When Cultures Collide: Surviving the M&A Scrum

When Cultures Collide: Surviving the M&A Scrum

For managers and employees, mergers and acquisitions can evoke a sense of apprehension and excitement. 

Think about a rugby scrum: two teams in competition with a similar structure, similar strategy, and similar tasks. They?re striving towards a common goal, but with completely different cultures, with their own distinctive strengths and shortcomings.

As the scrum engages, it all changes.

You have a completely new structure ? a whole. From afar, it’s unclear where one team ends and the other starts, but it’s a different story up close. 

 
Image source: Getty Images

Image source: Getty Images

Heels dig into the field. Tension builds. Aggression rises as parties push and pull in different directions. Until finally ? the victor emerges. 

In many cases in M&A, as in our scrum, the most dominant prevail.


The ideal scenario

The art of a successful merger or acquisition, or M&A, is doing the required amount of due diligence to understand the synergies between two or more entities:

Is there a clear strategy, a symbiotic relationship? A common set of goals for all parties to strive towards together?

Truly successful mergers are those that link the positive attributes of entities with lessons learned from commercial and operational experiences. When these elements come together, they form a newly integrated entity greater than the sum of its parts. 

For example:

No alt text provided for this image

Image source: AAP / Darren England

This coalescence of cultures provides segments that all parties have previously subscribed to, and the opportunity to engage with new elements. 


The M&A trend in engineering

If you’ve been paying attention to the headlines recently, you?ll know that M&A has been a common theme throughout engineering, construction, mining and resources.

Some notable mentions are WSP & OpusBarrick and RandgoldNewmont and GoldcorpWood and Grieve and StantecSRC and Global Construction ServicesDRA and G&S Engineering Services and Minnovo. For DRA ? it doesn’t stop there. The multidisciplinary consultancy is set to sign off on a merger with SENET.

With over 10,000 engineering, architectural, planning and design consultancies in Australia and a whopping 90% of them with 20 people or less, mergers and acquisitions are all but inevitable throughout the industry ? the concept is nothing new.

For organisations to grow and sustain a healthy baseload of work, in addition to expanding their capabilities to service ever-changing package structures, M&As are an obvious solution.

Across the sector, this constant change generates a mix of excitement, doubt, excitement and challenge all rolled into one. 


Bringing it together ? combine or clash

It is common practice to see the development of Integration Teams to guide entities through the winding path that is M&A.

This journey encompasses the holistic elements of the organisation, mission and vision, branding and marketing, organisational structure, premises, policies? the list goes on.

Business units are often the ones responsible for assessing and identifying whether to change or maintain more funnelled segments including operating procedures, team structures and decision making processes.

This is where the process can get fuzzy. 

Reality is, many individuals within organisations are not a big fan of change. They become used to being part of a certain culture, with all the ideologies, gestures and quirks that come along with it.

No alt text provided for this image

A great example of this is the acquisition of US aircraft producer Grumman by Northrop in the US. 

At Grumman, it was a tradition that the company would hand out turkeys to employees for Christmas. Following the acquisition, I?m sure you can guess what one of the first questions raised by the Grumman employees was:

?Will we still get our turkey??

Needless to say, the answer was no. The response may have saved thousands on poultry, but it set off a chain reaction of behaviour that cost the new company more than they bargained for.

Sometimes small gestures and adversely, taking these away, can have huge ripple effects through the organisation ? no matter how innocent. 

Food for thought

Over the next few months, we?re likely to see movements across the market as the results of M&As around the region settle.

If you?re in a position where you?re interested in jumping into a new entity and building up your ability to adapt to change, please get in contact with us for a confidential discussion about potential options for you.

Alternatively, if you?re currently in a role where your organisation has recently undergone changes that changed the company culture or left you wondering: ?what’s next?? – please get in contact for a confidential discussion about the cultures of consultancies across the market, and upcoming opportunities to explore.

dane@peopleconnexion.com

(07) 3333 1511

Image source: Getty Images

Image source: Getty Images

Heels dig into the field. Tension builds. Aggression rises as parties push and pull in different directions. Until finally ? the victor emerges. 

In many cases in M&A, as in our scrum, the most dominant prevail.

 The ideal scenario

The art of a successful merger or acquisition, or M&A, is doing the required amount of due diligence to understand the synergies between two or more entities:

Is there a clear strategy, a symbiotic relationship? A common set of goals for all parties to strive towards together?

Truly successful mergers are those that link the positive attributes of entities with lessons learned from commercial and operational experiences. When these elements come together, they form a newly integrated entity greater than the sum of its parts. 

For example:

No alt text provided for this image

Image source: AAP / Darren England

This coalescence of cultures provides segments that all parties have previously subscribed to, and the opportunity to engage with new elements. 

The M&A trend in engineering

If you’ve been paying attention to the headlines recently, you?ll know that M&A has been a common theme throughout engineering, construction, mining and resources.

Some notable mentions are WSP & OpusBarrick and RandgoldNewmont and GoldcorpWood and Grieve and StantecSRC and Global Construction ServicesDRA and G&S Engineering Services and Minnovo. For DRA ? it doesn’t stop there. The multidisciplinary consultancy is set to sign off on a merger with SENET.

With over 10,000 engineering, architectural, planning and design consultancies in Australia and a whopping 90% of them with 20 people or less, mergers and acquisitions are all but inevitable throughout the industry ? the concept is nothing new.

For organisations to grow and sustain a healthy baseload of work, in addition to expanding their capabilities to service ever-changing package structures, M&As are an obvious solution.

Across the sector, this constant change generates a mix of excitement, doubt, excitement and challenge all rolled into one. 

Bringing it together ? combine or clash

It is common practice to see the development of Integration Teams to guide entities through the winding path that is M&A.

This journey encompasses the holistic elements of the organisation, mission and vision, branding and marketing, organisational structure, premises, policies? the list goes on.

Business units are often the ones responsible for assessing and identifying whether to change or maintain more funnelled segments including operating procedures, team structures and decision making processes.

This is where the process can get fuzzy. 

Reality is, many individuals within organisations are not a big fan of change. They become used to being part of a certain culture, with all the ideologies, gestures and quirks that come along with it.

No alt text provided for this image

A great example of this is the acquisition of US aircraft producer Grumman by Northrop in the US. 

At Grumman, it was a tradition that the company would hand out turkeys to employees for Christmas. Following the acquisition, I?m sure you can guess what one of the first questions raised by the Grumman employees was:

?Will we still get our turkey??

Needless to say, the answer was no. The response may have saved thousands on poultry, but it set off a chain reaction of behaviour that cost the new company more than they bargained for.

Sometimes small gestures and adversely, taking these away, can have huge ripple effects through the organisation ? no matter how innocent. 

Food for thought

Over the next few months, we?re likely to see movements across the market as the results of M&As around the region settle.

If you?re in a position where you?re interested in jumping into a new entity and building up your ability to adapt to change, please get in contact with us for a confidential discussion about potential options for you.

Alternatively, if you?re currently in a role where your organisation has recently undergone changes that changed the company culture or left you wondering: ?what’s next?? – please get in contact for a confidential discussion about the cultures of consultancies across the market, and upcoming opportunities to explore.

dane@peopleconnexion.com

(07) 3333 1511

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