Many post-merger integration best practices only apply to certain situations. However, these seven should almost always be followed:

  1. Don’t Try to Build One Common Culture

    Are we saying you should trash the popular concept of corporate culture? Not at all. It’s the word “common” that needs dumping.

    A few shared values...a couple of operating principles common to all parts of the new merged organization...a small handful of company-wide standards. That’s okay. That makes sense. That much you can get across to everybody and try to uphold or enforce during an integration.

    Beyond that, you should manage the merger toward corporate culture diversity. Toward peaceful coexistence of the many tribes—different people, working in different ways, converging on common goals...not conforming to a pervasive corporate culture.

    That’s reality-based management. You can actually pull that off successfully. And that cultural mix positions you best to beat the pants off the competition.

  2. Engineer Early Victories

    Rapid success will help offset the skepticism from the critics of the transaction. You protect the deal by developing hard proof that things are headed in the right direction.

    The most convincing evidence is financial victories. As the saying goes, "Money doesn’t talk, it screams." When the numbers stack up favorably, people pay attention. If you can show quick merger payoffs that carry dollar signs, the gripers, whiners, and other nay-sayers start losing credibility and resistance starts to soften ...

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