If your company has been acquired, you can expect change. Change is often good, but not always, and usually not for everyone. At the level of VP Sales, you need to evaluate your future within this change. Do you anticipate the new management keeping you where you are? Promoting you? Is there a chance they terminate you or your position? What about the team you manage? All of these scenarios should be analyzed from a variety of angles.
In this blog, I’ll help you evaluate your future with your company post-acquisition. There are a few different ways you can do this. Each can provide great insight. The first step is to get a feel for what your future with the company holds. Then you’ll be able to make the best decision for your own career.
Get started with your preparation by downloading the Sales Leader Acquisition Preparedness Guide. This will help you stay focused and aligned as you prepare for change.
1) Do Your Research
Even before changes start to take place, you need to know what to expect. Study the company that acquired you. First of all, have they said anything via a press release? This may give you a hint as to their goals and future initiatives.
History can also give you a great indication of how the acquisition will go. Does this company have any patterns that they follow? If they often buy companies and grow them, your future may hold new opportunities. If they quickly reduce costs and redundancies, many people will experience a quick exit.
Were you a competitor of the acquiring company? If so, it’s possible that they’re simply after your customers. If you can quickly prove your value you may find a role. However, it’s also very possible that they’ll clean house early on.
Try and get a copy of the new company’s current corporate structure. Can you get any information that shows the organizational structure before the last acquisition? Compare it to the current structure. Will you have a spot? Jeffery Krug wrote in his book, Mergers and Acquisitions: Turmoil in Top Management Teams, that “target companies can expect to lose 40% of their top management within 2 years of an acquisition.” Think critically and determine where you’re likely to fall.
2) Leverage LinkedIn
This is yet another scenario in which a wide LinkedIn network proves valuable.
For starters, do you know anyone at this new company? If so, connect with them. Engage in as many conversations as possible. Try and get a better view of the organization’s culture, people, and overall vision. Use 2nd and 3rd degree connections to connect. You need “inside” information from trusted sources to get a feel for the future.
Secondly, are you connected with any recruiters who have done business with this company? They will have great insight into the way the company operates in these circumstances. Pump them for any and all info.
Lastly, look for connections from companies they have acquired previously. Are you connected with anyone who would have inside information? If so, reach out and speak with them. They have gone through the process you are prepping for. Is there anything you should do? Or not do? Learn from their experiences.
3) Be Prepared
There are certain facts about your current situation you can’t ignore. One of them is that you may not have a job in the near future. In that case you need to be prepared.
The first thing to do is update your LinkedIn account. Clean up and update your Profile. Examine your Reach for both Quality and Quantity. Utilize both of these elements to start productive conversations. Contact people that could potentially open doors and new opportunities if you are let go (or dislike the new management / structure).
You should also clean up any other job-hunting assets you have. Resume. Networking. Old connections. All of these elements should be revisited. Determine their value in the event that you need to utilize them for new career opportunities.
4. Continue to Drive the Business
Regardless of how the situation plays out, you’ll position yourself best by continuing to drive business. You still have a job to do. That can’t be overlooked just because a new company has come to town. So, don’t stop managing. Don’t stop contributing. Don’t let your level of engagement falter. Be a team player. Cooperate and do all that you can to make the organization successful.
It’s very possible that the new company notices this and keeps you around. If they don’t, you’ll have built a reputation for yourself for your new employer. The acquiring company will also be more likely to act as a reference. Don’t forget that it’s a small world. That world gets even smaller when you stay within the same industry. Represent yourself accordingly.
If you’re about to be acquired, don’t panic. It’s probable that change is on the horizon. But if you cover these 4 categories, you’ll be well prepared. Whether you stay or go, you’ll be sure to land on your feet. Leverage the Sales Leader Acquisition Preparedness Guide to help get you to where you need to be.
The FT Management blog is offering ten tips from Scott Moeller. He is a professor at Cass Business School, and author of Surviving M&A: Make the Most of Your Company Being Acquired. He knows a few things about how to thrive in post-merger cubicle land:
- Find ways to add value.
- Don’t rely on your boss – in a merger everyone looks out for themselves.
- Be patient – don’t make rash decisions about your role. But also don’t wait too long.
- Don’t be a complainer. Be perceived as a team player.
- Expect change and don’t resist it. Adapt to the new dominant culture.
- Use your network, both professional and social.
- Understand the new partner’s objectives, not just your own company’s.
- Promote your capabilities and accomplishments.
- Volunteer to serve on an integration team.
- Prepare a contingency plan.
Many of these points are simply good advice for getting along in the corporate world generally. They’re doubly worth keeping in mind if you’re facing uncertain times after an acquisition. Does anyone who’s been through a difficult M&A transition have any tips for those facing the prospect of company-wide upheaval?