Every organization can learn plenty from Sydney Finkelstein's book, Why Smart Executives Fail. He and his team did six years of research, interviewing executives, employees, customers, and other stakeholders intimately familiar with dozens of examples of organizational failure. The team distilled the information they gathered into 3 parts: Great Corporate Mistakes, The Causes of Failure, and Learning from Mistakes.
Great corporate mistakes occur primarily during these four business challenges:
Since more than half of mergers & acquisitions fail and the business world has seen so many in the last few years, that section was most interesting to me. First, Finkelstein gives an overview of three different companies who failed when making acquisitions. Then, he points out how the executives could have avoided their mistakes with an increase in due diligence, a deeper understating of synergy, and better communication.
If your role is in talent development or learning and development, helping your organization communicate better is how you can help keep mergers & acquisitions from failing. Prior to the deal, we should strive for “absolute clarity within the organization on the purpose of the acquisition.” Poor communication following the deal can lead to “cultural disruptions.”
Does your organization struggle with communication during mergers & acquisitions? You’re not alone – “disseminating information in an accessible way is a challenge all companies face.”
Finkelstein’s recommendations for better communication include:
How can you put these recommendations into practice? At Paradigm Learning, we recommend the use of a Discovery Map® Program to communicate the change (like a merger or acquisition) with new and existing employees, share organizational success stories, and further your learning culture.
Discovery Map Programs:
Learn how your organization can use a Discovery Map to gain strategic alignment - Check out Lockheed Martin's Client Story.