a sale.
Painting a clear picture of a company’s future is critical.
How Jennifer provides transparency to the M&A process.
The types of leaders you need to include in this process.
Emphasizing how the employee fits into the new system.
The stats of failure for an M&A business during the first year.
The steps to considering people first.
The importance of respect.
Jennifer’s parting advice.
The fact is your company will change after a merger. You need to ask the right questions and include the right people in your company to create a uniform and clear representation of how the business will change for the employees just looking for marching orders. If you show respect to your employees it will go a long way.
Jennifer Fondrevay, talks with Mark Potter, Publisher of Canvas Magazine, about the human side of mergers and acquisitions, and how to best manage the overall employee experience through the changes that inevitably occur.
Understand The Human Side of Mergers & Acquisitions
Leaders throw the term around like we’re high financiers – “M&A.” The reality is that mergers and acquisitions aren’t only about the numbers. There is a human impact, and too often that isn’t taken into consideration or it is not given the consideration that is due. You think nothing is going to change? Think again. It already has the moment M&A is mentioned, and your people know it. More mergers fail than succeed, and the ill-considered impact on employees is a big reason. The only thing we have in business is trust and credibility. If you give those up during the current M&A project, you’ve given up everything. Don’t undermine the trust you’ve built in the team. Understand the human impact of mergers and acquisitions.
Jennifer Fondrevay spoke with MMG Editor Kathryn Mulligan about her research into why so many mergers and acquisitions fail, and how acquirers and investors can address workforce considerations earlier in the M&A process.
She discussed the “us v. them” dynamic that can emerge in the wake of a transaction, the common mistake of trying to hold on to key executives while neglecting other employees, and practical steps investors and acquirers can take to address common causes of M&A failure.