During mergers and integrations, companies often experience a catharsis in their strategic priorities. No stone is left unturned. Every assumption behind the status quo is called into question. This soul-searching is absolutely necessary. 

Business model configurations change during these times, and we need to rethink whether what worked previously will still hold true in the new, merged reality. However, one thing remains unchanged, no matter what situation or business model a company ends up with after the merger. That is the need to delight its customers with better products and services. 

Smoother customer journeys

The constant push to create the best experience for our customers is what keeps us competitive. And the key ingredient to enhancing our product portfolio is continual innovation in our new product development. Innovation pushes us to create smoother customer journeys. It shows us how to add comfort to the experience and value to the price.

During the course of a merger, the promise of scalability needs to be delivered to the market. However, the harsh reality is that innovation often becomes a synergy lever at times like these. Leaders are faced with delivering hard targets under extremely tight timelines. The window of opportunity for returns on investment shrinks. We devote disproportionate amounts of our budget to solving the problems of today, while we neglect those who are exploring the value pools of tomorrow.

Innovation as an attitude

Innovation as an attitude

Innovation is an attitude. It fundamentally defines how we create new experiences for our customers and beat the market. This attitude is backed up by behaviors such as openness, empathy and a relentless pursuit of customer satisfaction.

In times of mergers and integration, when decision makers are rightfully weighing costs structures and future strategies, I believe we need to do three things and do them really well:

  1. Align innovation with the company’s new strategic direction.
  2. Have a great growth story for the market, with strong fundamentals to support it.
  3. Foster accountable autonomy, which is essential for the teams who are developing new products.

It is always tempting to take the easy road

Yet we must remain committed to protecting our long-term relationships with our customers and upholding our competitive position. In times like these, we should ask ourselves the tough questions about leveraging resource fluidity and quantifying the effects of innovation activities on EBIT.

Our growth initiatives are like saplings, struggling to reach maturity. As leaders, we must provide them with fertile ground and shield them from the harsh winter. These initiatives are our future. Let’s focus on nurturing them, so they can grow to become the thriving forest of tomorrow.

Innovation as an attitude

First published on LinkedIn on February 10, 2020

About Thomas Birr
About Thomas Birr
Thomas Birr is a dedicated strategist and innovator with over 30 years of experience in the energy sector. His career reflects his own personal approach to life: energetic, unwavering and enterprising. He has served in wide-ranging executive positions, forging strategic leadership skills with his extensive expertise of energy, innovation and a global vision for the challenges ahead. Future Forward is Thomas’s personal blog, in which he shares his unique observations on leadership, innovation and the power of change.

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