Mergers, Acquisitions, and Your Career

A corporate restructuring is often a stressful time. Many uncertainties exist for an undetermined period of time. Will you be demoted or laid off? Who is going to be your boss? Will the projects you are working on be cut? This can be nerve-wracking. How things work out is usually beyond your control but you do have a choice in how you respond to the situation.  A few tips for success:

Prepare Thoroughly

Ambiguity and uncertainty is a big contributor to much of stress related to change. Increase your understanding of the situation and gather as much information as you can to ease your mind.

  • Do your homework—research and study available public information.
  • Be interested–learn as much about the people, culture, and business of the other company.
  • Ask plenty of questions and phrase them in a way that shows enthusiasm rather than resistance.
  • Consider every meeting akin to a job interview and the next few months akin to the first 90 days of a new job. Prepare and seek to impress. Network and get to know new people.
  • Ensure a smooth transition for your current area of responsibility.

React Well

Keep your emotions in check. A merger or acquisition makes for a stressful time so it is understandable that you might be on edge, but take care of yourself so it doesn’t negatively affect your decisions and behaviors. Regardless of your actual feelings, display optimism (for the most part). Granted, if there are actual concerns you don’t want to brush over them, but don’t go around infecting everyone with unsolicited pessimism. Keep an open mind: instead of “this won’t work” change the tone to “how can we make this work?” When presenting arguments, especially those that may not be received well, use data and facts rather than opinions and emotions.

Add Value

Mergers and acquisitions create new opportunities not only for the organization but also for employees who are willing and able to act on them. New systems, new people, new processes, new responsibilities because available. This can allow you to enhance your skills or position yourself for a promotion.

To exploit the opportunity, take on additional responsibilities to demonstrate your competence besides what was required of your immediate position. Take the lead in change management. Most of us are at least somewhat resistant to change, but it is inevitable, so don’t fight it. Help strategize, plan, and develop new products and processes. Get others on board with you. Don’t forget to also keep lines of communication open about preferences, assumptions, and plans.

As with most things, when you approach the situation with curiosity, positivity, and an open-mind, you put yourself in a better position than if you remain defensive, hostile, or obstinate.

 

Eva Rykrsmith

Eva Rykrsmith is an organizational psychology practitioner. Her passion lies in bringing a psychology perspective to the business world, with the mission of creating a high-performance environment. Follow her @EvaRykr.

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