Many promises are made at the altar during a merger or an acquisition. Most of them get broken. It is worth reminding yourself of this now, before the next wave of whirlwind corporate romances arrives.
So far this year there has been only mixed evidence of renewed appetite for M&A. Sure, the proposed £40bn ($66bn, €47bn) merger between the mining companies Xstrata and Anglo American caught the eye, just as Oracle’s $7.4bn deal to buy Sun Microsystems and GlaxoSmithKline’s $3.6bn move for Stiefel Laboratories did.
The past three months have been relatively quiet, however, as businesses wait to see how robust any potential economic recovery really is, and whether finance will be available. Getting valuations right at a time like this is in any case extremely difficult.
Apple is so protective of its operations, that it senior managers have apparently released false information in internal meetings in order to identify the source of stories that had made it into the public domain
Why aren’t businesses and organisations more innovative? Are they filled with dull, unimaginative people? Are they lacking crucial “core competencies”? Or are their people just not working hard enough?
The answer to those last three questions is no, no and no. Something else must explain the inability of companies to display greater innovative flair. What is it?
The problem for senior managers is that, as you walk round the business or study the organisational chart, nothing much may seem to be wrong. People are at their desks or in meeting rooms, hard at work. Something that looks like two-way communication appears to be taking place. And then there are all those e-mails, instant messages and texts. You can be confident that good ideas must be flowing freely within the organisation.
Cirque du Soleil is 25 years old this week. To celebrate, the company on Tuesday tried to set a world record for the most people simultaneously walking on stilts. It will take the auditors at the Guinness Book of Records some time to analyse whether they realised their ambition.
For anyone wondering whether we have our finger on the pulse of management, our story on how Generation Y is may be more similar to the Baby Boomers than marketers and managers had thought taps in into a rich vein of discussion right now on a group commonly defined as “demanding, selfish, text-addicted job-hoppers with little loyalty to their employers”.
Stefan Stern writes a column on Tuesdays on management. He is winner of the 2010 Towers Watson award for excellence in HR journalism, and has previously won awards from the Work Foundation and the Management Consultancies Association.
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