Why are top executives so prone to screw up in announcing mergers to their people?
You see it all the time—a top-ranking officer takes the microphone to announce a deal, smiles confidently, then pushes the cheerleader needle into the red zone with comments restricted to good news, over-promotion, and merger “happy talk.”
Does it sell? NOT USUALLY.
Executives should legitimately put a positive spin on the merger story. Leaders need to be upbeat … they should seek to reassure the work force. But way too often these initial comments are so one-sided that they mainly trigger cynicism and damage management’s credibility.
If you’re announcing a merger, don’t forget that you’re dealing with adults. They prefer truth over dubious promises. They’re irked by an unrealistic positive slant. You’ll be talking into a headwind of skepticism, and a Pollyanna pitch is just going to stoke the fires of employee distrust.
Here’s the 4-step sequence that works best ...