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Protecting Your Company's Culture After It's Sold

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on April 25, 2008

Protecting your company’s culture is a huge priority when selling the business—especially if you’re the entrepreneur who built it. But it’s naive to believe that an organization can undergo a change in ownership without seeing an impact on the culture. The challenge is successfully navigating these tricky waters.

For starters, don’t underestimate the magnitude of change, nor its impact on your organization. Despite all the up-front negotiation, commitments, and caveats, things are going to change. The good news is, many of these changes probably needed to happen anyway.

Second, realize that you’re going to feel incredible pressure to grow: find new clients, expand into new geographies, and add new products and services. The upside of growth is the opportunity it creates. The downside is the pace of change it drives. Change, even when it’s good change, is still hard. And it has a major impact on a company’s culture.

The net-down? While a company’s values shouldn’t change, its culture will. Embracing that change and guiding it is the key. Listen to your employees. Be honest about the good and the bad. Step up your commitment to talent development. Identify the people who are willing to change and excited about the opportunities that growth brings. And find ways to help them thrive in the new environment.

No matter what, your culture is going to change. The opportunity lies in changing it for the better.

Sherri Leopard
Broomfield, Colo.

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