Most of us in our roles as leaders have to deal with groups and organizations of all kinds, yet we continually find it amazingly difficult to understand and justify much of what we observe and experience in our organizational life. Much of the behavior we observe in our organizations seems to be “Bureaucratic,” “Political,” or “Irrational.”

But as leaders or managers, when we try to change the behavior of peers or subordinates, we often encounter “resistance to change” at a level that seems beyond our reason. As leaders who are trying to move our organizations towards becoming more effective in the face of severe environmental pressures, we are sometimes amazed at the degree to which individuals and groups will continue to behave in obviously ineffective ways, often threatening the survival or success of the organization.

With the diversity in the stakeholders we work with, there are certain values and norms that are expected within each group. How is it possible that in a hospital, the doctors, nurses and administrators in organizations are fighting with each other rather than collaborating for the common good of the patient and their families? How is it possible that employees report unsafe conditions, yet the organization continues to operate the same way until a major accident occurs?

There are basically three levels of culture. The first, are considered artifacts; which include the visible structures and processes; and the observed behavior which can often be difficult to understand. The second are the espoused beliefs and values. It is here that we find personal ideals, goals, values, aspirations, ideologies, and rationalizations that often contradict with others and the needs of the organizations culture. The third, are all of the basic underlying assumptions which include the unconscious and taken for granted beliefs and values. Critical to leadership is an understanding of how leaders create, embed and transmit culture. It also requires leaders to know how to manage culture change and to find new roles for existing leaders/managers and new leadership that will be required for the transforming organization.

These capabilities are so necessary to achieving organizational success after a merger or acquisition. Statistics tell us that in the last twenty years, approximately 55% – 77% fail to deliver on their intended financial results. Most acquiring organizations lose money on the acquisitions. It has been proven time and time again that this is primarily due to the ineffective assessment and integration of cultures from the combining companies involved.

Cherye Morgan LLC is a firm that helps leaders develop and improve their roles in an evolving culture to best match the needs of the organizations. We are also prepared to do the due diligence, assessment and integration planning that is necessary when mergers or acquisitions are finalized.