Recently I broached the subject of acculturation in mergers and acquisitions to a group of executives and watched some of them flinch. They’re admittedly preoccupied with financial matters, but they also should be thinking of the human side of M&A; it also affects the bottom line.
Concern for employees has never been high on the list of objectives for many companies merging or acquiring other companies. Because of that, many mergers have failed. But what if a company turned the tables and considered employee concerns among its top objectives? What if that same company within the first two years of acquiring each company had never lost a single employee of the 125 companies it acquired?
That company is Cisco. One of its great strengths has been seamlessly assimilating acquired companies into the corporate household, a complex feat that few understand how to accomplish.
Cisco’s managers are aware of the fear felt by employees of the acquired company and how it potentially damages their job performance. Its acquisition model considers such matters equal in importance to financial performance, marketability of the acquired company’s products and services, and ability of the acquired company to fill a niche within the Cisco family.
I researched Cisco’s approach and why it works for my forthcoming book on best practices (What’s Good for the Goose Could Cook the Gander). In short, Cisco knows how to make a corporate wedding that lasts. And they’ve done it again and again.
Being a repeat performer is one of the hallmarks of what makes a true best practice. Compare this to one-trick ponies, companies that have experienced great success, but it wasn’t replicable or doesn’t make sense for any organization but their own. When we scan the most-admired organizations for best practices, we must look for repeat performers. Those are the best practices worth investing in.
What other companies and best practices do you think qualify as repeat performers?