There was a great post last week on LinkedIn by Sallie Krawcheck about what to do during the first 90 days of a turn around. I highly recommend everyone read the article as many of the concepts can apply to you very quickly (you are acquired, management change etc…). You can find the full article here (https://www.linkedin.com/today/post/article/20121113154043-174077701-what-to-do-in-the-first-90-days-of-a-turn-around?_mSplash=1) but there were a few key points that I really loved.
Listen – probably the most underrated tool in your arsenal anytime you are going through a change. While past experience is certainly great, not everything will fit into the same box. For example if your company acquires another, they might seem like a typical remote office to you but they are probably more like your corporate headquarters in terms of complexity and politics than one of your small remote offices with limited people, departments and infrastructure.
Don’t put down the team that came before you – another important option and one that can be sometimes hard to ignore but its important listen to both sides of the story. I once worked at a company where the IT manager was replaced, for seemingly a multitude of reasons but the ‘last straw’ was a project that was perceived to go very poorly. In actuality, the request from senior management was a no win situation for him – do something he had never done, in a condensed period of time with no budget…. the IT manager didn’t stand a chance in that project. In fact, what he was able to do in 3 days (versus 2 imposed on him by management and what I would argue could have and should have been a 2-3 month project with their resources) was nothing short of amazing and he would have received praise from me for what he did. Coming in and bad mouthing the previous manager would have been easy, but I also would have been wrong. Months later when I uncovered the entire story I brought it up in a meeting when the former manager was being put down – he was never spoken of poorly again (at least when I was in ear shot).
The last point Sallie makes is to move quickly. This is important – I have been through several acquisitions and the one that was by far the best was also the quickest. The day the acquisition was announced a guy showed up (well not any guy he was a systems engineer with the new company) with a server under his arm. In less than a day we were on the corporate VPN, had new VLANs defined that fit into their existing structure and a domain trust and new domain controller on the network. Now it was just flipping switches – email person by person was flawless and didn’t impact anyone but for more than a couple of hours, user accounts and existing systems were moved and readdressed but no one lost access.