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Merger & Acquisition Success: Part 1: Front End Alignment

If you don’t get the wheels for your car balanced and aligned, they’ll pull to the left or right and wear out faster. Front end alignments are not just about automobiles and road trips. They are critical to successful change initiatives, post merger integrations and even to new Presidential administrations.

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Don’t start a post merger integration — or Presidency — without it

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If you don’t get the wheels for your car balanced and aligned, they’ll pull to the left or right and wear out faster.  Evidence of that is how many of us have had to replace our tires with the tread on one side okay, while the other side was bald.  A faulty balance or faulty alignment and you may not finish the journey.

Front end alignments are not just about automobiles and road trips.  They are critical to successful change initiatives, post merger integrations and even to new Presidential administrations.  Former head of strategy at Texas Instruments during its heyday, industrial engineer turned management consultant and founder/owner of Los Angelesbased Management Overload (www.m-overload.com) Ward Wieman has developed a Triaxial Model™ to do for management teams what your car mechanic does to keep your car on track.

Before you can take his model for a ride, your company, organization or your administration needs to pick a destination – a compelling, convincing and consistent vision of a future that your people will want to be part of and make a reality.

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X Axis – What’s important? Wieman has set out 14 key functions that most business leaders would agree are essential to the success of any enterprise. Ask your team members to prioritize which of the 14 key functions they believe are the most important to success.  This will immediately tell you two things: 1. What people view as the most important and critical functions to focus on; and 2. Who’s on the same page.

Y Axis – How good are we at those things ? After arriving at a consensus about the most mission critical functions, do an assessment of how good your company or organization is at them.  This type of assessment approach has the wonderful advantage of preventing your organization from becoming distracted by people’s personalities;  rather, it’s about making sure that there are only strong links in the chain. It’s not personal, it’s about performance.

Z Axis – How do we align the corporate culture to get good at what we need to be good at? This is about getting the right people in the right job doing the right things, realigning others who might not be a fit, and letting others go who might be a better fit in another company or organization (Note: delaying the inevitable hurts everybody).

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Wieman claims that he helps companies and organizations run like a swiss watch.  I’ve watched him do just that for fifteen years.

P.S. – So that there is no confusion, Wieman is not an auto mechanic or tire salesman.  Therefore, you are still stuck with the more basic task of aligning your own car tires.

NEXT: Part 2: Building an “All for One, One for All Team” in an “All About Me” World

About the author

Mark Goulston, M.D. is the Co-Fonder of Heartfelt Leadership a global community whose Mission of Daring to Care it dedicated to identifying, celebrating, developing and supporting heartfelt leaders who are as committed to making a difference as they are to making a profit

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