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BREXIT – An example of missed integration or a lack of leadership?

Similar to political integration, company mergers needs internal advocates, consistency and transparency

The recent vote of British electors to leave the European Union had a lot of attention in the world media that were prompt to point the economic issues and failures of the union as well as the impact of this decision to the financial world, the uncertainty created for industry and trade as well as possible skepticism of investment community.

These comments were in sharp contrast with the interviews of citizens of both sides that were talking of benefit of more protection, national pride, lost of career opportunities, worry of their future, depending on their political inclination as their prime concerns, not really finance. For sure they realize there is a link but it was not the main element they were advocating when talking about their hopes and worries or when they made their decision.

Like for company mergers, political integration all is not about finance and short term

It would look like an evidence that countries do not share half a century of common adventure if it were only for banking, currency or financial ratios but it seems that the message of why it started was lost somewhere along the way and vacuum was filled by more immediate concerns, that for legitimate they are, are techinicals and probably not able to federate.

I was reading recently the book of a former French foreign minister that was sharing some of his conversations with president Mitterrand when he was at the office in the 80’s. For this generation that had seen the horrors of the second world war, building Europe was building peace. Ensure that disagreements between neighbors could be solved without blood. And it was very successful. Not only members of the EU have abandoned the idea of armed conflict between themselves but we didn’t see either any significant incident between communities despite significant exchange of populations.

For young people being able to study in Germany, create a business in Poland, marry somebody from another nationality.  For seniors, being able to retire in Spain and commute. For employees, be part of a larger community that would preserve their jobs. These are the motivation expressed in the blogs that popped-up in the recent week. But it seems the European political world has been shy in advocating these recently.

Like for Political integration, company mergers needs internal advocates, consistency and transparency.

Companies, like countries are human groups and as such working together for a mission. Create confidence, trust, align with the mission and stick to it is the key expectation stakeholders have from a leadership team when the uncertainty of an acquisition. Be able to express a vision, embody it and drive it with consistence is an asset. The sooner the better.

Sticking to the targeted business model and objectives and being obsessed about its achievement is one of the secrets of a successful post Integration.

This involves a number of conditions, among which tireless communication and transparency is of prime importance. Having a core integration team and key management level aligned, fully coordinated and giving weeks after weeks, months after months the same signal to the rest of the company on progresses on the big picture as well as small steps achieved is a tremendous chance for success of an integration.


Philippe Bouchet

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