So there you are, sitting at your desk, minding your business, doing your job when the news hits you – your company has been acquired. Depending on the corporate culture, the initial news may come via a rumor mill or official channels. Conversely, you may receive notification that your employer has purchased a company. Regardless of your position, there will be some level of adjustment required. Whether you a member of the acquiring group or the group being acquired, the end goal is to cultivate a productive strategic alliance that benefits and expands your customer base.
If you are part of the “being acquired” group, rest assured that, acquisitions do not necessarily mean certain death for your job or career. Change, yes; death, no. Often, if you can get past the initial turbulence, you may find new opportunities on the other side of uncertainty. With new leadership comes new ideas. The trick is to position yourself as an asset within the new corporate environment. The sooner you move from resistance to acceptance, the more energy you can put into learning about the vision of the new leadership and thus developing a new vision for yourself.
Acquisitions are intended to be successful. No company wants a poor return on their investment. Every organization wants to grow and prosper. Think of it this way: an acquisition is a recognition of the high value of your company’s product or service. However, acquisitions translate to change – something that everyone dreads to some degree. Managing change – being open and receptive to it – can make all the difference as you try to identify new opportunities. Global management consulting firm, McKinsey and Company, identified the following causes in the Five Types of Successful Acquisitions:
- Improve the target company’s performance
- Consolidate to remove excess capacity from industry
- Accelerate market access for the target’s (or buyer’s) products
- Get skills or technologies faster or at lower cost than they can be built
- Pick winners early and help them develop their businesses
In my career, I’ve been on both sides of acquisition experiences. Regardless of your role, there is a critical need to analyze every aspect of available resources. While initial evaluation and strategic discussions occur, acquisitions are a perfect opportunity to assess your individual skill set. Gaining exposure to different leaders may also help you identify new paths and directions for your career. Acquisitions provide an opportunity for a fresh start, providing ways for your to change or improve your reputation, strengthening your position.
Ideally, an acquisition involves the best of both worlds – the best people, processes and technologies. Those leading the acquisition should complete the following steps to ensure that employees (and ultimately clients) receive the best of both worlds. Here are four steps to consider in cultivating a new joint vision:
- Define the Optimal Future State – what is the specific vision for the workplace? for the marketplace? what do we want the customer or user experience to be? what do we want to be known for?
- Assess Current Operations – how is business conducted today? what impressions do the customers or users have? internally, who has ownership for specific points of the process? what are the related tasks and dependencies? which factors threaten production or delivery?
- Identify and Prioritize Gaps – what are the pain points? which issues must be addressed in working toward the optimal future state?
- Develop the Plan – what goals and timeframes are needed to bring the vision to reality?
With change comes new opportunities, when you are able to articulate your value as well as that of your department – you may find yourself with an expanded role within your new corporate culture. None of this is quick, simple, or easy – but when this type of change is managed well, it can actually serve as fuel to accelerate your career.