Recently, a gym closed down and this has been a common occurrence in Hong Kong in recent years. Members of this gym obviously want to get to a replacement gym so that their fitness regime is not affected. Unfortunately, there are barely any other alternatives left, barring one, which is the gym that I go to. This gym has been able to survive the tumultuous environment. Their survival, I think, can be attributed to the higher rates they charge v/s the deep discount that the others gyms tend to offer and also the quality of instructors that they hire for the various wide range of group classes they offer. As much as I like going to my gym because I enjoy the classes, recently, the experience has been stressful. Some members of the other gym have been given a free pass at the various locations they have. The number of people they have allowed in some classes have thus increased, creating a space issue in the class.
Further, many of these new participants are clueless as to the rigor of these classes and they either don’t listen nor understand instructions. Basically, the movement especially in Combat or TRX classes has become restricted and the flow is cut off when many of these new participants freeze in the middle of the class, lost and confused.
In my 20 years in Corporate life, with the various investment banks, I faced two mergers or acquisitions. While all of us within the firm that was taking over the other firm were told to watch our behaviors and language, and in the other case, be adaptable to the new culture, there were things that didn’t go pleasant. Sadly, in most of these mergers and acquisitions or entertaining an exodus of new staff or members, most people forget the long- time members or staff who have supported this organization for a long time. They discount the human element that needs to be considered in the way they are treated and the way day-to-day life can be affected.
There are many anecdotes you hear about a merger and acquisition turned sour or an expansion, too soon too fast, met with disaster.
This probably happens because in all the processes, procedures and various other methodologies, that are planned or laid out, the senior management and those who execute the plan, fail to engage people who have been with the organization for a long time or consider their view point. They are ignored in this whole process and the implied or explicit message to them very often, is deal with it or feel free to leave. Adaptability is essential and it is made easier if people made an effort to connect emotionally.
Very often people resist change because the need is often not explained and the results make their life worse and possibly increases anxiety and stress levels.
What do you need to do as a leader? Communicating with clarity is one of the first steps in anything that involves change.
1.Keep it simple
Communication gets complex and overwhelming when there is an overload of meetings, ever changing vision, and failing to let people know why is something being done and what is the end purpose. You demotivate people when there is a lot of tell, yell and sell instead of asking questions and trusting people to co-create. Simplicity can be achieved by co-defining objectives, and letting people know why is something being done and asking people for ideas as to how this can be done.
2.Be inclusive and transparent
Making statements that says all are important is great and yet meaningless, if the actions prove otherwise. You need to find out on what matters to your staff, what engages them and what will they need for this merger and acquisitions to be successful. Clarity is important and you need to be open and honest about where things are, why was the merger and acquisition done, how they fit in the overall vision. They cannot learn of important information through the grapevine or the media. Make sure that all employees are informed, each step of the way, about how the merger and acquisition is going on, where are they in the journey to the final plan, are there going to be any redundancies and what is the organization doing to make sure that these employees are looked after as they exit the company.
3.Know when to speak, and when to be silent
Observe and listen to what is happening around you. You create an impact by using your insights to cut through interferences and reframe situations that facilitate a shift in the thinking, behaving and feeling of others in a positive way.
4.Facilitate relationship building
Creating an environment where people don’t feel threatened by one another is crucial. Human beings don’t perform well in an environment that promotes uncertainty thus risking insecurity. Consciously set up groups or ways for people to meet up in a casual environment, and also work together. Achieving collaboration is key and this will not happen if the feeling of competition arises. As an individual, you should demonstrate your ability to get along with all types of people in different types of situations. Let your personal opinion not color your way of working with people and enhancing relationships.
Provide employees opportunity to show their value and how they can be useful in the whole merger and acquisition process. Failure to create an environment where each employee is encouraged to articulate what they can bring to the table is likely to result in disengagement and the prevalence of wrong emotions.
Cultural understanding and integration is something that is often taken for granted.
Emotional aspect is the most important element forgotten in mergers, acquisitions and in implementing changes. Aligning cultures and changes can be achieved when people earn respect, are appreciated and are able to culturally connect to who the person is.
Change is often resisted because of the unpleasant consequences associated or experienced with change.
What have you learnt from the changes or acquisitions that you have been through?
In any transition, our communication skills could be affected and thus our relationships. Connect with me for one-on-one coaching, group coaching, and facilitation or as a keynote speaker, to enhance your communication skills and self-confidence.