Merging Cultures: Bridging the Divide

Whether as a result of a merger or acquisition, or simply because the nature of their work differs from each other, you may have groups or teams in your organization who are odds culturally and behave accordingly. The result may be misdirected energy and efforts, an inconsistent understanding of goals and direction, and a tense, conflict-riddled environment. The financial and emotional toll on the organization can be huge, and particularly in the case of a merger or acquisition, a significant disappointment relative to expectations.

There are many ways to bridge a cultural divide. We begin with a process of deep listening, and move to develop a framework of productive dialogue and conflict resolution or transformative practices. Then, depending on the situation and what is required of those involved, we design a program of integration for you to build mutual understanding and, where appropriate, collaborative action to address a common purpose. As part of the process, we help you develop a set of operating principles to manage your expectations and behaviors.

Sometimes, the challenge is to change your culture. In these cases, we work with you to clarify the culture you envision for your organization, including the values that express who you are and how you operate, and the elements of your desired culture that best contribute to your success. Creating a new culture takes time and commitment, as existing values, assumptions and behaviors may need to be “unlearned” as part of the change process. We work with you to identify and move through impediments to change and create opportunities to help your desired culture come alive in your organization. As with all our engagements, we design our work so that we transfer to you the skills necessary to sustain lasting change.