Having recently been involved in a merger of two Social Service agencies, this book was of particular interest to me. In retrospect, we did just about everything the right way, i.e., communicating at all levels, taking into account the people first and the organization second, etc.
The Wall's have written a common sense (or as an old boss of mine used to say, uncommon sense) approach to mergers. Real life stories of Cisco and other large corporations that have merged, with their tales of success and woe, fill these pages.
Their sage and humorous advice includes staying clear of the following phrases:
"A merger of equals"
"Nothing will change"
"And now for the bad news"
"The integration plan has been finalized"
"We're buying them for their markets and resources"
"It's a natural fit"
Their seven item list of Best Practices for successful acquisitions includes flexibility, planning, and constant communication. Moreover, the Wall's emphasize the importance of Human Resources in everything from planning and integration to cultural assessments and assessments of information technology, as well as health, safety, and environmental issues, all of which are critical to the process.
The epilogue includes a full discussion of Protean business goals for change management. Research suggests that employee stress is greatest when the roles and power relationships are unclear in the merger process. Communicate, communicate, communicate...that is the key!
This well written, concise, down to earth management resource should be required reading for any corporate manager.
Reviewed by Marge Fletcher on November 21, 2000