Modern Middle Manager
Primarily my musings on the practical application of technology and management principles at a financial services company.
Monkey Wrench

Saturday, December 13, 2003  

Last week was tumultous. Management announced that we would be merging with a sister company. Well, merging is awfully loose -- in a tale of two management strategies lasting at least the seven years I've been here, we triumphed and will be absorbing the losers. It is not politically correct to cast it in those terms, yet I've written before that the relationship between the two companies up to this point was like that of a marriage to a cheating spouse. My company was forced to be faithful by fiat, the sister company attempting to please any suitor but us. Now that all changes.

The timing is horrific, coming as it does during a conversion of our wealth management accounting system and the transformation of our banking strategy. However, our clients will be reaping a windfall from this once the merger is finished. For the first time in almost a decade, our clients will be served by an investment department that is 100% aligned with the wealth management division.

What does this mean for my department? Combining two companies requires combining their IT systems, software and infrastructure. My mandate is for a seamless yet speedy approach. Yeah, right. So what to do?

I've been reading the book Five Frogs on a Log which is about handling mergers and written by a couple of managing partners with PriceWaterhouseCoopers' M&A division. I'm not sure if that should recommend the book or not. In any case, the authors make one very good point -- the merger has been announced, uncertainty is rampant, people know that change is going to happen. So? Make the most of it. If the plan is going to disrupt people, do it now. To wait is to lose momentum and cause a return to the status quo, making it harder to (in my case) actually push any initiatives through. Something to think about. For now, I'm off to draft the plan.

posted by Henry Jenkins | 12/13/2003 03:30:00 PM

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