“Mergers and Acquisitions” as a BAM Resource: Part 1

in this episode >>>> the PEAS IN A POD difference

BAM practitioners and coaches can learn from Mergers and Acquisition globally. Most BAM start-ups are exactly THAT – a merger of two cultures. So it’s worth paying attention to issues facing those scaled-up M & A initiatives, even if you are an American forming a team with village partners in a Mango Cart start-up.

Aperian Global has a useful article — Culture: The Forgotten Link in M&A http://www.aperianglobal.com/culture-the-forgotten-link-in-ma/ that suggests
“8 ways to improve the performance of merging teams.” I’ll leave out their chart and call your attention to a few* of the eight in this blog and the next.
(Be sure to see the linked article.)

*Avoid assumed similarities and underestimated differences
I spent an unusual amount of time with a Pakistani associate, same age, reasonably conversant, assuming my friend was an equivalent thinker and potential leader. I am not diminishing his human worth or my efforts to respect him by what I say here. But, typical of an American (atypical of most cultures in the world), I treated him as an equal. Another Pakistani noticed my interactions and offered this encouragement to help me realign my perceptions: “That man is a dirt farmer, you know.”

Americans simply assume and seek similarity. That’s not all bad, just a culturally grown habit. We are also prone to underestimating differences. To neglect to understand the huge significance of cultural difference is a barrier to communication, and may spike your efforts at merger in an Other culture.

*Due diligence regarding competitive environments
I think of myself as more of a collectivist than most Americans, at least with my close friends. You can borrow my tools, I will give you some money if you ask and I have any, and we try to have an open door to our home. So you are thinking, “Hey, me too. I’ll usually share my stuff with friends. Our church has potluck suppers every week. I meet with a bunch of guys and we ‘share’ everything about ourselves. We’re just peas in a pod.” peas

however, check this out
SOMALIS. . . are expected to care for and provide economic help to members of their clan whether they know them or not, an obligation that more than one of the Somalis [in America] I interviewed resented. Nevertheless, they may still fulfill their obligations. That those who should assist those who have not constitutes a hard-core belief.
(from Sandra M. Chait’s Seeking Salaam: Ethiopians, Eritreans, and Somalis in the Pacific Northwest, Univ of Washington Press, 2011)

I have more to say about Somalis, I know one very well. And this is also my experience.

What does this have to do with “competitive environments?” For true collectivists (“like me”), there is something in the reinforced concrete at sublevel 14 that disallows me doing better than you.

Chait has more to tell us:
[They] generally see themselves and their communities inextricably linked, their health, wealth, and well-being interconnected in a marriage of reciprocal responsibilities and loyalties that play out over the duration of their lives. This means that the personal dream is conjoined with the communal one, the individual with the group, and both depend on the other for their success. The connective lines to success radiate out from the individual to the family, to the clan, the ethnic group, the national entity, and, beyond that, to the religious community.

By the way, you can discover this first-hand by attempting to “get close” to an immigrant family new to the USA. You really can get close, but expect then to be “all-in.” Take a moment and imagine too how the collectivist difference might contribute to church life.

the point for Business As Mission (BAM)
Our Western sense of individual accomplishments, independence, and self-reliance is challenged by most non-Western cultures. And it’s challenging to them.

In your due diligence regarding the competitive environment, the collectivist DIFFERENCE has implications.

BAMer beware.


About rbuddglobal

Towards Business As Mission becoming skilled culturally. Alongside West African colleagues who train workers to go cross-culturally. Learning, teaching, communicating, and being with others to make disciples for Jesus who welcomes all.
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