Why Some Mergers Will Fail…but only if you let them!

October 29th, 2012

In an acquisition, people may be overwhelmed by a tsunami of change. If you’re managing the acquisition, you’re probably expecting some talent run off. However, it doesn’t have to happen; your involvement in the integration can make all the difference. But here’s what you’re not expecting.

The Predictable Dynamics of Change

It’s where the buyer misses the point. You’ve studied the target, opportunistically going after them because the target looks inexpensive, or a good value. Maybe this competitor looks good to you because they’re not growing as fast as you are, in this  economy. So buyers say, “They’re in the same space as we are, the same industry, we’ve competed for decades, we use similar suppliers and understand the same customers, why not consolidate now, reduce our costs and take advantage of volume discounts and share suppliers?” It certainly sounds good on paper.

What buyers miss is that the organization must still go through all the predictable change dynamics – the change curve. Any change that you make, anywhere, in any organization – family, church, or business – will always cause a bit of bruising.

The same thing occurs when you switch exercise machines during your workout. Your muscles go through what’s called a change-up: they’re not as effective initially as they begin to adapt from one change to another. Blood flow is not as efficient. It takes time to integrate what you’re doing.

The same thing happens to organizations going through an acquisition. Their business may not be going as well as yours is, that’s why you were interested in the first place.

But buyers think that their acquisition can somehow do the same business, service the same customers, do everything the same during the transition, when they are actually going through this change-up. The predictable dynamic is that organizational chaos begins. Much of this confusion can be avoided by communication and more communication; inherited employees must understand their role, why they are valuable and needed and why they have an ongoing role in their new organization. Make them feel secure if not, you will lose the best ones first and a downward morale spiral will set in like a dark cloud.

Otherwise, here’s what it could look like. The acquisition just can’t seem to get traction; acquired employees can’t understand their new role, even though you tell them time and again, even though they’re selling to the same customers and servicing the same way. Why?

Each person in the acquisition still doesn’t understand what the transition means to them personally and their “me-issues” surface. Often their allegiance is to the previous organization and now they are part of the competition, which they were selling against before.

Picture this change curve in a U shape. At top left is betrayal, lower down is denial, and at the bottom of the curve is an outright identity crisis. As the U shape rises on the right, there begins a search for solutions, and eventually, acceptance. We all go through these change dynamics whenever we go through any major changes in life.

The concept of emotional stages was first developed by Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross (death and dying stages) and in business, the curves are the same. If individuals go through it, why wouldn’t organizations go through it too?

Be prepared and you can avoid failure, act early, communicate constantly and warmly welcome your acquired employees to create a happy ending.

15 Barriers to Sales Success

October 22nd, 2012

Don’t let these barriers hinder your Growth!

Sales managers, consultants and trainers were asked to list the worst mistakes new salespeople make. Here are the top 15 responses:

  1. Talking too much and not listening enough.
  2. Failure to ask good questions or phrasing them improperly.
  3. Trying to sell products or services while customers look for solutions.
  4. Confusing prospects and customers with too much information.
  5. Poor after-sales service.
  6. Failure to try to regain lost business.
  7. Reluctance to sell against established relationships.
  8. Failure to respond properly to customer complaints.
  9. Failure to convert first-time buyers into long-term customers.
  10. Failure to get more business from existing customers.
  11. Setting goals too high or too low, or improperly trying to attain them.
  12. Selling features and price rather than value and benefits.
  13. Exhibiting a poor attitude when calling on prospects and customers.
  14. Failure to build trust in prospects and customers.
  15. Not taking full advantage of selling time.

Source: Ted Barrows, a sales consultant based in Bristol, RI.

For more information on Staffing M & A or a complimentary confidential discussion, contact:

Bob Cohen at 416-229-6462 or Sam Sacco at 910-509-0691.

We can also be reached at bob@racohenconsulting.com or sam@racohenconsulting.com.

Sam and Bob have successfully completed over 135 staffing industry transactions. Visit our website for more articles and information at: www.racohenconsulting.com

14 Ways to Overcome Phone Rejections

October 15th, 2012

Rejection can transform failure into a powerful tool for success and help your team develop the skills needed to deal effectively with adverse situations. This can be an effective reminder for us “old pros” as well.

Here are some more critical points to help overcome rejection.

  1. Use rejection as a form of feedback for self-improvement what when wrong? What could’ve been done to prevent it?
  2. Break challenges into incremental steps so that any failure is minimized.
  3. Channel anxiety into a creative force for achievement so that, when frustrated, we become more productive.
  4. Most salespeople will succeed only to the extent they are willing to suffer though many disappointments.
  5. Being ready for the unexpected increases our chances of succeeding.
  6. Whether we experience failure or success is unimportant; what is important is the way we deal with the experience.
  7. If we can’t accept failure, we will quickly lose our enthusiasm.
  8. Believing we have a chance to succeed sharpens our mental vision.
  9. We resolve our fears by taking risks.
  10. By breaking out of our comfort zone, we expand the arena of our opportunities.
  11. When we avoid failure, we’re also avoiding new challenges and opportunities.
  12. Recognize that failure is the ultimate teaching tool. Every disappointment teaches a positive lesson — we just have to learn from it.
  13. 13. It’s in times of adversity that we usually grow the most.
  14. 14. Every rejection brings you closer to success.

Adapted from the book The Courage to Fail by Art Mortell.

For more information on Staffing M & A or a complimentary confidential discussion, contact:

Bob Cohen at 416-229-6462 or Sam Sacco at 910-509-0691.

We can also be reached at bob@racohenconsulting.com or sam@racohenconsulting.com. Sam and Bob have successfully completed over 135 staffing industry transactions.

Visit our website for more articles and information at: www.racohenconsulting.com

 

5 Steps for Integrating Companies Successfully!

October 9th, 2012

Over the 18 month course of an average transition, there is extensive organizational “bruising” with unaddressed people, culture and process problems. Many companies drift toward improvised solutions and makeshift answers, relying on a crisis management style that keeps anxieties high and morale depressed, a recipe for sales collapse and executive flight.

It is possible to alleviate the stress of blending two distinct entities. One of the first steps is to anticipate likely scenarios instead of hoping that they don’t come up. Do not simply hope that there is a chance for success – instead, leave nothing to chance.

Establish Clear Direction

Usually a key executive receives the job of operationalizing the deal. He or she should focus on developing a 24-month strategy and vision for going forward. The first instinct is to cut away redundancy, deal with overlaps and release surplus employees. Instead, focus on engaging both organizations and evaluating core processes for synergies. You’ll have your chance to reduce one-time and recurring costs.

Make a Solid Plan & Process to Implement

Engineering the integration of core processes is the most important planning you’ll do. Often the buyer comes in and simply institutes their policies and procedures by fiat. This top-down model fails to unlock synergies from the ground up. It is counter intuitive to allow synergies to emerge rather than getting everyone on the same page, fast. But it is a critical phase that releases the true value of the deal. With new processes identified, link the new structure and budget to them, not the other way around.

Engage, Engage, Engage

People are not processes. It’s tempting to put them into a mass category and feed them platitudes, coffee mugs with slogans and t-shirts about teamwork, but your people are watching to see if your words match your actions. If you act incongruently, they will cease listening. They are the team that will carry out and implement the new vision. If they’re on board, you’ll see things move smoothly; if they’re not, resistance, balking and negative talk can torpedo your efforts. Engage them on every level.

Leverage Predictable Dynamics and Timing

Two IT departments or two marketing departments are not going to get along well, there is too much competition. Recognize the realities of the situation and develop strategies for leveraging heightened competition and an expanded knowledge base. Anticipate reactions at each stage of the merger and you’ll be way ahead. Shock gives way to uncertainty which gives way to acceptance and new development challenges.

 Lead with Courage & Persistence

Leading this initiative, you’re in the cross hairs. Supporting policies and procedures have to be developed to reinforce direction, structure and processes. Many voices, interest groups and individuals will attempt to influence your judgment. Managing an M&A transaction is the time when you tap into your leadership potential and rise to the challenge. Nothing less will do. Especially when it means the difference between success and failure. 

Our thanks to Merger Coach for many of the concepts expressed in this article.

For more information on Staffing M & A or a complimentary confidential discussion, contact:

Bob Cohen at 416-229-6462 or Sam Sacco at 910-509-0691.

We can also be reached at bob@racohenconsulting.com or sam@racohenconsulting.com.

Sam and Bob have successfully completed over 135 staffing industry transactions. Visit our website for more articles and information at: www.racohenconsulting.com

 

 

 

Positive Thinking: 7 Easy Ways to Improve a Bad Day

October 1st, 2012

Don’t let a bad morning ruin your entire day. Use these mental tricks to change your momentum.

Had a difficult morning? Are things looking grim?

Credit for the post belongs to Geoffrey James who writes “Sales Source” for Inc.com.

Not to worry. The rest of your day need not be a disaster. It can in fact become one of your best, providing you take these simple steps:

1. Remember that the past does not equal the future.

There is no such thing as a “run of bad luck.” The reason people believe such nonsense is that the human brain creates patterns out of random events and remembers the events that fit the pattern.

2. Refuse to make self-fulfilling prophesies. 

If you believe the rest of your day will be as challenging as what’s already happened, then rest assured: You’ll end up doing something (or saying) something that will make sure that your prediction comes true.

3. Get a sense of proportion.

Think about the big picture: Unless something life-changing has happened (like the death of a loved one), chances are that in two weeks, you’ll have forgotten completely about whatever it was that has your shorts in a twist today.

4. Change your threshold for “good” and “bad.”

Decide that a good day is any day that you’re above ground. Similarly, decide that a bad day is when somebody steals your car and drives it into the ocean. Those types of definitions make it easy to be happy–and difficult to be sad.

5. Improve your body chemistry.

Your body and brain are in a feedback loop: A bad mood makes you tired, which makes your mood worse, and so forth. Interrupt the pattern by getting up and moving around.  Take a walk or eat something healthy.

6. Focus on what’s going well.

The primary reason you’re convinced it’s a bad day is that you’re focusing on whatever went wrong. However, for everything going badly, there are probably dozens of things going well.  Make list, and post it where it’s visible.

7. Expect something wondrous.

Just as an attitude of doom and gloom makes you see more problems, facing the future with a sense of wonder makes you alive to all sorts of wonderful things that are going on, right now, everywhere around you.

Remember, everything that comes, eventually goes, don’t get too caught up in it, it’s not worth the energy.

For more information on Staffing M & A or a complimentary confidential discussion, contact:

Bob Cohen at 416-229-6462 or Sam Sacco at 910-509-0691.

We can also be reached at bob@racohenconsulting.com or sam@racohenconsulting.com.

Sam and Bob have successfully completed over 135 staffing industry transactions. Visit our website for more articles and information at:

www.racohenconsulting.com