M&A Pitfalls: Cultural differences are minimal!

Getting a grasp on corporate culture is difficult, but ignoring culture can destroy value.

A common mistake in post-merger integration is the underestimation of cultural differences between the acquirer and the acquiree. If employees cannot identify with the new organization, and a “It doesn‘t work like this here!”-mentality is spreading, the risks of customer neglect and ultimately business failure are increasing.

Triggers may be the abolishment of dear symbols and brands, or the change of policy, rituals or processes without proper communication. And we all know: People get really mad if you take their perks away.

Prevention strategies include:

  • Identify important cultural building blocks.
  • Describe the future state and develop a transition path.
  • Leadership communication of vision and purpose is mandatory.
  • Walk the talk !
  • Read early signals. Pull in lower and middle management.
  • Be patient! Cultural change does not come overnight.