Mergers = Cultures Collide!!

There are no two company cultures that are the same! Just as there are no two children that are the same! Even if at first glance they seem to be the same, they aren’t much like identical twins are often extremely different. 

That is not to say they cannot play well with others, when merged. But, when they are smashed together and left to duke it out, the most likely outcome is mutually assured destruction.

“Understanding and integrating two different corporate cultures (or not)
Management tend to assume that the other company is just like us and dismiss the need for deeper cultural understanding, especially when in the same or similar business. But, it’s one of the most common reasons for failed mergers. Certainly, it’s much better to have a cultural understanding prior to a merger and keep two brands operating independently, until this situation changes. Ben & Jerry’s is a great example that has stood the test of time when it was acquired by Unilever. Throughout this critical post-acquisition integration phase, Ben & Jerry’s successfully retained its culture, corporate identity and brand image and, at the same time, became profitable.”

Helen Westropp – “Five ways branding and design can help mergers and acquisitions” – The Guardian

Beware. What message are you sending?

When you land on a website, you begin to get a message about a company. When you on click on Core Values and this is what you see… well you are definitely sending a message:

The page that they use to recruit is TOTALLY different in style, wording, structure, balance, everything! 
Check that out here:

Right? It is dynamic and colorful, graphic and moving. 

The two messages seem disjointed and confuse the visitor at best! More likely, they will feel like the dynamic and colorful version of you is a sales pitch and the real company is boring, old fashioned and stiff. 

Untrustworthy is not a good impression…
Beware. What message are you sending?

Another company’s website I visited yesterday was dynamic and interesting, and it seems trustworthy, but the company name was prominent as was a few other brands that were similar but not cohesive. It was like they took three companies and threw the information together on one website. Totally confused, who is this? 
I clicked to advertise in their magazine and I get the message Page Not Found.
Then, the leaders of the company had a different website domain for their email addresses. So, I went to that website address. It did not exist. 
Confused. Don’t know how to do business with you. Don’t know who your company is or what they could do for me.

Beware! What message are you sending? 

Talent Spotting in today’s world! HBR article this month… in other words… a Culture Fit assesment!

How will YOU test for these qualities that are hallmarks of potential?

  • A fierce commitment to excel in the pursuit of unselfish goals.
  • Curiosity: a penchant for seeking out new experiences, knowledge, and candid feedback and an openness to learning and change
  • Insight: the ability to gather and make sense of information that suggests new possibilities
  • Engagement: a knack for using emotion and logic to communicate a persuasive vision and connect with people
  • Determination: the wherewithal to fight for difficult goals despite challenges and to bounce back from adversity

Some tips from the article:

Mine personal and professional histories.

Conduct in-depth interviews or career discussions, and do thorough reference checks to uncover stories that demonstrate whether the person has (or lacks) these qualities. For instance, to assess curiosity, don’t just ask, “Are you curious?” Instead, look for signs that the person believes in self-improvement, truly enjoys learning, and is able to recalibrate after missteps.


  • How do you react when someone challenges you?
  • How do you invite input from others on your team?
  • What do you do to broaden your thinking, experience, or personal development?
  • How do you foster learning in your organization?
  • What steps do you take to seek out the unknown?

Always ask for concrete examples, and go just as deep in your exploration of motivation, insight, engagement, and determination.

Spread these interviewing techniques through the organization. Most organizations, are filled with people who have the power to endorse bad candidates and kill off good ones.

By contrast, companies that emphasize the right kind of hiring vastly improve their odds. Amazon has, for example, hundreds of dedicated internal recruiters, great training programs in assessment, and even a legion of certified “bar raisers”: skilled evaluators who hold full-time jobs in a range of departments but are also empowered to participate in assessing—and vetoing—candidates for other areas.

How does office furniture change YOUR culture?

How about one continuous desk for 100+ employees?!wncDD

I love it.

What do your office furniture say about what you have chosen as your culture? It shows your true Core Values, whether it is run-down and breaking or innovative or functional!

Take a pause to evaluate what you are telling your team about what is important in this workplace…


Millennials Unprepared by College? This comes as no surprise…

I always see a gap between what people ‘get’ at college and what they need to know to be well prepared for their job! I have MBAs come to me confounded by their results, because they believe that they should know the answers and be prepared to fix business problems.

Research from Bentley University and KRC Research was released last week that proves the validity of this for millennials today. China Gorman gives a good synopsis of the research on Great Place to Work dot com here:

There is another issue facing businesses is the concern over Millennials and hiring, keeping and engaging them. No matter where you fall in the camp, loveing Millennials or loathing them, you will find this research interesting. Honestly, you have to also be responsible for outcomes, no matter ‘their’ attitudes.

As always, my absolute best to you,





HBR – Harvard Business Review – November – Get this article and read and apply it

HBR – Harvard Business Review – November – Get this article and read and apply it

Emotional Agility is the name of the article, but don’t let that turn you off from reading it. It is nearly the best, if not the best HBR article I have ever read. It is amazingly good for application in almost any position, any life that you lead, it’s that good.

Get your hands on it and apply. If you don’t have a subscription and you cannot access it all, let me know, it’s important to your future success, truly.



Want Great Culture? Get Really Good at Firing – Inc Magazine Article

Want Great Culture? Get Really Good at Firing – Inc Magazine Article

Jim Collins says it well: “Waiting too long before acting is equally unfair to the people who need to get off the bus. For every minute you allow a person to continue holding a seat when you know that person will not make it in the end, you’re stealing a portion of his life, time that he could spend finding a better place where he could flourish.”

So, don’t rationalize keeping someone on staff that you know doesn’t fit your culture, you are NOT doing them any favors.



Learning to Love Millennials

Learning to Love Millennials

“By recognizing the values and motivation factors that engage millennials, learning leaders can develop training initiatives in bite-sized formats that provide immediate feedback for these just-in-time learners. Every generation brings its own unique set of expectations and skills to the workplace, and millennials are no different.”

So, what are their values and motivational factors?

Allen Communication says:

Engaging with Mobile Learning, Gamification and Video Based Learning

Mobile learning, Gamification and Video Based Learning are strategies that can be tremendously successful when used to deliver content to a millennial audience. It is also crucial to understand what methods should be incorporated into all of these strategies when developing a training initiative. Simply using these methods to deliver training will not motivate or engage learners. When we recognize the values and motivation factors that engage millennials, we include the following approaches in our training strategies:

  1. Bite Sized Learning – we look at what we used to accomplish in 30 minute modules and design the material for a 3-5 minute module
  2. Immediate Feedback –  See a specific example of how we worked with Lego to apply gamification and immediate feedback for customer service and retail training.
  3. Big-Picture Relevancy – Understanding how daily tasks contribute to principal company goals is important for this generation that has been taught to set expectations, goals and benchmarks throughout their K-12 studies. Video Based Training is an excellent method for delivering content that allows learners to understand how their contributions impact the company.

Read more about this here:

So, how will you engage this generation with unique gifts?