Leading M&A Change: Sounds Simple Enough....Right?


Wrong. Championing and leading change in an organization is a critical component for a successful outcome or transformation. Double that when leading change in a merger or acquisition. Making the right decision to acquire a company or to merge with another involves a lot of research and planning. And sometimes, a ‘hunch’ turns out to be golden.


But the right decision done wrong can be painful and ugly and totally avoidable.  

When executive leaders relegate the change effort to a transition team and aren’t involved, or limit their involvement, they sacrifice all the goodness that can come from a successful merger or acquisition.


Here’s what executive leaders can do to help lead a successful merger or acquisition.

 1. Be visible. Show up. Lay out the vision for the future of the acquisition or the merger. Don’t have someone else do it. This is your responsibility.

 2. Communicate early and often. You can keep moving forward and avoid a business ‘pause’ by sharing information freely and frequently. The staff will keep their eye on the ball and even become energized if they hear from you regularly.

 3. Be truthful. Be transparent. People respond positively to truthfulness and transparency. They may not like everything they hear from you, but they’ll respect that you were honest with them.

 4. Have courage. Public speaking, town halls or producing a video may not be your strong suit. Sincerity overcomes awkward every time. So be yourself and focus on plain talk.

 5. Engage a change coach. A good change coach is worth every penny. They’ll help you plan. They’ll analyze feedback and provide wisdom.

 6. Keep your promise. If you say you’ll give monthly updates, do it. If you say you’ll be transparent, be it.


Your personal effort as an executive will result in increased revenue during the merger or acquisition and will help to avoid the dreaded dip. Employees will make the discretionary efforts needed and could be even more engaged and energized than prior to the change in ownership.


Try it.

Let me know how it goes.

About the Author:

carla headshot.jpg

With responsibilities that include growing Change 4 Growth, diversifying our solution offerings, and helping to get the right folks in the right place at the right time, Carla Cole enjoys the pace and the challenge. She serves a team that includes dynamic organizational change management, human resource and leadership development professionals, stellar project management folks, as well as, a great recruiting and staffing team.

Having extensive experience in sales, building high performing teams, training and organizational development and staffing, she has been involved in technology implementations and process change initiatives in healthcare, banking, finance, insurance, manufacturing, and distribution.

Carla’s commitment to serving clients and associates sets a high bar for increased organizational optimization and alignment, with measurable results and client delight. She loves what she does. The fact that every day is an adventure is just fine with her!


Brandon Friedel