Bruce Crowe Consulting

Organisational & personal strategies

Organisational and personal strategies for achieving outcomes with and through others, individually and as teams, are based on analyses of the people and their situations and on the objectives being pursued. Personal assessments and team reviews can contribute, as can field work, observations and discussions with players and stakeholders. Strategies can be developed for managing people in mergers and acquisitions, during forced re-sizing, and for planned organisational developments and changes.

Case Study

Two entities were engaged in due diligence as they moved towards a merger/acquisition. The CEO of the acquiring entity agreed with his HR Director that early facilitation of the people aspects of the transition would be advantageous. The objective was to hold key executives and managers long enough for the acquiring entity to decide who they wanted and in what roles, and to avoid the wholesale exodus of the best people as soon as they could get their redundancy payment and go to the next job a search firm had already lined up for them.

The consultant accompanied the HRD on his normal pre-acquisition due diligence meetings with the other HRD and his team, and learned what information was held on key senior managers and middle managers and how to access it. Informal chats with the prospective acquisition’s senior management provided further impressions about key people and about what might happen with them after the merger.

Once the merger was announced, a series of actions were initiated that included each of the executives in the acquiring entity meeting individually with each of the executives and managers in the departments they were acquiring. The consultant arranged and participated in all meetings. Impressions gained were combined with performance and assessment records retrieved from HR files, and each person was discussed with their new manager to decide what the future might hold for each of them. A moratorium on resignations was agreed to give the process time to run its course and give everyone a fair chance to be heard and considered. There were other behavioural and management advantages in buying this time for a rational, open and transparent process to be completed.

Another important action was to address all staff of the acquired entity on the evening of the day the merger was formally announced. Of over 1,200 staff in the metropolitan area and accessible nearby regions, only 13 people who were rostered in the computer centre or on significant sick leave did not attend. The complete management teams of the merged entities attended, as did some of the new Directors. The purpose of the address by the new CEO was to gain credibility with the new staff so that they would believe what they were being told and would wait and see how things worked out.

The same approach was continued in a communications initiative that opened an intranet news page site that also provided avenues for any staff to direct enquiries and comments anywhere they wished.

The individual interviews of managers continued for about two weeks, after which the new management identified the people they wanted and strategies were prepared to retain them and attract them to their proposed new roles. The consultant continued to facilitate meetings between executives and managers, as needed, at the direction of the CEO, as part of efforts to keep relationships positive and to keep the momentum going. At the one month milestone, one executive had left but the balance of the sixty or so key people were there to participate in one-to-one career meetings and subsequent team meetings to start the process of lifting the new organisation from an idling pace to full steam operations, which were achieved within the three months target.

The acquired entity had been an acquirer itself on many occasions and was relatively experienced and sophisticated about the process. Their knowledge and skills were always respected, and they graciously complimented the acquiring team on the way the merging process was run. The acquisition was a success, and the CEO went on to become Chairman of a larger entity that resulted from further mergers.