Leading an Acquisition

Leading an Acquisition

In 2013, a financial-services firm headquartered in San Diego, acquired another firm – headquartered near Detroit with a large call center in Tampa. A senior leader of the San Diego firm was named General Manager of this acquisition and moved to Michigan to oversee the integration of the two organizations.

TDF International had worked with this GM previously, when he led a start-up operation within the acquiring company, and he asked TDF to help him with this project. He understood that leadership was needed to bring the managers and employees of the acquired company through this transition, and he valued TDF’s grasp of the human issues in these kinds of change.

Jerry Klarsfeld, CEO of TDF, served as the GM’s leadership consultant. He also sent experienced members of his team into Michigan and Tampa to learn the issues confronting the managers and employees.

What they found was people who had been through several years of turbulent change already, as their company downsized and closed sites trying to remain viable. They were exhausted, even before the acquisition. Then they lost most of their senior team, the Tampa site was quickly shut down, and they faced new uncertainties and fears. They could look around their building and see empty floors with empty desks.

The managers were working two jobs – their regular jobs and the integration jobs. Headquarters was now 2,000 miles away, where they knew no one. And they knew more lay-offs were coming.

The  acquiring company had already decided to send all the managers in Michigan through TDF training, to learn the “language” that was already in wide use within the acquiring company. The Michigan company had had limited managerial training, and this was immediately successful and well received. And the GM made a great hit with his visibility and accessibility, and with the commitment he showed by moving his family. These quick wins helped.

TDF recommended, in addition to coaching and upgrading the managers, rolling out a program designed in conjunction with the GM entitled “Making the Most of Change,” to energize as well as to educate people in dealing with the personal impact of continuous change and uncertainty and to motivate them not to be passive victims, but to own their jobs and commit to the future. The entire staff went through this program in small groups, with the GM speaking and with high levels of interaction and two-way communication. It was a great success.

“TDf helped to galvanize (my former) organization at a critical time and supported the achievement of these goals. The TDf team was a major factor in releasing the energy needed to achieve the outcomes.”
JOHN TOMLINS, OPERATIONS DIRECTOR
Selestia Investments

“TDf has been the most useful and impactful tool I have experienced in my twenty-plus year career!”
DIANE BROWN, VICE PRESIDENT FOR EXECUTIVE DEVELOPMENT
Conseco Finance