The actual results of mergers and acquisitions don’t always live up to expectations.
M&A growth strategies promise a multitude of strategic opportunities; from rapid growth, to elimination of competition, to access to new markets. And many organizations are currently, or have, embarked on merger and acquisition growth strategies to varying effect.
When asked about the primary causes of these mixed results, most leaders cite a misalignment between the two organizations’ cultures. This friction can wreak havoc as the members of different groups assimilate to drive the performance gains that M&A strategies forecast.
“Earlier this year, an employee wanted to send a customer a T-shirt with our logo as a gift. There was nothing special about this particular shirt. It was an ordinary, 100% cotton crew neck. But by the time this employee got approval—factoring in his own time and everyone else’s up the org chart who had to weigh in before signing off on the request—the cost of this t-shirt had ballooned to at least $200.”
Many organizations today are trying to hedge against inflated processes like these by changing their organizational structures. Hootsuite, for example, appointed a “Czar of Bad Systems” to help improve internal processes.
In today’s rapidly-evolving business environment, growing organizations need to remain fast and efficient. And some large, geographically dispersed and complex organizations seem to be able to maintain a level of agility despite their size.
Being intentional about your company’s core values from day one can help to build a solid foundation to guide behavior as your organization grows; few leaders understand this as well as Zappos’ Tony Hsieh.
Zappos has long been an example of the power that company culture has on behavior and business performance. But what’s behind the curtain? What is the team at Zappos doing, specifically, that is driving their admirable levels of employee engagement and retention? 2016 was Zappos’ lowest turnover rate since its founding more than 18 years ago — and I wanted to know the how and the why.
To find out, I asked Jamie Naughton, Zappos’ Chief of Staff, to share her insights.
As any business expands — either domestically or internationally — it can be a challenge to maintain a consistent company culture. Communication might suddenly need to bridge time zones, and messages will need to stay consistent despite language or cultural barriers. An expansion can affect organizational design and the centralization of resources, potentially making employees feel detached.
Building a business is like raising a child. We see them grow up over the years, go through hard times and good, learn from each success and failure, and eventually blossom into something more wonderful than we ever could have imagined.
One of the more challenging stages of the process is a business’ adolescence. It’s no longer a scrappy startup but not yet a full-grown business with established and consistent processes.
We’ve all read the stories about startups making waves in their industry, and how they’re doing it from a once-destitute warehouse on the south side of town. We’re prone to conclude that these companies are sustaining high performance because they’ve broken down the (cubicle) walls that bind our ability to collaborate, innovate, and achieve our full potential.
Unfortunately, misconceptions about high performing culture develop from these stories, and many well-intentioned business leaders have tried to emulate these startups in their quest to improve their culture and performance.
If you mention “innovation” to most business leaders, it wouldn’t be a surprise if they begin to think about Tesla, GE, or 3M. Compared to these giants of innovation, continually pushing the bleeding edge of what’s possible through massive investments in research and development, you may feel like innovation is out of reach.
No matter your organization’s size or industry, however, a culture of innovation may be necessary to evolve and succeed in today’s constantly changing business environment.
When Bill Sandbrook took over as CEO of U.S. Concrete (NASDAQ CM: USCR) in 2011, he stepped into an organization that was hobbling out of bankruptcy and struggling to turn itself around. What he didn’t realize was just how precarious the situation really was.
A graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, Sandbrook got his start as a leader in the cavalry, serving 13 years before leaving the service in 1992 to take a job with a building materials company.
A global expansion can be a company’s greatest triumph or its most difficult period. Moving into new markets can mean increased reach and revenue. But if you focus too much on the big changes to your bottom line, you may end up with disgruntled employees working hard just to keep pace with this rapid growth.
Lieutenant Colonel Matt Butler spends most of his time serving as mission crew commander of an Air Force Joint STARS E8C air-to-ground radar aircraft. A job that has given him the opportunity to live all over the United States and abroad, including ten deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. But it’s not all work and no play for Colonel Butler.
Matt is also the creator of what the Wall Street Journal referred to as one of the “best new lawn games you’ve never heard of.” Growing up in Minnesota meant summers chock full of outdoor activities at the cabin Matt’s family stayed in during the warmer months. And what’s a little outdoor family time without a barbecue fired up and lawn games?