Many leaders will focus on the finances and processes when acquiring a company and don’t often consider the culture. Yet the culture can actually create major problems and can even destroy a good merger. When two companies come together who each might previously have had good cultures, the result can be a toxic culture where the A players leave.
And ironically one of the reasons people buy a company is the top talent.
So when acquiring a company, having a plan for the cultures to merge is one of the most important things you must do.
This week on The Growth Whisperers we answer the question How do you integrate cultures when companies merge? Then we review the 7 most important things to consider when merging two company cultures.
How do you integrate cultures when companies merge or a company is acquired?
Episode 61 – The Growth Whisperers
The Growth Whisperers is a weekly podcast hosted by Brad Giles and Kevin Lawrence two advisors to mid-market businesses, one Australian, one Canadian, who each work with CEOs and Leadership Teams across the world with a mission to build enduring, great companies. Each weekly episode covers interesting situations and questions from the world of strategic planning, leadership development, talent and hiring in high growth entrepreneurial companies where real results matter.
How do you integrate cultures when companies merge or a company is acquired?
Brad Giles 00:13
Hi there, welcome to the growth whispers where everything that we talk about is building enduring great companies, all the tips, tricks, tactics, everything that you need to know and to understand if you’re interested in building a company that’s going to last and building a company that you want to keep. My name is Brad Giles. And as always, I’m joined today by my co host, Kevin Lawrence, Kevin, how is life in sunny Canada today?
Kevin Lawrence 00:43
It’s it is awesome. And it’s very sunny and warm, which is something we really celebrate in Canada, cuz it doesn’t happen as much as it does other parts of the world. So yeah, it’s a great yeah, great day. That’s all you know, what, it’s always a great day, you know, it’s part of the thing is, I always believe it’s a great day. So I might sound like a broken record saying that, but 99 times out of 100. It is. So yeah, things are really good and good chance to enjoy the sun. Got some good times with some friends not and family and life is good. My son had his graduation party last week, graduating high school, we had to have a quiet little party because you’re going to have 10 humans, they can’t have a normal graduation celebration, like most people get to. So that’s a that was a big deal. Last week, we got to do some fun and some fun with his friends. It was actually it was good. How are you Brad? How are things in your world?
Brad Giles 01:40
Very good. eight degrees this morning, which is quite cold for where I live. I know that in Canada, that might be a sunny day, but life is good here, a couple of COVID outbreaks again, across the country, which is nothing to be fair in relation to some other parts of the world. But the new strains of the virus are becoming more and more virulent, and escaping, they’re talking about, if you’re at the end of a hotel corridor, the room to room transmission chances much higher out and so people want to go to hotel rooms and be not at the end of the corridor. There’s lots and lots of things like that, because a lot of people are in hotel quarantine. Really. And it’s being transmitted in the hotels. Yeah. Yeah. So yeah, there’s a lot of stuff. But everything is good things are booming. And going well, as always, though, we begin with a word or phrase of the day. So Kevin, tell me about your word or phrase of the day.
Kevin Lawrence 02:44
Yeah, all mine today is seat time. And as you know, I talked about a passion for cars and racing and you know, time in the seat generally has a good correlation with making you faster in a race car or anything. But that’s not what I’m talking about today, as you’re just interesting story about Warren Buffett, who is, you know, considered to be the most successful investor in the world. Interestingly enough, because of the power of compounding, his consistent returns are very good, but not the best. The reason that his wealth is accumulated like it is, is because he started investing when he’s 10. And I believe he’s now in his 90s. So it’s, consistently getting good returns above average returns. But over an 80 year period, it turns into something magical. And it really makes me think about many of us in what we’re doing.
You know, I’ve been doing this thing. Now, I don’t like to count the numbers. But I think it’s, it’s well over 25 years of working with CEOs and executives, in scaling companies, and seat time, good seat time, good practice, good discipline, practice, becomes very, very powerful. And that’s why, you know, generally when we think about wisdom, we think of people that are, you know, over 50, rather than under 50. Not that we don’t all have wisdom. So just think about that story about Warren Buffett and basically, is that a majority of was wealth in there serious numbers came in the last 10 or 20 years after, you know, 60 or 70 years of doing it is when his real wins came in. So because he’s living the living so long and healthy, and I hope he continues for a long time. That is a huge component as well. So it’s less about his, how well he picks stocks, and just that he’s owns them for longer periods of time, because there’s other stock pickers who are investment decisions who actually have a much better track record in terms of, you know, he has an average of about roughly, you know, 20 ish percent growth year in that range. But there’s another gentleman who’s in this He’s 60%. But he’s not as old as Warren and hasn’t been investing as long. It was really interesting. So the value of compounding over time.
Brad Giles 05:09
Wow, then you, mine is nowhere near as sophisticated as yours. I don’t throw my toys out the court very often. But I happen to do that this week with a leadership team. So my word is preparation. Okay. In fact, I would say it would have been several years, several years since I’ve lost my call with a team. And but this this, this week gone I, I had a very special occasion where a team had lost money for the for their business, this quarter, or this quarterly workshop, they’d lost money. And there was two members in particular, who joined the team about a year ago, and over the past year, they hadn’t done any of their homework in preparation. And so I’m yeah, so I’m going around the room. And I’m saying, so tell us about it. Tell us about your reflections on this particular item agenda, like we would one of them was reading and another was a question. And we went around once and they said, I haven’t done it. And then we went on a second time. And they said, I haven’t done it. I haven’t done it yet. These people. For the last four quarters, were saying the same thing. They just weren’t coming prepared. And
Kevin Lawrence 06:25
I could only imagine, oh,
Brad Giles 06:29
and they are and they are not doing their job and losing money. And so yeah, so mine is preparation, my word.
Kevin Lawrence 06:40
So what does it look like when you as some, you know, throwing the toes toys out? losing it freaking out? whatever you wanna call it? So what does it look like? What does that sound like? I would love to have seen that in that room
Brad Giles 06:52
a bit, you would? Well, because we’re not their boss, an advisor or coach is not their boss. And so it, it’s about creating a credibility chasm, it’s about being careful with your words, it’s about talking about their behaviors, and not who they are. It’s about saying, you know, you’re disrespecting this environment, it’s about this is how much preparation I do to come to today. And I’ve asked you to spend 30 minutes reading and considering so that we’ve got actions and you’re disrespecting your boss, you’re disrespecting your peers, and you’re disrespecting me by not even beyond being able to do that. And, and so it’s just, it’s, it’s, it’s letting them know that they are, you know, effectively doing the wrong thing. And yeah, you know, in a calm considered notes not counting can see.
Kevin Lawrence 08:01
Well, you know, I’ve had a few of those, Brad where I, I’ve called, where I lit them up, and I’m just like, you guys, this is unacceptable. This is a serious meeting, taking serious time where the business and we are all invested in making the company better, but only works if we all come prepared. Yeah. So you need to think about if you want to be on this team, it’s an expectation that you come ready to go and stuff happens once in a while. But this is the second time. Yeah. So my request is if you don’t if you’re not willing to prepare next time, then uninvite yourself from the meeting?
Brad Giles 08:40
Kevin Lawrence 08:41
And that’s like an adult conversation. But yeah, I’ve had similar situations and like you, I’ve, I’ve thrown my toys out a number of times, and much less. So I’ve kind of managed myself better now. But in and I work with better, better teams. I work with some other teams who are in their own standing, but it’s very frustrating. And unfortunately, what you’ve touched on and what I’ve also learned is, we got to be careful not to do the CEOs job. And some CEOs aren’t comfortable with creating that kind of tension. And I’ve got I’ve learned to be careful not to do their job too much. Although at the end of the day, it is my meeting that I’m running, but it is it’s their company, but it’s a fine line. But yes, it’s you know, when you care, it’s infuriating when people show up like they don’t care.
Yeah, yeah. Good one. Well, speaking of caring today, we’re going to be digging into a topic that relates to really caring and that’s about, you know, caring for your new colleagues when you merge two companies together or you acquire a company and how do you show up with that caring in a way or you bring them in and make a stronger company going forward? So the official title Brad in make sure we get this right how How do you integrate cultures when companies merge or a company is acquired? So so the first thing we got to call out on this, and we most people know it, there is rarely a merger, rarely, I have been a part of one, at least, potentially two that were legit mergers, but in almost all cases, it’s an acquisition of a company is the more a more powerful one in the transaction acquires another one.
So we know that. But what we want to look at from the perspective is how do you take two great teams of people and bring them together? And whether it’s 1000 employees and 10 or 500 employees and 500 employees? conceptually? How do you really do the work of bringing them together because it’s often a messy, messy process. And not only is it painful for the people, but the companies end up not being very well integrated. And, and there’s still because it becomes us in them and subcultures and all kinds of really weird stuff. So we’re gonna dig into this and you know, anything, any kind of thoughts that you would kind of lead us off with here, Brad, from, from your perspective?
Brad Giles 11:19
Yeah, so I’m running a workshop last week, Thursday and Friday with a team. And one of the slides that I use when we’re talking about core values. I say that they should be between three and seven. Now, I know Kevin, your take we’ve spoken about this before is you want three core values. But let’s be fair, we both agree, if you can read
Kevin Lawrence 11:40
a five, three to five, I think if you go beyond five, you’ve exceeded the word core. Now you’re just getting into values. But that’s but we could, we don’t need to debate that just agree that I’m right. And then we can move on. Yeah,
Brad Giles 11:51
yeah, yeah. Okay. So where were we, what we are agreed on, if you’re getting eight 910, you’ve got too many. Okay, so, yeah, I’ve got this. And I show a few slides, where, where were their case studies or their examples of company’s core values to set the time. And then I show an example of how not to do it. And it’s this, this poster that’s got 22 core values on it, because it’s, it’s, it’s outrageous. It’s a joke, like, no one would remember what half of those core values are, let alone how to behave. And so I use that as an extreme example, so that I’m in this workshop on Thursday. And I show it to this leadership team. And then there’s one lady, she says, Oh, my God, I was in that team when we built those. I know, I’m, like recoiled a little bit. It’s been an interesting week, let’s be fair between that. And then the toys.
But I recoiled a little bit. And I was like, Okay, tell me about that. And she said, it was the biggest nightmare ever, because we started off with good core values, and we were strong. And then we acquired a company. And then they, the executives thought it was a good idea to merge the value. So we brought on some of their values. And then we acquired another company, because they were an acquisition mode, and then we merge some of their values. And she said, we did that. And it was a nightmare. And we lost, the culture was terrible. And we lost so many good people from our company, and the acquired companies, because the culture became so terrible.
Kevin Lawrence 13:30
Yeah. And that’s people who didn’t under they were doing the best they could, but they did not understand culture, and really what core values are meant to be and do? Yeah, it’s incredibly important. I’ve seen all kinds of crazy, crazy things when it comes to By the way, I had a similar scenario, where I had a slide of what not to do, and someone else had been there. And I’m trying to remember which one it was. And that’s, you know, very careful of showing too many examples, too many bad examples, but I had a similar one, it’ll come back to me which one it was. So, you know, one of the points that we start off with, we’re going to bring companies together. And look at those companies where you just basically buy the assets. And you know, and you know, your 1200 employees, you buy the assets and three employees come over.
We want to treat those people with respect, but that’s a little bit different. We’re really when there’s a notable scale of company that’s coming in, no matter how it’s going to work. But the main thing is, you gotta have a plan. This is not a project for the accounting team. This is not a project for the sales team. This is a company-wide thing to really maximize it and make it work well. And so you need like a 12, whether it’s a 12 day plan or a 12 month or 24 month one, you need a plan, because there’s a number of steps and it takes time. In many ways. It’s just like onboarding an employee, but you’re onboarding a whole batch of people that come with existing systems and existing Culture So, and with that plan, remember that you’re trying to really get the hearts and minds aligned. And then the systems are, that’s just work.
But getting the hearts and minds aligned is where the value is. Because then you have them with you, instead of thinking you’re, you know, bad people or foolish or whatever it happens to be. So, you know, a really real detailed plan. And ideally, the team that is leading this, this would be the acquiring company, that team as part of getting the acquisition done works on this plan. Ideally, they have a good rough draft of it, that they run by the company that’s being acquired, or the partner that they’re merging with, and involve those people in the thought process on how to make it most effective. That’s just, you know, early, early stages of getting buy in from those people, rather than forcing it down their throat.
Brad Giles 15:56
And isn’t that what you’d want to hear if you were part of the acquired company, if you were the one that was being purchased, you’d want to hear, okay, the culture won’t be the same. We it can’t be, but we’re gonna work very hard to make sure that we can make this thing work, it will give you a real sense of optimism, that would be preceded by a sense of vulnerability, what’s going to happen, you’re still gonna have a job? Is it going to be a horrible place? Yes, I’ve had, I’ve heard bad things about that company that’s buying us have had their terrible company, especially if
Kevin Lawrence 16:27
they’re a competitor. Yeah. Right, you’re one of them could be easily perceived as a monster. And, and there will be stories about executives on one side or the other. And you know what, because when you got a competitor, your job is not to love them up. Your job is to go against them. So there’s, there’s all kinds of things. And again, there’s still going to be anxieties. But really to have a thoughtful plan, thinking about getting those hearts and minds engaged, before you get into the process stuff.
Brad Giles 16:57
And when I’ve been involved in these deals, as a coach advisor for the leadership team, we’ve spent, you know, in the preceding two quarters, we’ve spent full days working on the culture aspect, how are we going to effectively bring these two cultures together. And at the outset, I tell you, the teams hadn’t done any thinking about it at all. And by the end of those two days, they were like, this is an enormous job. And we’ve got to get it right, it’s so important, because we could lose many people on both sides of the equation.
Kevin Lawrence 17:31
Correct. You could lose many people. But worse, you could miss out on massive opportunities, because you’re just thinking of it from a tactical point of view, which takes us into our next point is he got to have the humility to look for greatness on the other side. And you’re probably I think, at this point, a boat 50 mergers or acquisitions I’ve been involved in through my clients like a lot, and I wasn’t hands, it wasn’t deep, deep, and all of those, but they’ve been a bit a part of them. And, and one of the things that we found the most valuable is, is the more dominant company often assumes they’ve got it all sorted. And then they want to just convert the new company to their platform, we set up an expectation was, well, we got to start, okay, we got to go mining the gold under this other company and bring things together.
Because this company has been around for a long time as well, it makes lots of money as well, there’s got to be some good things there. And, and, for example, in one of the companies that we acquired, and it was an outstanding company, but they had an amazing learning culture and learning and development system that they had built. Yeah. So instead of assuming that we’re better, and we’re bigger, and we’re smarter, and blah, blah, blah, you know, we were hunting for it, and someone found this gem and what they did, and we found ways to integrate it into the overall company. But it’s but it’s more of a mindset than anything of just truly looking for the good so we can maximize it. And that only lasts for a few months. Yeah, but that is a critical step and starting off in the right direction.
Brad Giles 19:09
Yeah, I, what comes to mind when you mentioned that there was a person I know, their company was acquired by a much, much bigger organization. And they had that humility is so important, because they looked in and figured out that the management system, the way that they were running, their management system was so effective that they said we want you to come and implement that into four or five of our other companies. And we want you to run that process. So yeah, it’s it that humility is step number two or our second point for a good reason because it’s very easy to just say, okay, so that means that we’re going to need another three workstations in the sales team or another 30 workstation young sales area, but it’s so much More than that,
Kevin Lawrence 20:01
and you’re just not respecting the other people, like at the root of it, you know, you need to honor and respect to what they’ve done. Now, you might fully let go of all the systems and processes they have, that might be the final decision, maybe. But you got to start with respect and to get you on the right page, which takes us into the second piece is, you know, and you know, we were talking about this before we both the dilemma is you’re really got to know the talent, ideally, before the deal closes. So, you know, as part of due diligence, in many cases we do and people go and meet the people and figure out who’s who in the zoo. In an ideal scenario, we go and do full on top grading interviews, and really understand who the top players on so we did one, and I, US company where we were number one, we acquired number two funny thing.
After the acquisition, you know, we’re talking to the executives. And they’re like, oh, we’re so glad you bought us. Yeah, cuz we were destroying them in the market. Yeah, at the same time, the companies hated each other. So we had a lot of work to do. But so what we did after getting each, each of the key leaders talk graded, we knew who the A players were. And we assigned key people to work with those people build relationship with those people stay close to those people. So we kept them at any cost. And the other ones that weren’t as key were, you know, we still worked on it. But there was the at any cost list. Yeah, metaphorically, because we knew we knew who those key people were, interestingly, there was a very senior person that you would have expected was key, talked and acted like they were key. And they weren’t on the list.
Brad Giles 21:51
Yeah. Yeah. And there isn’t as much of a surprise there, because you did the work, because you did the preparation, going back to the earlier word, right? Because, yes, you know, you had the plan, and that preparation, understanding the talent, you know, I saw an article probably three weeks ago, and it was an analysis of the companies that Apple has acquired. Okay. And what they’re doing is they’re actually the only thing that they are acquiring is talent. Okay, I’ve heard about this. Yeah, they are not worried by
Kevin Lawrence 22:36
the company, keep the people in check the business.
Brad Giles 22:39
Yeah, they don’t care about the business, what they do is they look and they say, in this specific technical niche, we are very, very weak. And then they look and they go, who can we acquire, and they don’t care about your revenue, they don’t care about your patents, none of that, what they mostly all they care about is, and so therefore they do the valuation based on the quality of the talent. Okay, now, you’re not apple. They’re not apple. So the listener isn’t apple. But the point is that the talent is one of the really important things that you are acquiring. So you’ve got to know Yes. And you got to be prepared to make the hard calls about talent, if they’re not going to make it in your organization.
Kevin Lawrence 23:25
Yeah, and do the right things to protect those ones who are critical. And again, you don’t know who they are until you really dig deep. So, so So really, understanding what the talent so the third one, and this is one, I’ve seen some amazing, simple ideas over the years that didn’t, they’re so obvious, but not common. And that’s really aligning the relationships between the leaders and the managers in the frontlines. And, and the simplest, best tip that you are foolish, if you don’t do it, is that it’s called the buddy system. Just like when you were in like, you know, kindergarten grade one, you know, used to be that you have when you go out for recess, everyone would hold hands with somebody else. Now, they probably don’t hold hands, that’s probably not cool anymore. But you would have that person that buddy system, you know, as I remember, as as as, you know, as young adults going out carousing to the bar, we would always use the buddy system to
Brad Giles 24:23
and you would try to find someone to hold hands with
Kevin Lawrence 24:27
you in a different way. Yeah. So, so, so So, but it’s basically, our CFO and their CFO have a weekly meeting, where they talk and connect, and you’re basically starting to build bridges or connections between people. Our head of sales and their head of sales are a person in charge of Latin America sales and their person in charge of Latin American sales. Our Comptroller and their controller, our CEO and their CFO, our safety officer and their safety Officer like all of these people, building bridges and relationships, both with the intent to, you know, mind the goodness and look for the brilliance on the other side. But having a set weekly meetings so that they can be connected, because instead of when something goes wrong going and you know, complaining of the command chain of command to how these people are idiots, they’ve got a direct connection to say, Hey, can you give me a hand with this. And so basically, it’s like, you take the whole organization and you lock up, almost everyone gets a buddy, or most of the key people get a buddy. And it’s magical, because it accelerates the learning curve, it accelerates the, the culture and help people get in sync with the culture. And it just solves a lot of problems.
Brad Giles 25:46
And that’s a really important point. And the question to that is, who’s responsible for merging the culture and everyone really has a role to play, and very specifically, line managers or want to call out line managers have a role to play, and need to have priorities that need to be executed in a merger around culture? So it’s very easy for line managers to say, yeah, we’ve acquired this company. And yeah, I’ve got this other team. But you know what, I got all this other stuff to do, you don’t understand. I’m too busy. I don’t have time for this culture stuff. And it, you know, everyone has to have a role to play. If you’re managing people, it’s not just the CEO or the senior people. Yeah.
Kevin Lawrence 26:42
Awesome. So basically, how do you find this other ways to align relationships, you could have the accounting team me with the whole accounting team and have a brainstorm about a process or a policy or whatever the heck it is, like there’s, there’s meetings, but the basic of the one to one with the key people, it really, really, and then also, then people don’t feel lost in the system. It really helps. So the next one is aligning the core values. And, you know, Brad’s example, up front, I love it. You know, they brought eight companies together, they kept all of their values and mashed it into one massive list. It wasn’t eight, but it looks like it was eight. And that’s just wrong. Because, you know, truly core values, as Brad agreed shouldn’t be like three to five on a list. Right? Not Not Not 23.
I know, Brad thinks it can go up to seven, which is okay, we’re allowed to have different views. But whatever it is, it’s a handful. And keeping it simple. And, and so we’ve seen a few different things. in an environment where it’s a pure merger, or a pure reset, which is less common, we’ve started to clean slate. So we brought two companies, probably eight years ago, two companies together that were both bought by private equity. And they wanted to literally merge them as a platform to build on, which we did. We did a ton of acquisitions after that. But we started with a clean slate, new purpose, new B hag new core values, everything was fresh. And so we started from that, and we did a brilliant job. And but that is rare. But that is one way to do it. The other one and maybe Brad, you want to talk about this one, as is where you kind of onboard people on to the existing values of the more dominant organization. You want to talk about that one?
Brad Giles 28:40
Yeah. I think that there’s no such thing as a merger. Okay. I think that may be in What 0.1%? There might be right, but it’s almost always an acquisition, there is almost one person who is doing the deal, there is money that is flowing one way or you know, assets that are flowing one way. And there is one person who will be the CEO at the end of that deal. And so if that is true that it’s all about acquisitions, then the job to be done is to say, what is the dynamics? How are we going to make this work? What does the leadership team look like afterwards? And how do we bring the values to a place whether or not they change is not even the question get to a place where we can unite this culture. And if the people who were leading the organization primarily, it connects with their beliefs that are bone deep, the beliefs that they their deeply held beliefs, because if the leadership team is essentially staying the same at the end, the core values are probably unlikely to change. If the leadership, if the leadership team is a mash up of two organizations, you may need to rediscover the group’s qualities,
Kevin Lawrence 30:15
great filter bread, if the leadership is intact, odds are you will onboard them to your core values in a way through a process and discussion of helping them to find the alignment. But if your executive team is changing dramatically with the with this other team, you might reset it. Or you might reset it or give a notable edit revision to it if the executive team is changing, notably, great, great way to look at it. But let
Brad Giles 30:43
me be clear, in my humble opinion, the worst thing you can do is give the two sets of core values to marketing and ask them to solve the problem.
Kevin Lawrence 30:53
I would throw my toys out, I would yell, First of all, I never let marketing touch this stuff. Marketing, I come from marketing. So I can say marketing does not touch it until the very end when they’re locked up. Because marketing puts persuasion language and customer language on a core values. Aren’t there our heart and soul? So yeah, you don’t do that. For sure. And just to mash them together. It’s in it. For us core values are a strategic tool. It is the list by which we fire and hire people. If you have them, you get to stay. If you violate the core values consistently, you must exit the building.
Brad Giles 31:33
So don’t worry about the other worst thing that you can do is say, Well, here’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to do a survey of everybody in all companies and then get a popularity contest.
Brad Giles 31:44
Yeah. And let’s try to figure out exactly
Kevin Lawrence 31:47
that’s called a lack of leadership.
Brad Giles 31:49
Yeah. So don’t do that.
Kevin Lawrence 31:53
Now you might get some bad entertainment. If you’re getting mad. We’re getting into time. Yeah, exactly. Oh, my God, I do you know, I have to be careful getting mad. And I recently as a side note, I got mad at a CEO in a meeting in a way that probably exceeded appropriateness. Actually, no, it did. And I end up I have to clean up after
Brad Giles 32:21
apologize because we bring passion, and we need to be respectful and do the right thing. But, you know, the passion comes with a few other things. So let’s move on.
Kevin Lawrence 32:29
It does, okay. So a lot of values, and you need to consciously onboard people to them or redo them, but you don’t just make a bigger list. Go ahead, Brad.
Brad Giles 32:40
So next one is aligning the strategy and execution. So what we need is one plan, the old phrase, okay, we need everybody on the same page. So if we’ve talked, just talked about the values, okay? And to a degree, perhaps the purpose, okay? Are we rediscovering are we onboarding, then we move on to, we’ve got to align the strategy and execution. So we need one single Simple Plan that can unite the whole organization. Now, maybe there are different industries, maybe they’re in different areas, but there are still some common elements that we can work on. So one single, so everyone is going in the same direction.
Kevin Lawrence 33:23
Yeah, so that would mean if you look at the longer term strategy, that this new company, if it’s, if it’s a merger, it’s all part of one, right, or a pure acquisition, where they’re folded. Sometimes you acquire companies, and they still operate somewhat autonomously or independently. But it’s clear how they fit into the flywheel or fit into the strategy. Like they see their part in the strategy, which is critical. So the alignment might just come in the long term strategic piece, but they’re aligned, or they might be fully aligned all the way through the tactical level. And the key piece, and when we’ve done, you know, sometimes with some larger acquisitions, you know, they will run a ton of ously for a while, independent fairly independently for a while.
But what we do is we get them on our Australia’s strat planning framework, we get them taking all of their thinking, and they get their own one page strategic plan, we make sure that they have their own quarterly goals. And we get them, even though they’re doing a lot of stuff on their own. We get them using our strategic planning ecosystem, get them on board with the language and the approach. And then sometimes, that’s for ones that we don’t blend in right away that, you know, but they’re there. They’re aligned through the least the strategic thinking and always tied into the flywheel and the B hag point is, is get them working. So they’re, they’re more in sync with
Brad Giles 34:42
you. And so then once we’ve got the values and the strategy and the execution line, we’ve got to think about the processes and sometimes this is where we’ve got to fall back to the humility comment before like, we’ve got to be humbled it they might have a better sales process than us or a bit of finance process than us So with a humble mindset going in and understanding what is the best practice amongst the two, which one is going to serve our needs better, and then aligning and merging the two, were appropriately making sure that we have one single process for this, that everyone knows how to use.
Kevin Lawrence 35:20
Correct. And note, for those of you that are listening today, this is the number seven item on our list. For most people, it’s the only one. And that’s why there’s such a challenge with integrating acquisitions. And it creates way more friction than it needs to is because we again, this is, this is the tactical process. And we spent all the center energy on the hearts and the minds in the strategy, then we get to this where a lot of people, okay, well look at the accounting teams together, and we’ll line them up and get them on or eirp. It’s like, well, that’s not that that doesn’t work. Or you miss massive opportunities, let’s say, and you create way more friction than you need to. So yes, at some point, you align them. Alright, finally, number seven, celebrate, evaluate and realize, Hey, this is new, you got to find ways to celebrate all the stuff that’s working, right. And really, this is great, and acknowledgement of true things that are good, and evaluate the stuff that’s not working so you can tweak it, and then continually re align people, bring them together, have brainstorming, does have planning meetings, whatever it happens to be for those key leaders to continually getting aligned to what matters most.
Brad Giles 36:37
And one of the things there is core values awards can be something that I certainly use what a lot of companies core values awards, are whether or not you’ve rediscovered or you’re reusing. If some of those awards can go to the new company, it can be quite beneficial or the acquired company, it can be quite beneficial. And then also call those stories around that celebrate evaluate realigned concept. What are the cool those stories getting those things out there?
Kevin Lawrence 37:11
Absolutely. So in summary, the idea here is that when you’re going to bring companies together, acquisition, or more appropriately, or sometimes merger, is you got to align the hearts and minds to start with, and then kind of get the strategy piece and then get down to the processes in the end. And it’s not just about aligning processes, because there’s people involved and we’ve talked about, you know, 12 day or 12 month plan, humility to look for greatness on the other side, get to know that talent, even before you finalize the papers, you know, aligning the values in one way or the other aligning the strategy and execution systems, and then the processes and then finally, celebrate, evaluate and keep optimizing it and dilute it. Awesome. That’s a pretty good discussion. That’s a great bet. If people do that all the time on acquisitions, it would make people’s lives a heck of a lot easier.
Brad Giles 38:06
Well, as Peter Drucker said, culture eats strategy for breakfast. And, you know, when acquiring we are going to end up being one big company, so we need to ensure that the culture is right. What a good chat. All right, well, thank you for listening, everyone. This has been the growth whispers podcast. I’m Brad Giles and you can find me at evolution partners.com.au and Kevin Lawrence you can find at Lawrenceandco.com. Of course, you can always find us as well on YouTube, if you search the growth whispers thanks very much. I hope you’ve enjoyed the episode today about company mergers and culture. Look forward to chatting to you again next week. Have a great week.
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