Step 1: Diagnose how the work gets done
As early as possible in the merger process, leaders must learn about the culture of each of the companies involved.
Step 2: Set priorities
Once leaders understand the existing cultures, they can begin to set the immediate cultural priorities, which should be based on two focal points. The first is on areas where the culture can help maximize the value of the deal (such as moving to a higher-performance culture to achieve ambitious sales targets). The second is on areas where companies must manage meaningful differences in ways of working to build a single high-performing organization.
The culture match analysis has to be done at a very early stage by the acquiring company, starting even earlier than the first contact of the target company. This will be based on market and competitors available information, discrete interviews, etc.
During the acquisition process, management will have to deep dive in the cultural aspects trying to identify aligned areas as well as areas where they might complement each other or even allow them to grow stronger as a unite organisation.
Avoiding a failure due to cultural miss-match will be the consequence of having done a deep cultural due diligence.
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