M&A Transition: High Standards and Well-Chosen Battles

Starting on the right foot after an M&A deal is important, obviously. You want to win over the new employees as soon as possible, but if you’ve been unable to do that, you may encounter conflicts that need resolving.

Set a high bar and be consistent

The best lesson about implementing new rules and methods is to set a high bar and be consistent with your own actions and expectations of others. When you say you’re going to do something, do it. Be on time; don’t change plans at the last minute.

People want to be led. Don’t afraid of changing the tone and applying fair discipline. Stay the course and demand excellence from others. They’ll follow. You’ll probably find that more people pull you aside and thank you for the changes than grouse and complain at being held accountable.

Pick your battles

When dealing with conflicts, you may have to prioritize and deal with certain issues before delving into secondary problems. Any business has a certain ingrained inertia in the way it does things, and that inertia can be tough to overcome.

Although instituting change throughout the entity may be important, your focus should not be taken away from the basic blocking and tackling of a business: taking care of the customers, sales, inventory, purchasing, and paying bills.

Improving punctuality, following often-ignored minor rules, cutting down on needless office chitchat, and the like may be part of your long-term plan to improve the company, but until the big issues are addressed and fixed, these smaller issues may have to go on the back burner.

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