Integrity Matters Broadcasts
December 1, 2004
Have you been reading about the new company that will
combine the “K-Mart blue light special” tradition
with the “good, better, best” promises
of Sears? It is difficult
to imagine any larger cultural challenge for building and
sustaining organizational integrity, let alone economic
success. Identifying and clarifying common
operating values must become priority # 1.
Someone, very soon, will need to clarify and communicate
the new corporation’s operating
values. Organizational Integrity will be possible when all of the stakeholders
know clearly how they are to behave, from Wall Street to
Main Street and from corporate row to the frontline service
representative. If the merger generates more success, then
some creative and highly paid “business architect” will
likely seek all of the credit. If things go poorly, watch
these very same self-serving guru’s duck for cover
and wrap themselves in the egalitarian “cloth coat” of
committee-driven politics. Suddenly, democracy is what
these “leaders” will talk about if this merger “goes
south” because everyone will claim that they are
all in this together, equally, with no one really in charge
Those who might have failed in successfully rallying
the necessary resources for “perfuming this genetically-altered
economic pig” will now energetically participate
in the cannibalistic feeding frenzy. When mistakes are
made, and such a large undertaking will likely experience
many, the two regular (indictment) questions will surface.
What did they know? When did they know it? So, what would
drive this seemingly counter-productive merger action?
Years ago a valued advisor made the following comment: “Remember,
mergers are more about what you give up than what
you gain.” Some
very wise business scholars have analyzed this multi-billion
dollar deal and are scratching their heads in disbelief.
What prompted two struggling entities to combine their
weak bottom lines? What pressures could prompt such differing
organizations to join forces under the same roof? What
economic drivers forced this “shot-gun” wedding?
How do you spell Wal-Mart?
Now, let’s get serious. We know that just about any
organizational and leadership combination can be made to
work, if all the participating and consenting parties are
committed to the vision and mission and are signed-on to
a unifying culture. Sears and K-Mart leaders should conduct
an audit to make sure that all parties involved know that
their respective cultures are now subject to change (giving
up the comfortable and familiar) in order to leverage the
new possibilities that can be created by mergers and acquisitions.
We have built a consulting practice helping leaders
to improve productivity and avoid common organizational
pitfalls by securing YES* answers to these four questions.
When the response to each of these questions is yes,
then no issue can polarize the group or create destructive
behaviors. Yes answers confirm that successful individuals
know the right way to do the right things, repeatedly,
whether in domestic or multicultural organizations.
When organizational beliefs are clear and operating
behaviors are consistent, then productivity-enhancing
alignment is the by-product. Organizational, operational
and cultural alignment enables members of teams to
improve longer-term effectiveness along with immediate
economic impact. Insight, awareness and discipline
lead to success. What are your answers to these four
- Do the people involved understand
the required skill sets to make individual jobs and the
members of their team productive?
- Are they valued by and bring value to the organization?
- Are those involved aware of and committed to
the vision, mission and strategy?
- Are the participants signed-on to the organization’s
supported behavior and culture?
For the K-Mart and Sears merger to work, or acquisitions
with which you might be familiar, of almost any size,
from individuals getting married (merged), to economic
giants deciding to combine (acquisition), leaders
must step forward and clarify the ground rules (operating
principles and values). Everyone who is impacted
needs to know what is expected, clearly and immediately.
Sometimes a third (new) culture needs to be delineated
to integrate the two.
Progress can be measured along
the way, but only when the “right” (effective)
behavior has been defined. Frequent
check-ups can build confidence among those charged with
delivering results and the best way to enhance effectiveness
is to listen. Click here to learn one way to gain input
from colleagues, utilizing our 90 question Feedback© Survey that
breaks out leadership
responsibilities into five
categories. Samples of five of the
ninety questions, with corresponding Feedback© Survey numbers
in parenthesis: http://www.brachercenter.com/feedback.html
Can disagree without offending people?
Is the person a good listener? (46)
Will the individual get tough when it is
called for? (19)
Does the person encourage excellence? (27)
Training and Development:
Does the individual encourage others to grow? (13)
Our January Broadcast will address team