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Dealing with post-merger realities

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in Leaders & Managers

During a merger, managers often agree to commitments they can’t achieve. As the post-merger leader, you need to watch out for managers who made overzealous agreements during the negotiations. Lend a helping hand if managers say:
  1. “I can handle it.” Type A managers say they can shoulder extremely heavy responsibilities, even though they can’t.

  2. “We will exceed our efficiency targets.” To protect their jobs, managers often agree to uphold unrealistic efficiency standards.

  3. “Our systems will be converted ahead of schedule.” When that doesn’t happen, executives fall behind and experience excessive stress.

  4. “I won’t need as many people as I did before the merger.” In the merger frenzy, managers often agree to give away key employees.

  5. “We have created a great new culture and governance structure.” What looked great on paper—and what everyone agreed to—usually does not prove ideal in practice.
—Adapted from “Five Statements that can haunt executives after a merger,” Walt Shill, available online at

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