How to Handle Business Mergers

Business mergers can help two companies to keep trading when times are tough. Sharing skills and resources whilst losing the worst aspects of both companies can make for a stronger organisation, better suited to the current economy. Over the years many companies add departments that become obsolete and start to lose money in one way or another a merger can force cutbacks and, although its one of the most difficult processes a manager will ever have to handle, it can save the business from going under.

One of the most important aspects of any business merger is very hard to describe as it will differ from place to place. This is how to merge the working cultures of two organisations into one. Imagine one business that has primarily skilled, older workers who work nine to five and do very little overtime. Another organisation has primarily young, enthusiastic trainees who put many hours in during the week and have regular staff nights out and activity days. It may seem easy merging numbers on a bit of paper, but you have to merge these two working cultures into something that makes sense for everyone involved.

Often compromises have to be made. For example, senior members of one company may not be best suited to sit on the new board, but office politics dictate that they have to be represented. You might need to keep certain employees that given the choice you wouldnt.

It is also very difficult, especially if you work for one of the two companies, to keep morale in both places high as the merger is taking place. Inevitably new roles will be created and some jobs will be lost. People will have new colleagues and find that their old ones, who they have formed friendships with, no longer work with them. A good manager can navigate these difficulties but sometimes its hard not to get involved in petty squabbles over territory that often break out.

The best tip for handling mergers is to choose the best people to oversee it. People that understand their company inside out, who know which people would be best suited for the new roles, and who arent afraid to make tough decisions and to make them quickly. You cant pretend to know each of your workers and the workers in the other company but managers should know their sections well. Use their knowledge and make sure you carry out your decisions in a tough but sympathetic manner. If you can navigate the merger quickly the business will be set up in its new format quickly, meaning people can start to understand their new place and get on with their jobs. Being in limbo lowers morale and loses your business money each day it continues.

Bert Steiner has worked in manufacturing for many years, making everything from guttering to insulation. He has owned several small businesses and likes to write about business management.

When to Have a Temper Tantrum in a Negotiation

If you want to make a point, a deliberately-staged temper tantrum might fit the bill. What makes this effective is that it is unexpected. If done sparingly, you can show that you mean business. Having a temper tantrum can also backfire. If a negotiation is particularly volatile and the parties are already discourteous and rude, a temper tantrum is not going to stand out.

If you do get angry, it should be on purpose and for effect as though you were an actor in a play. Generally it is better to be polite and charming, but not too charming or you will seem insincere. If you get angry and it is not staged, then you will be out of control. As Shakespeare said in As You Like It., ” All the world is a stage and all the men and women merely players.”

The whole negotiation process is acting to some degree. You don’t want the other side to know what your position is and how you really feel. However, on rare occasions, you may feel that the timing is right to show anger. Just make sure you are acting and in control.

Here is an example. When you are told your reserved hotel room has been given to someone else, that controlled anger may be a way to get the hotel’s attention since they generally won’t want you to make a scene. One the other hand, you are always taking a chance that you will humiliate yourself. It is best to try this when you have nothing to lose and may never see this person again. If you go forward, prepare your script and practice just as an actor would do. Give details so the person knows why you are so upset. Since you are in control, don’t go overboard with your performance. When you stage a scene like this, always end with a proposed solution. Otherwise your performance may be wasted and the other party may not feel like proposing a solution after you have yelled at them.

Watch Out For These Landmines When Negotiating! They Will Blow Up on You Every Time

When going into a negotiation, you must be aware of what kind of self-talk is happening in your mind. Chances are if you are like most average negotiators, you are experiencing some version of the Assumption-Compromise-Assumption thought process.

First, the chain of events is set of by fear or doubt in your position in the negotiation. You think that there is either something wrong with what you’re offering, or there is a fear of your negotiating opponent.

What happens in your head is something like this: “I wonder if they are going to think my consulting service is too expensive? Maybe I should drop my price a bit. Maybe they are going to think I’m crazy for asking so much.”

The first assumption is that the person you are going to negotiate with will think that your price is too high. So, you start to compromise by lowering your price. You justify that with another assumption that they would certainly think you’re crazy for asking such a high price.

You’ve just successfully negotiated against yourself before even meeting the prospect. Why did this happen?

The main culprits are a lack of confidence in what you are offering and a lack of a proper negotiating system.

First, go back to step one and really consider what it is that you are offering. Whether it’s a product or a service, analyze its value and be sure that you are comfortable representing this product or service.

The car ride to the prospects office is not the time to think about this. You should have confidence in your offering long before setting up an appointment to negotiate with someone. If you haven’t done so yet, go back and be sure to do this or you will be stuck in the Assumption-Compromise-Assumption trap forever.

Now that you have 100% certainty that you are offering something of value, it’s time to turn on the self-talk monitors.

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