Having had the opportunity to be involved in and observe firsthand the dynamics of a number of mergers and acquisitions lately, I continue to be on the lookout for wisdom regarding the people side of successful integration.
In an article Successful Mergers Start at the Top (free registration may be required) published in the December 5, 2006 edition of The McKinsey Quarterly and excerpted from their forthcoming book Mergers: Leadership, Performance and Corporate Health, authors David Fubini, Colin Price and Maurizio Zollo discuss the pivotal role of the "top team" (the group of senior managers who share general responsibility for the organization's future). I found the following paragraph to have particular resonance:
But the top team must do more than just talk about the new company, adopt its language and trappings, and act according to its norms. The team must become the new company in the full sense. Its messages, processes, and targets must deeply incorporate the aspirations of the new company in a way that is visible to managers, employees, and even outside observers. As the top team goes on to integrate the company down the line, it in effect re-creates itself. The company is not just rolling out messages, processes, and a set of targets; it is rolling out itself.