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Change—Surviving a Corporate Merger

Just when I was getting used to yesterday, along came today.

Mergers and alliances between organizations are being spurred on by a booming stock market and increased globalization. As they are becoming a common feature of the corporate landscape, it is necessary for people to have a strategy to deal pro-actively with the consequences. Here are some things you can do:


    • Prepare for the worst at all times. This is not about being a pessimist, but about being a realist. Update your resume regularly, adding special achievements.

    • Maintain an extensive network of people who could assist you to relocate.

    • Upgrade your skills at regular intervals. Take advantage of any opportunity to learn the latest and greatest in your field of expertise.


    • Accept that you will have to deal with uncertainty. This is far better than wishing that the situation wasn't so or looking for scapegoats for your unhappiness.

    • Keep yourself busy. This will give you less time to believe every new rumour.

    • Prepare yourself for the new culture. Find out all you can about the organization you are merging with, particularly if it is the larger of the two. Get a sense of the corporate culture of the other company through networking and reading published annual reports at your stockbroker's, the library, or on the Internet. Specifically, find out whether it has acquired or merged with other organizations before, what has transpired with regards to rationalizing operations, and how people have been treated. This will give you a clue as to what to expect.

    • Try to understand why the two organizations are getting together. This will give you some ability to forecast likely changes. A merger between companies with overlapping markets could suggest more layoffs than one between organizations that complement one another.

    • Treat the changes as an opportunity. A lot of good people might bolt, leaving increased chances for additional responsibilities and promotions.

    • Invariably, many of the details of how to capitalize on the merger will be finalized in the trenches. Task forces will be set up to examine new opportunities or merge interests. Being on a task force will give you additional ability to control the future and will keep you informed about likely changes before they happen. It will also give you the opportunity to demonstrate your enthusiasm to people in a position of influence.

    • Assess your value in the marketplace. If you have a skill that is in high demand, sit tight. Resigning will be less profitable than sticking around for a financial package.

    • On the other hand, if you feel vulnerable and have skills that are neither in demand nor likely to fit into the new situation, you would be advised to begin a job search as insurance.

    • Finally, if you have a good relationship with your boss, talk to her in confidence and share your concerns. Ask for her help and guidance.

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