Tuesday, July 8th, 2014


Thoughts on the 4th of July in the United States:

Thoughts about freedom and acceptance of differences and of cultural blind spots–which of course leads to thoughts of merger and acquisition.

Here are some quirky truths I wrote 10 years ago about a cross-cultural acquisition. Most still hold true. 

 + All those people who think said something awful,obtuse and insensitive
   are thinking that YOU said something awful, obtuse and insensitive. 

 + Geographic distance breeds paranoia and huge cartoon like distortions.
    Everybody becomes a walking stereotype.

 + We are all new to virtual hallways. We don’t know how to find them.  We   
    need the informal hallways where people gossip, try out ideas and blow off 
    steam. Chance bumping into one another helps a company grow. Provides 
    informal resolution of conflict and allows ideas to develop. How do we do 
    that virtually

 + Working across culturally different companies makes people feel 
    incompetent and lonely more than we want to admit. Alliances are made to    
    help people feel secure rather than do hard work. 

 + Habits win.  We all fall for familiarity

 + Differences are both enriching and exhausting

 + Jet lag has more impact then we admit. Bad decisions, foggy meetings, 
       volatile reactions when bodies are present and brains are sound asleep.

 + Having more than one office means you have no home base and if you            
    do you shouldn’t.  Homelessness is neutral space to lead from. 

 +We’re all homesick for our own culture, our own habits, our own comfort in 
   our familiar ways.  Some people know it and show it.  Some hide it by 
   becoming over assimilated.

+ Compassion and good will are a discipline not a feeling.
   It is this discipline that makes acquisitions work and pay off.


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