A Practitioner's insights from Corporate Merger

Author: Usha Srivastava
Date: 2021-12-03
Organization mergers and acquisitions are never simple. They normally accompany conflicts, disruptions, mistrust, ambiguity, anxiety etc.- on professional and personal front. Here are some bits of my personal learning in my journey of two large organizations being consolidated.

#First impression is not the last impression

Genuinely, invest time and energy in knowing and relating to people. They say, "You never get a second chance to make a first impression". However, I think, we do! And we should give the second chance to others around us, also. This is the thing that I learnt, whenever I made an extra effort to get to know the new colleagues, to learn what motivates them, what concerns them, it paid off - professionally and personally.

#Stay away from 'Us' and 'Them', use 'We'

Extremely, pivotal. For instance, it doesn't feel inclusive when we talk about "their" processes and "their" people, or when team members are introduced using their previous company name. Make it a habit to use 'We'. Focus on building #OneTeam. Identify commonalities and emphasize on it. Remember the lesson from the movie Avengers 'ONE is bigger than one'.

#Have a conversation, make things clear

It is very normal that we trust only our experiences, thoughts and ideas. However, sooner or later, we need to convince or get convinced and concede there's a lot to learn from other experiences. The best leaders are attentive of each other's thoughts, and feelings and respect it. It has less to do, with who is in a team, and more with how we interact and cooperate with each other.

#You don't have to, know-everything

OK, so it's not in my DNA to 'know-it all'. However, a few things are simply and clear, right? Indeed, this integration made me reevaluate that. Making assumptions, even with regards to some basic fundamental stuff, can be very risky. I understood that, so I trained myself to go out of my comfort zone and ask about things that appeared to be normal and clear. Shocking! What seemed simple and clear turned out to be 'muddy waters'. And what I learned with this simple tool of questioning was precious, 'The more I inquired, the more my team did likewise'.

#Network Far More Internally

I knew just one side of the story. The other side of the story was all their, within the organization… all the knowledge, information, data, skills. During process of change, we need to work and build our own professional and personal credibility, and in turn build our reliability and dependability in the new team, through internal networking, building trust and confidence. Plug into the strengths of the staff, internal capabilities, and inner social groups— to known quickly and start to enhance from others.

#Help others to succeed

It's really against my natural self, to let others fail. And I was ready to introduce this principle into the team. When I saw that this had an encouraging effect on the team spirit, it made me really proud…. building on the concept of “psychological safety". One mantra that helped us through is 'helping each other', building collaboration in the team, instead of competition, creating interdependence, and extension of support.

#Remember to Laugh

My personality is pretty simple. I like to bring people together, build cohesive teams. And that cannot happen alone, so create lots of opportunity to talk and laugh together. The team that talks, laughs and creates constructive experiences... stays together!
Even when I mess up, I take a deep breath and move forward. Yesterday was one such day, when I made some error--- Slip-ups occur---however I will not make them twice.
Now, it's time to say, 'Thank you'! I'm appreciative for all the great coordinated efforts between functions, teams, locations etc. We got this going together. It's great to be engaged and keep on collaborating as a cohesive team towards the larger goal.
About Author - Usha Srivastava is an enthusiastic, result oriented Human Resource professional with two decades of work experience in Strategic HR and in executing HR best practices for aligning the Organization's business objectives with maximizing the employee potential. She honestly believes in fostering positive work environment that promotes employee morale by developing interpersonal relationships within all levels of the organization, utilizing attentiveness, trust, and respect.
HER Motto: Everybody has their own journeys, with problems to solve... lessons to learn…but most of all, EXPERIENCES TO ENJOY!
She has been instrumental in strategizing and leading several organizations to the list of Top 100 Great places to work (GPTW) in India.
She has successfully led teams in Identifying, developing, deploying & retaining talent in large organizations. In the current role as Cluster HR Head, Vodafone Idea, Delhi, she is actively involved in the pre- and post-merger activities. In the process introduced new / Digital ways of doing things in HR & Admin operations extensively. Played a pivotal role in creating a '1 Team - 1 Dream' campaign for the merged entity. Was diligently involved in the re-structuring and re-energization of the organization.
She is also a certified Leadership and Motivation Trainer, and strongly believe in the key relationship between Human Resource Development and Organization Success.
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