Strategic Mistakes Made Due to Fast Tracking
Had a very interesting discussion this week with a corporate executive who was complaining about the latest integration failures with a recent acquisition. As we discussed and dialogue the subject the issue became quite clear for both of us.
They were relying upon a group of Fast Tracking Managers to development and deploy the integration of the acquired company into their organization. Mistakes and issues were popping up it felt like we were watching a popcorn popper rather than a well organized company prepare for the future.
So what happened in this case (and many similar situations) was a lack of maturity and in depth knowledge about the industry and how people get the job done. In fact, I would call it a Job or Task Maturity Level issue which needs more leadership. In this case, I’m talking about leadership making certain all the “right” issues and elements of a merger or acquisition are being done.
What causes the Fast Track Managers to have a limited frame of reference or even limited choices to ensure their success. So here is the background for Cause and Effort Analysis of a Fast Trackers Mindset.
- Too many different jobs in a short period of time. Here the manager could experience success due to matches to the culture of the organization or a strong supporting cast of workers who know what to do for their department or division to succeed.
- Lack of a Deep Understanding of a Business unit or the marketplace. When managers are moving fast through several job positions, they have little opportunity to truly understand the deeper levels of an organization and the factors contributing to their success. There is a lack of understanding relative to the effects of business cycles or economic cycles upon the performance of a company.
- Limited Business Knowledge including all the technology and processes or systems necessary for high performance. These managers lack the knowledge for deeper discussions about compatibility issues or even key elements relative to volume or reporting requirements.
- Emphasis upon the “numbers” which by their definition are historical in nature. Does this person have the ability to look into the future and recognize opportunities coming in the future or does this manager only relate to past events?
- The emphasis upon financial systems and internal planning processes limits their ability to foster the relationships and unique capabilities of a business unit to deal with competitive innovation. In other words, if this manager develops an internal focus along their career pathway, then their ability to be responsive to competitor or market driven challenges is limited at best.
There are few of the items Fast Tracking Managers accumulate along their fast tracking career paths within their companies. Unfortunately, when they are assigned an important objective of acquiring and merging another organization into their company – well there are potential issues or oversights on the part of these managers.
Here is a short list of potential (and documented) mistakes created by well intended fast track managers with little long term background knowledge or business understanding.
Strategic Mistakes of Fast Tracker Managers…
- Acquisitions are Made with little thought about Integration
- Too many Initiatives are placed upon the People to execute – overloading agendas
- Collaborative ventures are formed with little attention to Competitive Consequences
- Real Talent is let go for political reasons rather than performance reasons.
All four of the above Mistakes are made at some level within an organization during a merger or acquisition. The Key Factor is to minimize these issues with open and honest dialogues between executives involved in the process. In fact, I would go so far to suggest it would be time for a “Robust Dialogue” between the executives to ensure everything is on the table.
Another point is to minimize the “EGO” factor during this type of activity or initiative. EGO is based in emotions and filters out the facts which challenge the feasibility of an acquisition. Make certain the numbers and the “cultures” are a right fit or there will huge issues during the integration of the companies.
Use the list of items to review your current Fast Tracking System. Are there checks and balances to insure all the learning is in place and discussed with the fast tracker? Does the Fast Tracker have a Mentor to take them under their wings to provide knowledge, expertise and wisdom to the Fast Trackers? This Mentor element is an important element to the overall success of your fast tracker or high potential career path.
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