7 Ways to Thrive when your Company is Acquired

Mergers and acquisitions have winners and losers. You’re the winner if you’re on the acquiring side. You’re the loser if you’re being acquired.

Disingenuous winners tell people that things won’t change. This is a lie.

Change:

Reporting structures change. You may have fewer direct reports. You may have a new boss. People will be transferred or terminated.

Economies of scale mean you’ll lose autonomy. Relationships with established vendors may go away, for example.

Clinging to the past makes you an enemy of progress.

7 ways to thrive when your company is acquired:

  1. Remember that fear makes you stupid. Fighting the inevitable may make you feel big, but it’s small and self-destructive.
  2. Prepare to be terminated. Reconnect with friends. Build new relationships. Start looking for a new position inside or outside your current organization.
  3. Shift loyalties. The old has gone. The new has come. If you don’t shift loyalties, you’re a traitor. Don’t make new people and new leaders the enemy. You work for a new organization now.
  4. Go gently to the gallows. Make transitions easy, even when it means you’ll lose your job. You may be asked to train your replacement. Do it with a smile. Resistance is futile and self-destructive.
  5. Ramp up gratitude. The practice of gratitude elevates you above the poison of bitterness. “Resentment is like eating poison and hoping someone else will die.” (Quote Investigator)
  6. Express flexibility. Let higher ups know you’re willing to change jobs or relocate, assuming you are. Being part of a larger organization often provides new opportunities.
  7. Practice compassionate leadership during turbulence. If you’re stressed, your team is stressed even more.
    • Avoid complaining.
    • Don’t minimize pain. “I know it’s uncomfortable. How can I help? How can we make a smooth transition?”

(#6 and #7 are insights from a corporate leader who is currently in an organization that has been acquired.)

How might leaders navigate the turbulence of being acquired by another company?

What tips do you have for thriving during an acquisition?

Bonus material:

7 Tips for Surviving a Merger or Acquisition (CIO)

Surviving a Merger (MindTools)