Anamcgary's Blog

Leadership thoughts from PeopleFirst HR

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Leaders Ethical Responsibility

We all make mistakes.  But as a leader of a major corporation, small business, national security, etc. those mistakes should be minimal.  The moment you accept the responsibility, the compensation, the perks, etc.  Your responsibility to ethics becomes so much more than it was when you were rank and file.  Ethical leadership should be practiced all the time by anyone in a leadership position – whether that position is formal or informal, intentional or unintentional. There are no times when it’s more appropriate than others, nor are there people for whom it is more appropriate than for others.

There are definitely times when ethical leadership is more difficult than not – when there are hard choices to make, or when the right choice is clear but unpleasant (confronting a nice person who’s simply not doing his job, and making everyone else’s harder as a result, for example, or acting against your own self-interest). In fact, the difficult times are when ethical leadership is most important, because the stakes are higher.

The stakes in ethical leadership may also vary widely, depending on the level and responsibilities of the leadership in question. Few leaders of business organizations find themselves faced with the kinds of life-and-death decisions that may be experienced by national leaders.  Yet their decisions can still have serious ethical and human consequences, even though those consequences may play out in a more limited sphere.

Ethical leadership is part – although by no means all – of the definition of good leadership. Being an ethical leader is a full-time job – it isn’t something you can put on and off at will. You either are or you aren’t, and if you are, you have to try to be one all the time.

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Successful Mergers Part II

So once you get the people part right. Another essential factor is effective leadership and having crystal clear objectives and direction. Not only the general purpose of the new organization, but 3 month, 6 month and the medium and long-term goals of the organization should be so clear that it is virtually  impossible for employees, management and customers to misunderstand them.

Effective communication is essential for companies to perform well and is even more vital for successful mergers. Both internal and external communication is the key to keeping employees on the right track, retaining customers and maintaining organizational stability. So why don’t all organizations communicate effectively?

Internal communication is not a legal obligation. External communication, sometimes being a legal requirement, is generally better handled than internal communications.

Communication can be time intensive for senior leaders. During the uncertainty, there might be clear and immediate answers to questions raised by the
employees, but it takes a substantial amount of time to communicate this, which managers may be reluctant to spend. Communication can include tough messages. There are, in general, very hard and sensitive decisions to take during the merger. Managers may be unwilling to be completely open and transparent with employees for fear of employee resistance and productivity loss. However, a lack of communication can create the same, and even worse.

It is difficult to quantify the results of communication. It, therefore, turns out to be more ‘desirable’ than mission-critical. Nevertheless effective
communication builds trust and acceptance, and keeps employees focused on the important work. It can mitigate damage caused by the ‘rumor mill’ and relieve anxiety.

Successful communication can inspire faith in and support of the company’s vision and culture. The key element of successful communication is two-way
communication. Listening as well as telling enables management to convey business, strategic or tactical decisions and receive important employee input.
What can enable effective communication in mergers?

Researching your audience.  Asking them what they want to know, and how they wish to be communicated with.

Getting senior leaders to lead the effort, and model the required behaviors.  Communicating clear and consistent messages. Training and supporting managers to leverage the power of face to face communication with their employees.

Monitoring the effectiveness of your communication, by using effective listening tactics. Besides the human factors, some management issues can occur during the integration phase, and hence establishing an integration team (even small mergers should have a focused team) that is charged with developing plans, projects and tasks to ensure the successful completion of integration is vital. This team should be given the financial and time resources to accomplish this critical step in the change process.

Last but not least; all the quick wins or achievement needs to be shared within the organization as soon as possible. Celebrating and publicizing those wins to everyone boosts morale and enhances productivity.

Mergers are difficult processes that require very good leadership and communication skills, crystal clear objectives, very good planning, show cases and most importantly the best people in the organizations to accomplish a thorough job.


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Successful Mergers Part I of II

So, What makes a Successful MergerHaving been through many successful and a few not so great mergers and acquisitions, I gathered some of the most important aspects to share with you.  Today it’s about people!

Statistics indicate that approximately half of all mergers are successful, but why not the rest? The process starts with detailed analysis and valuation of the acquired organization(s) and high expectations of increased productivity, share value, profit, and eliminating potentially redundant tasks.

One reason for failure can be that people working in the merged organizations who must implement the planned changes are normally disregarded during the pre-deal stage.

However, once the integration starts people begin to play crucial roles in the execution of the plan. Managers should not underestimate the people issues that might arise during this period.

Communication through the company can create either an effective or discouraging working environment. It is a difficult task to keep people motivated and engage people in the business particularly when those people are at risk of losing their jobs. It may be that individuals least well equipped to contribute in the new organization will be released whilst holding on to the best people. Apparently ‘the best’ are evaluated as having the best fit to the needs of the new organizations.

A solution to keep the best in the company is to be honest to the people and remember that we all appreciate frankness. People may not like to discover that their job no longer exists, but they would rather know it up front than to receive limited notice to leave the company. Mergers need good people to accomplish their goals. Consider specific communication for key talent.

Identify as many obstacles to success.  This will reduce the wasted time in later stages. Being frank to people and involving them in the brain storming sessions and gathering true and frank feedback from employees can increase the effectiveness of the process. Management should allow staff to express their worries, fears and anxieties about the merger, as well as their ideas, suggestions and possible roles that they may be interested in assuming. This helps people to be motivated and encourage commitment to the process.


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Why should you Vote?

People often say that, in a democracy, decisions are made by a majority of the people. Of course, that is not true. Decisions are made by a majority of those who make themselves heard and who vote – a very different thing.”  Walter H. Judd

  • You live in a democracy and that means that you get a say in who runs your country and how your country is run.
  • Voting shows your pride in your nation.
  • The only way democracy works is if citizens, young and old, are active participants.
  • Our country is a beacon of liberty for the rest of the world, stand up and be counted!
  • A government, by the people – for the people, just can’t work without the people!
  • And, If you don’t vote you really have no right to complain about government decisions you don’t like (no matter how bad those decisions are)