First class coach

First class coach - My company has just merged with another, similar-sized, company, and we're expecting an influx of new staff from the partner business.

by MARGARET EXLEY, a non-executive director of the Treasury'smanagement board

My company has just merged with another, similar-sized, company, and we're expecting an influx of new staff from the partner business.

They will be joining at all levels - some senior to me, some at the same level, and some directly answerable to me. How can I best assess the skills and personalities of my new colleagues?

Research suggests that only half the mergers and acquisitions made deliver their business promise. In each case the acquiring company or lead partner has paid a premium for the business to persuade shareholders it's a good deal. And so the newly acquired business has to perform better to justify the high price. Yet most of these mergers fail because the people side fails. The cultures don't gel or the leadership fails to impress, or there are disagreements about the best way to run the place. So your question is the right one - not only for you but for the business as a whole. Capitalising on the skills and capabilities of people in the merging businesses is crucial in ensuring a return on the investment.

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