The Comptroller General convened a forum in September 2002 to identify useful practices and lessons learned from major private and public sector mergers, acquisitions, and organizational transformations. This was done to help federal agencies implement successful transformations of their cultures, as well as the new Department of Homeland Security merge its various originating components into a unified department. There was general agreement on a number of key practices found at the center of successful mergers, acquisitions, and transformations. In this report, we identify the specific implementation steps for the key practices raised at the forum with illustrative private and public sector examples. To identify these implementation steps and examples, we relied primarily on interviews with selected forum participants and other experts about their experiences implementing mergers, acquisitions, and transformations and also conducted a literature review.
At the center of any serious change management initiative are the people. Thus, the key to a successful merger and transformation is to recognize the "people" element and implement strategies to help individuals maximize their full potential in the new organization, while simultaneously managing the risk of reduced productivity and effectiveness that often occurs as a result of the changes. Building on the lessons learned from the experiences of large private and public sector organizations, these key practices and implementation steps can help agencies transform their cultures so that they can be more results oriented, customer focused, and collaborative in nature.