Day 1 Merger Flop – Blame Training!


For months the training department had but one objective before day one of a merger of equals.  Within the course of hours, it becomes apparent that the acquired company lacked the skills to pull off a smooth transition for the customer, and day one became a flop.  Who is to blame?  Why the training function, of course!

Now before we cut off the heads of everyone working for the training function, we ought to hold a few others accountable.  Yes, the training manager lacked the core competencies to prepare the new employees to perform their job, but who hired this person, and who allowed a weak training plan to be implemented?  Many will agree that a lack of competence prevents you from knowing you are missing the mark until it is too late, so is the training manager really at fault?

Yet, if the training manager had been able to see past the workshops his group created, that failed to build all of the necessary skills, he would also have been able to alert management of process flows that were going to jam up in the new locations.  He would have been able to suggest a different training plan before day one to compensate and better prepare all employees.  IT would have changed systems, and tested differently and administration could have adjusted policies.

So while the training manager was lacking the competencies to do his job correctly, it is really the fault of his manager for hiring him.  Especially when this hiring manager had been advised a year ago that the competencies he was seeking to hire needed to be more if the company was planning to grow.

But the ultimate blame for a day one flop lands at the doorstep of the CEO.  Not only does the success and failure of the company rest at his doorstep by design, he had the opportunity to ignore the executive that hired the training manager’s manager and go with his own choice of a candidate.  Instead, he yielded to his friend, and his friend failed him with an internal promotion of another under-skilled person.

Not to mention that the CEO had been contacted by an expert in training development that warned him of the potential disaster if they didn’t provide this inexperienced training manager some strategic help.  This CEO ignored the help, and day one was a flop.

But like most corporate disasters, the lowest hanging fruit will pay the price of poor management decisions.  Training will get the blame.  Too bad the board of directors are unaware of what is really going on inside their company.  Or maybe they do know, and the CEO is about to learn a valuable lesson in managing.

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