Merging Cultures

If people reviewed culture as a financial investment, they would give it regular attention and evaluate its usefulness in the pursuit of objectives. Often times, culture manages to insinuate itself into a team and organization without receiving significant attention and care until cultures are merged through a combination, reorganization, or new leadership. The result can be cultures that, at best, compete and, at worst, prompt antagonism. Research shows that the primary reason for failure in a merger is the inability to adequately consider the impact of culture.

We believe that culture is something that is led, not followed. Our work in merging cultures begins with a cultural assessment. By doing that, we seek to determine which components are supporting engagement and where there is conflict. We will support dynamic conversations in reference to figuring out what are the useful and meaningful components of culture and how they relate to a larger purpose. We want everyone on a team to understand how to take action in support of the culture and we will facilitate the conversations that encourage common practices. One of our clients reported that his first merger required more than five years to integrate the two cultures; that was without our help. The second merger, supported by the Advancing Leadership Institute, needed less than 18 months to reach a point of successful and effective integration.