Every company has its own culture made up of its shared beliefs, values and behaviors. Here are two examples:

 Jonathan’s company is seven years old and it reflects his high energy and excitement. As he continues to grow the company, he adds services, team members and equipment debt. He hires the best people he can and tries to make time to train everyone for consistency. It’s exciting to work there and Jonathan hopes he is making money. 

 Mac has owned his company for 30 years and has built it over the years to be profitable, dependable and high quality.  His crews have been with him for many years and are well paid and trained. He hasn’t grown the company at a fast pace recently because he is focused on maximizing gross profit and paying off debt. 

Imagine the challenges for the Buyer team even if they have done their homework on cultural differences. There also exists a third culture at the buyer. Now the parties will create a new culture as these three groups come together in the organization.

Kurt Lewin developed a Model for Organizational Change in the 1940s that includes three phases:  Unfreeze Change Refreeze.  During the Unfreeze period, it’s important for the team to understand the need for change.  Changes will be implemented during the Change period and individual participation is an effective way to get buy-in.  Finally, the “Refreeze” period is when the new ways of operating become more stable.  Everyone breathes a “sigh of relief” as they settle into the new culture.

This explains why a Buyer will spend time and attention on assessing the Seller’s culture and determining the “fit” with their own organization. Owners and managers of Sellers and Buyers can use these scales to begin to assess how the parties will fit together.


If you would like to discuss your situation on a confidential basis, please do call Alison at 224-688-8838 or email me at [email protected]. We’re here to help you Harvest Your Potential.

Alison Hoffman

has more than 25 years of experience in strategy, operations, mergers and acquisitions and delivering business-to-business client solutions. Her areas of expertise include managing operations for profitable growth, organizational design and strategy activation. She brings a wealth of experience through her work in evaluating, valuing and purchasing over 30 companies, leading company-wide cultural and business integration projects and consolidating best practices among business processes and corresponding computing systems. Read Full Bio