Business Tip Image by Pete Linforth from PixabayThis is the 56th in a series of business tips from industry leaders that Enterprise Times has interviewed. Enterprise Times recently spoke to Michael Speranza, CEO of Kantata. Speranza led the merger of Mavenlink and Kimble Applications to become Kantata. I asked Speranza for a tip he could give another business leader starting a merger between two organisations.

Michael Speranza, CEO of Kantata
Michael Speranza, CEO of Kantata

“When you’re merging two companies, I think culture is the number one element to focus on. It’s fundamentally different than acquisition. In a merger, you typically try to preserve the best of both. That’s not always true in an acquisition, especially if it’s a David and Goliath scenario acquisition.

“A merger is very, very different. You have to be very patient. You have to involve the staff and the employees in the process, and they want to feel like they’re helping offer the future of the company. It’s essentially like creating a new vessel for folks to contribute to.

“When we started the journey, we made a statement to all our staff. We were dealing with two companies that had evolved over a long period, for 10 years. Everybody had a lot of passion around what was built in. We just said to everybody, ‘Look, you’re all founders of Kantana’. It was essentially reattaching all that positive emotion that they had about what they had built, and just directing it towards something new. Making them feel that we were committed to that approach and that we’re really going to be thoughtful about taking the best of both and bringing it together. That’s the number one piece of advice I have for a merger and ensuring you’re super thoughtful about it.”

Is renaming important?

Was the decision to rename vital? Did it help enable both sets of employees to be in this one team going forward? If you retained one of the names, that could be a huge risk; you might alienate half your employees.

“Yes, that’s certainly a point of view that you could take. That wasn’t one that informed ours. But it was certainly a point of view that you could take when you’re going through a merger. It’s really just about the brand equity that you can have and how you’re trying to best carry forward.”

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