This makes sense, given that firms need to be increasingly faster to market in order to succeed in today’s economy. Organic, step-by-step growth is not enough anymore. More and more companies are using M&A deals to improve their market presences as a result.
While M&A deals can create boardroom excitement, they often produce stress, anxiety, and job losses at the lower levels of the company. Workers on the ground feel powerless in the face of these deals – but the fact is M&As are not always hopeless. While many aspects of an M&A restructuring will be outside of your control, the way that you behave can still influence your chances of surviving.
With that in mind, here are some of the top strategies you should adopt if you want to survive a merger.
1. Stay Positive
When decision-makers are deciding who stays and who goes, competence will be a key factor, but so will attitude. All things being equal – and maybe even slightly unequal – those employees who have remained positive and engaged throught the M&A (or)deal will be favored over those who have not. Moaners and complainers will be the first to go.
Even if you are feeling aggrieved about the merger, your best bet is to save the complaining for home. At work, keep your lips closed and stay focused on your work.
2. Be an Early Adopter, Not a Laggard
Show that you are onboard with the changes being wrought. Proactively get involved in initiatives that help move the company from the old state to the new state. Perhaps the company has called for volunteers to give lunch-and-learns sessions on areas relevant to the merger – sign up to lead one. Maybe the organization is looking for people to be part of a kind task force to facilitate the merger – join the task force.
In general, you want to look for opportunities to step up, get noticed, and be seen as one of the “good guys.”
3. Be Flexible
An inflexible attitude will hinder you during an M&A deal, and it could result in you being left out in the cold. There will be upheaval and uncertainty, which will create loose ends and the need for temporary assignments and task forces. Inflexible people who aren’t prepared to get their hands dirty – even for a short period of time – will soon become problematic to the organization, Being flexible during the merger is one of the fastest ways to gain brownie points and increase your chances of being saved.
4. Build Relationships
Research shows that people who are recommended by an influential person to jobs are much more likely to be invited to interview and be offered a job than those who are not recommended. Even if you don’t like networking, you’ll need to embrace it during the course of an M&A deal. Build relationships, forge alliances, find sympathetic colleagues (especially senior-level colleagues), and demonstrate your value.
5. Prove That You Are Invaluable
Throughout the process, you’ll need to be able to demonstrate that you are invaluable. When push comes to shove, the company chose people who contribute the most (in terms of technical skills and positive attitude) over those who can be easily replaced.
Make sure that you have an elevator pitch prepared, and be ready to deliver it to influencers and decision-makers. Your pitch should outline your key skills and positive differentiating qualities in a way that convinces the organization of your worth.
With these five tips, you should have all the tools you need to maximize your chances of survival during M&A activity.
Remember: If you do manage to survive, your job is only half complete. You’ll need to take further steps to thrive in the new culture. To do that, you’ll need to let go of the past and embrace the present and the future wholeheartedly.