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Change for the better

With organisations in the wind sector keen to enhance their competitiveness, capital growth and expansion, we are seeing an increase in small and mid-size players taking advantage of opportunities to be acquired and move forward. But the potential pitfalls must be carefully navigated to ensure successful change. PES welcomes Paul Arnold of change management experts, Able and How.

Whilst the fast-paced transformations 
in the structure and ownership of these organisations are largely driven by rapid technology changes and the need to buy new skills and IP, the primary goal is ultimately to capture additional value by either merging or de-merging.

On the surface merging appears to offer organisations unfettered growth opportunities, yet the reality is that they frequently under-deliver, and there is a good reason for this.

Deal does not drive value
In the haste to push through a merger many companies fail to adequately develop a comprehensive change management strategy. This may not appear to be a major omission, yet there is both a long and short-term cost to pay. The inability to capitalise on rapid adoption of the merger, and to build a company-wide change capability, can seriously undercut the potential benefits of the merger.

The fundamental reason for this is that value is only really captured in execution. And while focusing on the technical solutions may seem to be the driving force behind the merger, it is not sufficient in itself.

To be effective, the merger or de-merger must transform the business through people’s successful adoption of change.
Of course each deal is unique; however, they all share a number of common characteristics. Every merger requires people to behave or perform differently, which is where the value will begin to leak out of the deal if a robust change strategy is not in place to mitigate that risk.

If there is a lack of clarity regarding who takes the lead, the subsequent lack of accountability can have a negative knock-on effect. Yet even in a ‘merger of equals’, there is a dominant partner. And this needs to be well established from the outset to ensure full delivery of the changes to fulfil the promised value of the merger. In effect it is not so much the deal that drives this value; it is the delivery of the changes. This is a subtle but powerful difference.


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