Understanding Mergers, Acquisitions and Downsizings

Since 1985 Susan Van Vleet Consultants, Inc. has helped corporations and individuals through difficult transitions. It is the people who will determine the success of the transition a company is implementing. Specifically, will the individuals that do the actual work of the organization successfully get through the emotion and psychological mine field of change to bring their full ability to bear to the new entity? Or will each successive change cause the individuals to disengage more and rob the company of the productivity necessary to make the transition a winner.

Why is it that 70% of all mergers do not create a financially more viable entity than the two organizations were separately? With all the elimination of redundancies and efficiencies of scale available in a merger why is it the economic advantages are never fully realized? Why do people resist and cheat work-arounds in enterprise wide software implementations?

Hundreds of millions of dollars are spent with the net result being headaches and frustration that never seems to go away even years later. Ideas that have such promise on paper seem to succeed so marginally in reality.

It is because ultimately people have to change to make the “new” successful. They have to be given the tools to make the change work for them not just the organization.

We cut our teeth on the downsizings of the late 80’s and early 90’s with astounding results. Every plant closure and reorganization where our programs were implemented broke production records while coming in ahead of schedule. We continue to exceed client expectations wherever our programs are used.


We give the individuals a way to take responsibility for making a successful personal transition. It is not “what” you do as an organization in these huge transitions it is “how.” How you treat people. Everyone is watching. Every employee that is staying to run your company in a downsizing or merger is watching how those that have to leave or move are treated. They will decide consciously or unconsciously how much to devote themselves to the new organization based one how they and people around them are treated.

Naively managers think that if the individual has a job after a transition he will work in his own best interest to make that entity a success. That would be true if human beings had no emotion. If all change didn’t create a wave of fear, anger, resentment, and betrayal. Any manager who has lead through a big transition knows how illogical people can be. You can walk into any work place in the world and if you ask the employees why the organizations looks the way it does they will give you a history lesson of all the failed transitions. They will show you the scars of how they were treated.

Today’s younger talented knowledge worker will simply leave if they are not managed well. In one of the most famous mergers of the last 10 years, where our courses were utilized, management was committed to keeping the most prized talent to the two companies. This was not an easy transition. Moving families across the country were required. While the organization as a whole attained a respectable 68% retention of crucial workers when our program was implemented retention was an unbelievable 100%. Four years later, the retention rate is still 100%

We assisted in an SAP implementation rated the third best ever by SAP. Why? We trained every level of the implementation team from leadership to super users to end-users. Every one understands that these enterprise wide software implementations change people’s lives. In some cases drastically. Successful software implementations demand communication skills as much as they do technical expertise. Most organizations focus completely on the technical side ignoring how much the disruption of peoples lives sabotages the implementation.

What we offer:

First and foremost we offer 24 years of success with multiple companies and a wide variety of transitions.

Two of our most acclaimed courses are used in most major transitions:
Managing Corporate Change© and Productive Relationships©. We may utilize one of our 14 additional courses or custom designed workshops for use only with your organization.

On site or telephone consultation is available to support needs as they arise.

References available upon request.

We invite you to contact us to discuss how we might help you with the specific needs you have for your transition.