2013 05-19 iStock_000020205592XSmallLeadership View #7:

When merging or combining two organizations, it has been estimated that 60% of the people will be relatively indifferent, 20% will be strongly supportive, and 20% will be strongly non-supportive.  Focus on the 20% that are strongly supportive and converting the 60% who are neutral.

It is so easy to be drawn to want to “convert” those who are negative. Whether it’s the one customer we can’t seem to please; or the one person sleeping when we are giving a presentation; or the one person on our team of 25 who always has a negative comment.

And the same applies when combining organizations. There is an old adage that mergers succeed or fail based on cultural fit. My experience when combining organizations or adding a significant number of people to an existing group, is the culture bends. The core of the culture remains and it bends to accommodate and subsequently grow from the additions or the merger.

Those who are supportive and positive can inspire us as leaders to carry on and inspire those who are neutral to come on-board. Why waste our time on negative energy, when we can create more positive energy?

Questions for you to consider:

  • When was the last time you were leading an integration and felt drawn down by negative reactions?
  • Upon reflection, what percentage of those involved in the merger was actually negative?
  • What might you do next time to notice what percentage is positive to neutral and focus on them?


Elisa K. Spain


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