Until recently, I had been through 9 company acquisitions. In a 12-year span, I sat on integration teams on both sides of mergers and acquisitions that ranged from multi-million to multi-billion-dollar deals that affected approximately 1,000 employees. All the companies involved were successful, thriving businesses experiencing some of their strongest financial years when the deal was struck.
I once asked a hotshot acquisition attorney after he bragged about the many deals he’d closed that year, “When [in a deal] do you ever talk about PEOPLE?? (i.e. employees in the business?)” He audibly scoffed at me saying, “NEVER!” Quickly followed up by, “Who ARE YOU, anyway?” Story of my life. Seeing it again and for the 10th time, I know the cold, hard fact is…business acquisitions are about money. Let that sink in because you need to know this fact. Especially, if your company has recently been acquired and you are taking the news personally. These deals are not about people.
If you know me, or have read any of my blogs over the years, you know that I teach (and preach) that all businesses at their core are about PEOPLE. More specifically, they are about HUMAN BEINGS and their BEHAVIORS which can help, or hinder, a business’s ability to be profitable or not. And while there has been an increased emergence of conscious leaders in businesses today – most leaders still don’t ‘get’ this concept. They show they don’t get it after they receive huge, post-sale paychecks and retire to a warm beach — completely oblivious to the plight of the loyal human beings who helped their financial success.
From the human perspective, I describe an acquisition as a collision. A head on collision of two successful companies going 100 mph toward their goal, crashing at full speed and sending human shrapnel flying everywhere. In one sentence, “We’ve been acquired,” a leader throws once focused, wildly talented humans abruptly into a state of shock, then anger, then fear, then extreme disillusionment. Post acquisition environments are full of raw human emotion. Politics are heightened and people who were once teammates and friends, turn against each other to compete for a smaller number of chairs (i.e. jobs) that decreased due to redundancy. At the very time when leaders need to step up and be more available to people, more directive about what people need to do, more transparent and more communicative, they ghost the very people who would’ve jumped off a cliff for them if they’d asked them to, who trusted and followed them, only to be left without a sincere Thank You — or even their job.
“When you know better, you do better.” — Maya Angelou
I wrote this article and advice in honor of the passionate, hardworking and self-less workforce at Major Medical/Rocky Mountain Medical Equipment (and to anyone else going through change from an acquisition). Here goes:
- Don’t Take It Personally. Acquisitions are all about money, really.
- Leaders will disappoint you at some point because they are people, too.
- You are the only one who has your back. You are 100% responsible for you, your happiness and your career path.
- There are aspects to any job that you will have to do that you don’t like – or believe in – but are still part of the job you are paid to do.
- Stay competent in your craft so you keep a healthy level of confidence in your skills at all times.
- Your talent is cumulative of your work and life experience. Remember…that is your ‘full package’ and it has value.
- You are needed and wanted somewhere – so find the place that wants and appreciates you.
- Keep Doing Your Best because your work ethic, integrity and reputation follow you where you go.
- Be You! You are Enough.
PEOPLE MATTER in Business.
Cindy Goyette, SPHR, MA, CC is a Talent Strategist and People Leader with expertise in Talent Management, Learning & Development, Organizational Development & Effectiveness and Talent Acquisition. She helps business leaders ensure they have the right talent to execute their business strategy. She helps hiring managers uncover their talent needs in relation to building cohesive and productive teams and effective job acquisition strategy. And to keep herself grounded and aware of current talent competencies and acquisition trends, Cindy also helps non-traditional job seekers align their work/life experience and career aspirations to successfully acquire jobs in today’s competitive landscape.