At some point, your three percent organic growth, although perhaps respectable in your industry, will become less than attractive for the organization. As such, the senior leaders or the board may recommend a more aggressive, inorganic growth strategy that encompasses a strong spring of deal flow, pre-acquisition due diligence, and post-acquisition integration, typically driven by the project management office.
Make no mistake – there is seldom a merger. Instead, there is typically an acquisition and often, the integration of disparate employee teams into an expansive geography. Separate functional groups working in different locations drive incredibly inefficient and often dysfunctional redundancies in their implementation of various programs and initiatives.
IT, though a broad-reaching shared service, is often a good but unfortunately painful example of this scenario. Infrastructure, large projects, pockets of unique expertise, mandates by business units, and the critical nature of the organization’s operational efficiency based on a consistent and productive IT strategy makes matters worse. After any acquisition, IT leaders often recognize that a reorganization and reprioritization is not only necessary, but critical to seamless continuity. The goal is often to break down us-versus-them silos and get people in Europe, Asia, and the Americas talking to one another not only to improve IT services, but to create efficiencies in the desired output. So, how do you break down silos and get people talking? First, map out social networks of intracompany relationships to reveal who is most overworked, most isolated, and most connected without alienating any particular employee or teams. Then, convey the painfully clear value of collaboration or lack thereof.
You would be amazed at how many people are disconnected across functional lines by physical distances or even with those working on key projects. Some are to be expected, but others can cause enormous pain and redundancy in an organization. Often, reorganization is needed based on functional groups as opposed to teams of experts. For example, if the enterprise resource planning deployment team does not fully understand the critical steps in the process, nor do they develop the relationships with the frontline users of that technology to extract candor regarding what is really broken and how to fix the process before implementation is sure to fail.
Many cross-functional social networks often become enablers to more effective communication and unity in their respective parts of the bigger picture. Geography creates a very real disconnect, which team-building sessions can help overcome. Last, strategic knowledge communities in areas such as project management, process reengineering and client services previously unknown to the senior staff, can emerge.