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The Toll of the Takeover: Change Your Mindset

 

In delivering my motivational addresses on Change Management, I am often asked about the toll that mergers and takeovers have on the employees of the organization.

I view mergers and takeovers as paralleling the experiences I encountered after my two accidents. I went from being a competitive martial artist and Division I football player to a quadriplegic; from physically in-control of myself to fighting for my life in a hospital bed. During my extensive rehab, I had to find a new mindset. It led me to inspiring employees undergoing change in their organizations to overcoming the hardship they face in losing the familiar and the predictable.

The Fear is Real

In his 1987 book, The Employee Guide to Mergers and Acquisitions, Dr. Price Pritchett identified the fears of employees when they realize their companies are about to undergo takeovers. The fears include: uncertainty, ambiguity, mistrust, and self-preservation. During the takeover period employees are on-edge; they tend to not believe anything related to them by managements; and many keep low profiles, preferring to stay hidden and stay behind the scenes. I realized these behaviors were very similar to the patient who blames the world for their troubles, does not follow doctor’s orders for strength and conditioning, and essentially gives up.

There are much better ways to change the negative mindset when a merger or takeover is about to unfold. In January 2019, The Journal of Urgent Care Medicine presented a paper entitled, “Dealing with the Emotional Impact of a Merger or Acquisition.” Not surprising, three emotions set in throughout the organization: shock and numbness, suffering (as the full impact sets in), and what is called “resolution,” or as I like to call it, the “what are you going to do about it?” stage. After my initial diagnosis, I was first in shock, then I realized what the outcome could be and finally, what could I do to change my mindset?

While the fear is real, the ultimate outcome is up to every employee of the organization to either see themselves as “sick” or to overcome the adversity of change and accept that the best change agent is you. In accepting the fact that the takeover or merger is happening, there is the choice to blame anyone and everything on the takeover or to accept the situation and handle it as you would any growth experience.

It Comes Down to Positive Mindset

The organization Total Wellness Health outlined mindset-changing attitudes whether your organization is undergoing a takeover or merger or other sweeping changes. Among the most important coping skills to help employees manage change are using positive messaging – be optimistic about the future; develop positive relationships, especially with your new co-workers; be upbeat, even if others wallow in negativity; and always communicate with others in a positive way.

In managing change we each have a choice. Many years ago, while lying in a hospital bed, I was determined to have an optimistic vision of wellness and I worked hard toward that goal. A positive mindset is contagious and affects everyone around you. The best way to manage change is to be a positive change agent.

Contact Scott Burrows, Change Management Mergers/Takeover Motivational Speaker, through this website or call us at: (520) 548-1169