Talk it through

When you talk about
mergers, it’s easy to
focus on lofty topics like strategy, high finance and
intellectual property. After experiencing a merger ourselves, we
learned those things are important, but true success comes
from communication and trust
— subjects you don’t hear discussed in the boardroom.

On Jan. 1, our company,
Lazorpoint LLC, merged with
Caxton Growth Partners.
People often make dating-marriage analogies when talking
about mergers, and that analogy
applied to us. We had worked
together for some time and
shared the same values. We’re a
technology consulting firm that
had been a Weatherhead 100
winner, had experienced tremendous revenue
growth, and had engaged Caxton to help
us grow faster and
find the best talent.

As we worked
together, we realized
that joining forces
would create a powerful combination for
our clients.

We began planning for the
obvious operational issues —
accounting, invoicing, client
service, human resources — but
soon noticed that our 28 employees were more preoccupied
with mundane procedural
issues and routine daily questions. That’s when we learned
that you can’t communicate
enough when going through a
merger. We had team meetings, regular e-mails,
memos, everything
you could think of,
but it still wasn’t

We realized we had
to treat internal company communications no differently
than you approach
advertising — it
requires repetition before it
becomes effective. People hear
and absorb messages differently;
while one person gets it the first
time, others need to hear it
repeated in different contexts
before they understand.

Our second lesson was about
trust. Even though we shared values and target markets, we
found we approached many
things differently, even things
that seemed as simple as running a meeting.

So how do two organizations
come together to form a single
entity? You have to spend a lot
of time together. You can’t identify all your issues in advance, and
you have to accept that disagreements and frustration will occur.

But just because someone
leaves the toothpaste cap off in a
marriage doesn’t mean the marriage is over. We worked through
it, put the cap back on and trusted our colleagues to focus on
the right things to grow the business and serve our clients.

DAVID LAZOR is CEO of Lazorpoint LLC ( and a member of the Cleveland
Chapter of Entrepreneurs’ Organization (, an international organization of business owners dedicated to helping each other learn and grow.