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20 Questions to Stimulate the Culture Conversation in M&A

Developing a people and culture integration plan requires some serious upfront thinking and debating amongst the Board, the CEO, and senior leaders on both sides of the deal. Here are 20 questions to stimulate the conversation about the cultural ambitions for the newly integrated organisation:

  1. What is the purpose of the united entity and is it inspiring and compelling (or boring and unconvincing!)?

  2. What more can the organisations become together? What is your dream for the new organisation’s future?

  3. What is your competitive advantage and the new value proposition for customers, your people, and other key stakeholders?

  4. How would you describe the current cultures of A and B? What objective data do you have to support that view?

  5. What cultural factors do you want to preserve and protect, and why?What cultural factors or differences could derail the integration and put the expected synergies at risk?

  6. How would you describe your ideal culture?

  7. What are the critical cultural success factors? What are you going to prioritise/where are you going to focus first?

  8. Is your desired culture and your brand aligned, and how do you know?

  9. How will you need to operate to deliver the strategy and achieve the deal objectives?

  10. What do you stand for and what do you value?

  11. How should people in the organisation behave?

  12. What’s not acceptable behaviour and what are the consequences?

  13. What is expected of leaders at different levels throughout the transition?

  14. What leadership do you need to take the organisation through this next phase of growth?

  15. How are the collective behaviours of your leadership team helping or hindering performance/progress?

  16. As a leadership team, how will you make decisions?

  17. How are you going to communicate your expectations and progress?

  18. In order to achieve the strategy, what is the best business model and the best structure for the new organisation – are you clear on the reporting lines?

  19. How will you determine who is the right cultural fit and who is not?

  20. How will you ensure you select the right people for the right roles?

Answering these questions will help to define an ideal culture to support the new strategy and raise the status of people and culture in the planning process.

To your success,

Linley Watson Australasia’s Authority on M&A Culture Integration

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