Merger, acquisition, and takeover: these are words that are always perceived with a healthy dose of fear. Markets, leaders, and employees all suddenly become careful and cautious. Even the air gets a little heavier. Why? Because people feel like they are kept in the dark.
The organization is about to change. Its structure, culture, vision, and strategy are all taking new directions. Everyone is onboard this flight. But no matter how many times you get on board, you must go through the safety briefing. It’s mandatory, not because it keeps you distracted during the precious minutes you are waiting on the tarmac, but because it is essential.
Some of us are more receptive to change; we enjoy the upheaval it might bring. It might even motivate and excite some. But a vast majority finds it discomforting to go from A to B without any preparation. And that is what you must be ready for when you are going for a transition in an organization too. Sometimes a merger/acquisition changes nothing. But on other occasions, but the very idea of the activity stems from the need to change or move.
So then comes the big step in making this transition: training. But what kind, what for, and how effective is it? Who should go for it? Well, honestly, I believe that depends on the many factors that are far too subjective, and hence no one program can ever address this requirement. But each organization and its leaders know what they are aiming for, what is going to change, who and how people are going to be affected, and they must choose accordingly.
Training must ensure that the following goals are met.
- Creating a readiness to accept the changes to come.
- Arming employees with any new skills or competencies they may need going forward.
- Bring clarity regarding long term and short term goals.
Today, learning is such a vast arena, with so many options on the table, from instructor-led programs to gamification, from small workshops to e-learning modules. A standard fit cannot exist but the idea is the same across the board: it must have maximum impact, generating clarity, not confusion, bringing confidence, not disillusionment, creating readiness to leap forward, and not a fear of being unprepared.
Once you have taken that leap to forge a new identity or a new direction, you must be prepared to do all it takes to bring all on board — not just the investors, but the people who invest their energies, faith, hours, and devotion in you. To take them along, you must reach out to them. Put in as much effort as you did deliberating this move in delivering the outcome.
Be transparent and communicate, share your vision, and set their expectations right, ensure your culture transitions without creating ripples of dissatisfaction through carefully thought out steps, and train your people to be armed with the skills they will need to face these changes as they happen. If you get this right, the flight may get bumpy, but it’s going to land smoothly and be a lot of fun.