Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Using the web to manage a merger

Mergers and acquisitions are tricky ventures. The outcome is seldom in line with pre-M&A projected benefits and unexpected obstacles appear once the operation is under way. Failure rate is high and the drain on management's energy huge. I have not come across many good assessments of success and failure factors for mergers, let alone "good recipes" for success, if there is such a thing as a fail-safe recipe in business. However, something that all failed M&A have in common is the people factor: cultural incompatibilities, resistance to change, desire to keep a corporate identity, urge to preserve corporate values, fear of loss of jobs...

That's why I really like the initiative of Arcelor-Mittal to invest in a web TV that allows employees as well as outsiders to follow and contribute to the process of creating the largest company in its industry. The mission of the web TV is clear: documenting the creation of one of the greatest companies in the world. It's a creative and daring way of using modern technologies and the power of communities to help people let go of what is no longer and to move towards a common goal: the successful transition to a unified ArcelorMittal. Of course, the fact that the project is run by one of my customers, Vanksen, only makes it more enjoyable for me :-) There was an interesting article about that on the International Herlad Tribune a couple of days ago.

clipped from www.iht.com

Arcelor-Mittal Web TV documents the strains on staff

Account on Web tells full story of anxieties in a shotgun marriage

With a budget of €350,000, or $467,000, and the backing of the company's top management, Arcelor Mittal's reality show has appeared biweekly since February, unfolding to a basic company plot: "Will they succeed? At what cost?"

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