You’ve probably never heard of a guy named Robert Valentine Braddock. He’s a hit man who hangs out in Tennessee, and he has a killer reputation.
Now to be clear, Bobby Braddock’s fame is in the world of country music. His hits are songs, and they have made him a living legend on Music Row in Nashville.
Bobby is the only living songwriter who’s had at least one song reach the top of Billboard’s country chart in every decade for five decades running. He has written some thirteen #1 hits, and was inducted as the youngest living member of the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1981.
Country artist Toby Keith recorded the biggest hit of his career with a Braddock song. It’s not about mergers. But the words to the chorus should be tattooed onto the brain of executives. Maybe then they’d remember the song when talking to their employees about being acquired and merged.
Bobby’s lyrics describe precisely what employees want their boss to talk about. The words go like this:
“I wanna talk about me, wanna talk about I
Wanna talk about number one, oh my me my...”
Instead, top management is typically preoccupied with trying to sell the workforce on the wonderfulness of the deal. They talk and talk and talk. The employees may listen, but really what they’re dying to hear is how they’ll personally be affected by the merger. They want to know, “Will I still have a job? Who will I report to? What will happen to my pay and benefits?” and so on.
“I Wanna Talk About Me” was #1 on the charts for five weeks back in 2001. And no question about it—the “me issues” will be #1 in the minds of your people when they’re being acquired and merged.
That’s what you should talk about if you want to be a hit with your people.