Hard Facts About Culture
- Strategy is a product of your view of the future.
- Culture is essentially the product of your history
- That will always present a challenge in ensuring that the corporate culture is aligned with and supports your plans for tomorrow.
- VERY FEW culture characteristics wield a make-or-break influence over operating results and an organization’s future …
- Merging Requires New Culture and Behaviors
- Closing the Gap
- Work Culture Implementation Schedule
- Work Culture Team Mission Statement
- Mission of Organizational Development
- Characteristics of An OD Function
- What Are We Doing
- Quote on Culture
- One Culture
- “Should Be” Work Culture Attributes
- Thanks To You Great Foundation to Build On
Organizational Culture Checklist covers questions for:
Customers / Community
Organizations have grown far more sophisticated and skilled in their ability to execute the integration process. The one area where companies still struggle, though, is in merging disparate cultures. This is the black box of integration, the most complex problem that executives encounter in M&A.
PRITCHETT, LP surveyed 130 executives and their responses offer important clues for cracking the code on culture in M&A. Here’s what the data indicates:
- Most culture assessment efforts are too ad hoc, unstructured, sketchy, and haphazard. In fact, they may very well cause more problems than they solve. There is a clear lack of efficacy in the data-gathering process and how that information is utilized.
- Outside consultants have utterly failed at establishing credibility in this arena. Executives have apparently concluded that the purveyors of traditional culture assessment/culture ...
Several Ways to Address Cultural Issues
Four Possible Scenarios for Culture Integration
Advantages to Each Approach
Why Are Post-Merger Cultural Issues Difficult to Manage
Consequences of Culture Conflict
Culture Differences Can Cause Integration Failure
3 Important Drivers of Cultural Issues
Components of Culture Change Programs
Listed below are a number of cultural dimensions and indices that are organized across a continuum.
Step 1: Review each cultural characteristic and place an A in the column that most closely represents your perception of the Acquirer’s culture.
Step 2: Place B in the column that most closely represents the Acquired Company’s current culture.
Step 3: Calculate the absolute difference between each rating to determine the largest culture gaps ...
The integration of a small, well-run company often requires a light touch strategy. In those situations, follow these 10 rules to achieve the best results:
1. Turn off "integration autopilot"
Over time, serial acquirers develop detailed procedures and checklists for running efficient integrations. That can work very nicely, just as long as the same tactics are not blindly applied to all deals, no matter their size.
2. Don't "wing it"
A light touch integration strategy does not mean no touch. Processes always should be implemented even on little deals, to define goals and time frames, track progress, and hold people accountable …
There's an insidious threat facing organizations that is growing rapidly via M&A: A loss of alignment between corporate strategy and the existing culture.
If these two fall out of sync, you’ve got a real dilemma on your hands. But the disconnect often goes unnoticed by top management and the board of directors, even as it quietly undermines operating effectiveness. So what causes strategy and culture to fall out of alignment?
Think of it this way. Strategy is forward-oriented. It’s today’s game plan for tomorrow. Culture, on the other hand, is essentially the product of your history. One is shaped by the future, the other is forged by the past. (That’s a dramatic difference and it has huge implications.) …
Look out, because culture usually wins the war. Or to put it another way, far too often the past fouls up your future.
The cultural differences between the Acquirer and Acquired Company are identified.
- How You Described Yourself
- Cultural Traits
- Human Resources and Information Technology
- Acquired Company
- Assessment Summary
- How do people feel here about being merged/acquired?
- What would be your (or others’) major concerns about being acquired or merged?
- What are the defining characteristics of your company? (What’s distinctive? What differentiates you from other organizations in general? From the competition?)
- Describe the company’s core values. (What does it believe in?)
- What do outsiders not know/realize about this company?
- What are its idiosyncrasies? (What are the most peculiar
- What are the unwritten rules around here?
- What aspects of the culture are most important to people here? (What do they hold sacred?)
- Where in the organization do the dominant subcultures exist? • What are the company’s negative or undesirable cultural attributes? (What aspects of the culture need to change?) • What are the cultural strengths? (What aspects of the culture should be protected/ sustained?)
- Is the company getting stronger, weaker, or just holding steady? What trend lines do you see? (What do you feel?)
- What do you see as being key to the future success of this company?
- What are the biggest problems facing the company today?
- How does the organization need to change?
- Considering the culture of the acquirer/merger partner, what do you see as the most salient differences? (Where would the friction or flashpoints be?)
- In what ways do the two cultures seem to be a particularly good fit?
Mergers very often are such a destabilizing event, and have such a powerful impact, that they “break the organizational box,” so to speak. Frequently there is a window of opportunity that develops during which management can do some very profound things in terms of reshaping the corporate culture.
But if that opportunity is not seized, the window soon slams shut, or gradually slides shut, as the case may be. If time goes by and nothing much changes, people tend to settle back into their same old behaviors and reembrace the same old beliefs and values.
This says two things. First of all, management has an outstanding opportunity to do some things to a corporate system and its beliefs, priorities, and so forth, on the heels of a merger. There is a superb opening (plus a real responsibility) to come forth and lead the organization into the changes that are needed …
The “best of both worlds” strategy for integrating cultures brings traumatic destabilization to both organizations. Managers in both companies end up struggling to manage an unfamiliar situation. They can’t necessarily draw on their previous successful experience as they wrestle with subtle and not-so-subtle ramifications of cultural shifts. Besides, after all is said and done, one of the two cultures virtually always comes out on top anyhow.
We recommend a much more pragmatic, business- oriented approach ...
The biggest obstacle to successful merger integration is conflicting corporate cultures. The disturbing statistics of merger failures document the problem: Between one-half and three-fourths of the deals that are done never measure up to original expectations.
The companies find they can’t live together. Sometimes they stay together, only to fight and feel miserable because their organizational values and lifestyles are incompatible.
Sometimes they stay together, only to fight and feel miserable because their organizational values and lifestyles are incompatible ...
1. How do people feel about being merged/acquired?
The corporate perspective is different from the field’s perspective. Here at headquarters the questions are, “Is there room at the inn?” and “Will I go to Atlanta?” In the field, people are wondering if they will have to work for less money. Some are angry that it came to this. Did the CEO and the SVP just sell us out? People’s emotions run the gamut from “How could you do this?” to “What took you so long?”
It’s no shock that we merged, but people are set back on their heels that it is this acquirer...
As far as corporate culture is concerned, “change” is the dirtiest word in the dictionary.
It’s culture’s nature to believe deeply in itself, and it shows absolutely no sense of humor when people attempt to redesign it.
In Culture Matters: How Values Shape Human Progress, Harrison and Huntington discuss how difficult it is to find something that “can substitute for disaster in stimulating cultural change.”
You’re dealing with a self-righteous, heavy-handed adversary. Don’t expect it to fight fair.
Culture’s overriding priority is to protect itself. This is more than a habit—it’s buried deep within culture’s DNA.
Let’s look at how this plays out when management decides to reshape the existing cultural …
- What aspects of the way your organization operates contribute most to its success/effectiveness?
- What characteristics of the way your company operates most hamper or interfere with its ability to compete?
- List the company’s operating strengths. (What does it do best?)
- What would you identify as the company’s operating weaknesses? (Where is the company most vulnerable or least effective?) ...
1. Spending Habits: Frugal or Free Spending
Comments regarding this issue: __________________________________________
2. Decision-Making Process: Deliberate or Expeditious
Comments regarding this issue: __________________________________________
3. Power and Authority ...