Corporate Culture Alignment in a Company Acquisition

As mentioned in the post ExactTarget and Pardot Join Forces, the majority of acquisitions fail due to poor corporate culture alignment. While it seems like companies win or lose on the basis of their technology, more often than not it’s due to their corporate culture behind the scenes. A strong corporate culture doesn’t mean that everyone is nice and likes each other, rather, it means that the people who work at the company are aligned around core values that are consistent. The core values could be that people are aggressive and assertive or that people are positive and self starting — there’s no judgement on the actual values, only that they are consistent.

Here’s ExactTarget’s core values:

  • Treat people well
  • Be easy to do business with
  • Stay true to permission
  • Make clients look like heroes
  • Empower marketers through software
  • Make decisions like an owner
  • Have an entrepreneurial spirit
  • Pursue our goals as a team

Here’s Pardot’s core values:

  • General: be the best place to work and the best place to be a customer
  • People: positive, self-starting, and supportive

While the words used to describe the two different company’s core values don’t overlap, for all intents and purposes, they attract the same people. With people of similar personal values brought together through an acquisition, the chance of success is significantly improved.

What else? What are your thoughts on corporate culture alignment in a company acquisition?

One thought on “Corporate Culture Alignment in a Company Acquisition

  1. I agree that the cultures need to match up and when you are going through the diligence you think they will. But at the end of the day the company acquiring your company is buying you for a certain reason and most of the time it is not culture. That is the main reason why most companies that get acquired lose that special culture. I know this from when I sold Solar Velocity and our culture died. We were also voted top place to work in Atlanta in 2007 but that all went away in a matter of a month. I hope Pardot has a better story to tell in the next couple of months.

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