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90 | AD Today 2018 | OWN IT In a recent McKinsey survey, a whopping 92% of executives surveyed said that past acquisitions would have "substantially benefited" from greater cultural understanding prior to the merger. Indeed, "the number one reason for a merger's failure to achieve the promised value is culture clash," confirmed Bill Kaiser, Senior Consultant at AD HR service provider High Performing Culture in Medford, NJ. In a community of AD independent distributors that have acquired more than 130 companies over the last 5 years, the ability to integrate two cultures seamlessly post- merger is essential. Below are the 5 key pieces of advice compiled from AD leaders, industry experts, and independent distributors that will help you have a successful merger without alienating the new team. #1: HAVE A PLAN IN PLACE Before you follow through with a merger or acquisition, make sure you've planned ahead and have a process for integrating the two cultures. While "companies often have good processes for managing the financial and operation aspects of an acquisition, it's just as important to have a cultural assessment and integration plan and process," shared Neil Cohen, AD Senior Vice President of Human Resources. "Build time and budget into your schedules for integration, because even if you want to minimize change out of the gate, there's a lot of work to be done. Be patient, roll up your sleeves, listen intently to your team, and work the plan," agreed Renee Lytle, CFO of AD member E.B. Horsman & Son in Surrey, British Columbia. #2: MAINTAIN CULTURAL DISCIPLINE After a merger or acquisition, it's important to integrate the new team into your company. "Onboarding is a difficult and emotional process on both sides and often, in an effort to welcome the new team, acquiring companies go out of their way to maintain aspects of the previous culture," said Ed Crawford, President of AD Electrical Divisions & Chief Marketing Officer. By doing that, "you risk creating cultural silos that can be extremely difficult to break and can have significant negative consequences. I recommend that the acquiring company not change its mission or values. You acquired them, and most employees of the new company will expect there to be some changes." A big part of this is making sure you fully understand the incoming

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