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The two companies have agreed in principle to merge. As employees hear about the impeding merger there is growing fear, doubt and uncertainty. Leaders are too busy working on the deal or trying to make this month’s numbers to respond to employees questions. The fact is, leaders know little more than the employees.


How can anyone bring their ‘A’ game under these conditions? Will the deal unravel like before? One thing is certain, people can expect many more months of uncertainty. Isn’t there a better way to integrate so the people and businesses thrive?


Creating a strategy and integration plan alone won’t lead to flawless execution. So often organizations spend tons of resources, money and time on integration plans only to toss the plans over to the leadership and assume it will all work out, and it doesn’t.


Last I checked, businesses are run by people. The difference between successful and poor execution comes down to “how” people are led, “how” the leadership engages the organization to take the ideas and plans to reality. Imagine if a professional football coach created game plans, but never practiced the plays and expected the team on game day to execute the plays flawlessly. With so much riding on making the deal work, why is leadership often overlooked as a critical integration solution? What leaders do and say matters to the success of the enterprise.


Get to the heart of the differences in merging the two entities by engaging the executive team in cultural integration discussions that go beyond the tactics and logistics. Don’t assume that integration periods need to be exhausting, gut-wrenching, heroic feats that leave people emotional drained and exhausted. Keen leadership with a focus on both “what” needs to be accomplished and “how” it’s carried out can energize an organization. Define the leader’s role and equip leaders to be able to juggle both the integration activities and the day to day business.