From one of my recent leadership tips related to the importance of effective communication – see it here – one of our followers came to me looking for a few tips on the best way to communicate during a merger or acquisition.
My leadership tip for you this week therefore is to develop a communication strategy for all major events you and your organization are challenged with; such as a company merger and or acquisition. Don’t discount compensation or organizational changes, bonus payouts or anything else that has an immediate impact on the individuals on your team.
Acquisitions and mergers require a high level of communication to minimize anxiety, minimize the rumor mill and to keep morale up.
Plenty can go wrong with poor or ineffective communication.
For the highest level of leaders, you should work hard at developing and delivering a series of stump speeches that address what’s going on, why and what next steps are. Be transparent and honest, acknowledge what you can’t or won’t talk about and when you plan to address the issues you can’t address today. As in any stump speech, be clear, be concise and be consistent with your message.
For the managers caught in the middle. Be understanding and be patient.
Understanding that upper management may have not discussed many details or aspects of the transaction yet, therefore they don’t know.
Patient because there are plenty of issues on the table and it takes time to address them all. Don’t speculate. Relay the facts as you know them and ask appropriate and reasonable questions of upper management. If you don’t receive an answer understand why and positively communicate that.
In many cases there is a belief of ‘hidden agenda’s or secrets’ …. but based on my experience, this is not true. Answers are complicated and take time to develop because nobody wants to make a mistake and there often is plenty of fragile topics to go through.
Although it’s difficult, think positive and reinforce the positive outcome of the deal.