Leaders: Help Your Team Deal with the Emotions of an Acquisition
By Kelly Vandever
I went through several acquisition while part of corporate America. Sometimes I belonged to the company being acquired. Other times, I was part of the acquiring company, and I was twice asked to manage a team that was part of one of those acquisitions.
When you’re in a leadership position, it’s important to help your employees deal with the emotional toll that comes along with being part of the acquisition process.
Consider how you can coach your employees to control what they can control.
Below is text that I provided to my staff when we were the company being acquired.
Share these tips with your staff… and add your tips to the list – both when you share with your employees and in the comments section of the blog below! Best wishes for your acquisition.
The tips that follow are how to influence the situation for your best interest – but not only for your success, but also the success of your group and your new organization.
Work with Integrity
Regardless of your employer, if you act with honesty and a drive to do the right things for the right reasons, you’ll always be in good stead. And if not, do you really want to work for an organization that doesn’t honor integrity?!
If those you work with know you can be counted on to deliver, then they’ll always have something nice to say about you to others, whomever those others might be.
Make commitments that you can keep and hold yourself accountable for following through. If no one else is stepping up to commit, volunteer to own it yourself. Again, good employers will respect people willing to be accountable for their actions and the work that needs to be done. And would you really want to work in a place where this is not the case?
Pay attention to what’s going on around you. Consider what you can do to add value, to learn new skills, or to prepare yourself for options inside and outside the company. It’s not enough to know the options though, then you need to take action and ensure you do what you need to do. The Boy Scouts aren’t the only ones who benefit from being prepared!
Think through the possible scenarios of a situation and anticipate where problems may come from. Prevent the problems where you can and have a Plan B when you know there is risk involved.
Don’t take on more than you can handle. If you suspect you won’t be able to follow through, don’t make the commitment. It’s better to let the person asking know that you can’t commit to a task then to commit and fail to follow through. Know what you can handle and play the balancing act so you don’t over commit.
Don’t Blame Others
We all make mistakes, but there’s not benefit that comes from making sure everyone knows who screwed up. Do we need to ignore mistakes? No, we need to understand what happened so we can prevent a recurrence. But we are better off spending out time focusing on what needs to happen to move forward than to dwell on finding someone to blame. I love this quote I found from Neal Whitten who wrote, “Exercise tolerance. Care about mistakes that people make, but care more about the people who made them.”
Admit When You’re Wrong Or You’ve Made a Mistake
As humans, we’re going to make mistakes. The sign of a mature, confident professional is that they are willing to admit when they’re wrong or made a mistake, and then work to correct it. If we aren’t willing to own up to our own failings, then the message we send is that we’re either too dense, too egotistical, or too stubborn to admit we failed. And no one wants to work with the slow, the arrogant, or the mule.
Give Credit Where Credit Is Due
None of us can be successful alone. When you give credit to others, you gain the respect of those who helped and garner their willingness to help in the future.
Take a minute while you’re reading this right now to take your dominate arm and point behind you as far as you can go. Now take your arm backwards even further. Now take it even further still. The point is, we can generally push ourselves harder than we think we can. Don’t be afraid of failure. Just keep trying harder.
Manage Your Time
Focus on your top 3 priorities and determine these priorities by the values you have and the goals you’ve set. Don’t be a slave to other’s whims. Ask yourself why you’re doing what you’re doing and if it advances you and the things you believe in.
Ask Yourself, “Is This the Best I Can Do?”
If the answer is no, then do it again. The quality of the work you do speaks to the “brand” that you create for yourself. Ask yourself what do I want to be known for and make sure the products you produce reflect that message.
Control What You Can Control
It’s difficult to live in times of uncertainty. So find some control over the ambiguity by making sure that you are doing or continuing to do the things that establish you as the valuable individual you are, regardless of the organization.
Need help working through an acquisition within your organization? Contact us and see how we can help. Email Kelly. Vandever @ SpeakingPractically.com or call 770-597-1108.
Kelly Vandever is a leadership and communications expert who helps leaders and organizations thrive in today’s attention-deficit, entertain-me-now, wait-while-I-post-that-on-Facebook world. Learn how opening up and speaking practically can bring you better business results.