Dean Fischer, West Monroe Partners CEO, co-founded our firm on a single belief “he with the best people, wins.” In a time when our firm continues to expand through acquisitive growth, this belief becomes increasingly more important in our quest to acquire new leaders and merge with unique teams with specialized skill sets. Prior to diving head first into a new relationship, though, we need to make sure that these possible partners embody the same values that are core to West Monroe’s DNA.
Before getting too serious with a significant other, we’re naturally inclined to dig up as many details as possible – but not even a one on one “screening” conversation with their mom or dad could reveal everything we need to know. It’s the same idea with mutual discovery: it would be great if we could just read an organization’s recruiting materials that talk about their company culture and values, and believe that we know everything there is about how they operate, treat their employees, grow their organization, etc. Or even better, if we could simply ask them directly without it feeling like an interrogation.
In our previous blog post, Image is everything – and you no longer control yours!, we highlighted a few examples of how social media can offer a pain-free channel to get to know your potential partners. Similarly, it is very telling how much you can learn about an organization by simply paying attention to its employees on LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter. We don’t necessarily need to know how many employees a company has, or even what service offerings they promote in the market, but instead I pay attention to how long their employees work there, if there is a core team that is essential to the company’s future expansion and delivery success, and the firm’s organizational structure – to name a few.
Social media freely offers up a wealth of information, but finding the perfect match involves some active, critical evaluation on the search party’s behalf. In a social profile, Mr. Right might describe himself as a multi-sport athlete, but what’s the underlying value? Is he a health nut? Or does he just love competition? Depending on the answer, you might see your personalities intertwining perfectly, or catastrophically.
This information tells us a lot before we get in too deep – does the same belief system serve as the infrastructure to uphold a Target company? Successfully integrating cultural norms can make or break a successful merger or acquisition – decision rights and perceptions of who’s in control will not only influence the dynamics within the newly merged entity, but it will also influence customer perceptions of the newly integrated entity. And, ensuring there is limited to no client service disruption is the single most important aspect of a merger or acquisition.
The best way to maintain client satisfaction is to ensure you are not impacting the quality of your firm’s talent pool through acquisitive growth. West Monroe Partners was founded on a simple premise: hire talented and creative people, keep them challenged and happy, and the solutions will take care of themselves. When it comes to growth, acquisitive or organic, we continue to stay true to our firm’s original vision over 10 years later.