PODCAST: MANAGE YOUR MESSAGE WITH JIM KARRH SURVIVING & THRIVING THROUGH M&A

September 2019

Manage Your Message Cover Art for Jennifer J Fondrevay

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
  • Be as transparent as possible

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