What They Dont Teach You At Stanford Business School

Stuff you can't learn in B-school: LARRY CHIANG

What Employees Need to Know About Getting Acquired

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Larry Chiang studies the tendencies of business professionals like an NFL advance scout. Harvard Business School’s, Harbus, featured him in a cover story that has the same title as his book, What They Don’t Teach You At Stanford Business School“. If you liked A Dozen B-School Students You Don’t Wanna Meet, The Art of Moderating a Panel in the Partial Attention Economy, and “Secrets in Giving a Two-way Keynote“, you’ll love this post: “What Employees Need to Know When About Getting Acquired”.

No book signings: Just chapter release parties

By Larry Chiang

There have been rumors coming and going about Business Week getting acquired. Well, the deal was just announced here, here and here.

Since I do not want my rising star to stall out, I had better adapt and adopt the the new owners of BusinessWeek — Bloomberg. Here are eight ideas I will be executing…

-1- Remember, the First Thing Fed-Ex Said to Kinko’s

Once a company buys another, the first thing they say is “nothing is going to change”. Heck, some even promise they will keep the name (plot spoiler: everything changes). Kinko’s went through all the stages when FedEx bought them. As of today, the Kinko’s name is gone.

Have you heard of Next Computer. Bought-swallowed-gone.
Have you heard of _______. IBM Bought-swallowed-gone.
Have you heard of Dodgeball. Google Bought-swallowed-gone.
Have you heard of _______. TSMC Bought-swallowed-gone.

Have you heard of Stumble Upon, eBay Bought-swallowed-gone. But, burped up back to the founders and VCs that first funded them.

-2- Kiss Butt in the Chairman’s Office.

Normally, you are not allowed to go over your boss’ head with a new idea about this or that. There is a clear chain of command. This gets tossed out when a company gets bought which is good news for you if you kiss butt in the new chairperson’s office.

If you don’t have the balls to cold-call the new Chairman/CEO, at least try to reach out to your new team. It is awkward and most likely they will not respond. I recommend the original idea: kissing the ring of the new king.

-3- Don’t Bug Your Current Boss

Your current boss does not have a crystal ball. Bugging him about your/their future is just silly. When Nalco got bought by Betz Chemical, very few Nalco-ers in Naperville, Illinois reached out. People gossiped amongst themselves and had meetings about conjecturing. My manuever was to keep an ear to the ground, but to never over-extrapolate the gossip-laden intelligence.

-4- Stay Productive and Aggressive.

The mayhem of gossip and endless meetings about nothing is not a license to not do your job. Thrive during this time of uncertainty and effen do your job. Leave the analysis, paralysis to your co-workers.

-5- Go Missing in Action.

Some staffers mentally (and physically) check out and don’t do anything. If you’re banking on getting fired, go out with a bang. Rest assured that if it would have taken two months to fire you, now it will take longer. I have seen people just stop coming to work because everything is at a stand-still. It may be corporate urban-legend, but I think they still got paid for a pretty long while after going MIA.

-6- Leverage the Dead Space, Quiet Period

Take this transition time as an opportunity to shine. Losers say, ‘When the cat’s away, the mouse will play’. You should say, when the cat is busy, let us add some value by pressing forward with projects that stalled out because of bureaucracy. It is my personal opinion that gambling with an aggressive project is best during this time of uncertainty.

If your company normally does not allow X and Y but is open to Z, Press the accelerator on Z and sprinkle in some Y. Putting you on probation is very difficult during an acquisition. Heck, internal monitoring and audit resources get consumed in other directions during a take-over.

Remember, what a wise blogger once said, “If you’re not getting towed twice per year, you’re probably not parking aggressively enough”. True story.
-7- Deal With It: Your Deal Has Changed.

Deals change when your company gets swallowed.

Your scheduled salary review aka raise? Gone
Your move into a slightly larger cubicle? Gone
Promise to head up a special project with a different division? On permanent hold until further notice.

Read the Art of Changing the Deal and brainstorm counter-measures ASAP

-8- The Flowers to Tuition Ratio.

I am one of the only men that sends another man flowers. Flowers sent by men to men is a terrific investment. If you’re not watching your “flowers : tuition” ratio, then you’re getting out-hustled by one public-school-educated-kid-with-an-88-IQ, me. “Grow Some Balls and Send a Man Some Flowers,” is a new book idea that I won’t be writing. Seriously, google IQ 88 and you will see a picture of me.

Question: How many well-wishes do you think are going to Chairman Norman Pearlstine right now. He is now the Chairman and proud owner of one, shiny Business Week.

How many well-wishers are emailing him. A lot.
There are so many emailing Pearlstine right now that I can almost feel their mouse clicks.

BUT, how many are sending bouquets of flowers in triplicate?! None.

Some smart hustling staffer at 1221 Avenue of the America’s should invest $200.

Take note: My book‘s business case study is getting turned into a movie (I hope). I am promoting the movie rights at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah where I am a hosting The AfterParty. Consider reading this your golden invite to my Sundance after party Jan 23, 2010.

If you liked this, you may also check:

Larry’s mentor Mark McCormack wrote this in 1983.

His own book comes out 09-09-09. It is called ‘What They Don’t Teach You At Stanford Business School‘.


Larry’s book releases 09-09-09

This post was cranked out in about an hour so email me if you see a spelling or grammatical error(s)… larry@larrychiang com

Larry Chiang works in credit and read a really, really good book once: “What They Don’t Teach You at Harvard Business School“.

Text or call him during office hours 11:11am or 11:11pm PST +/-11 minutes at 650-283-8008. If you email him, be sure to include your cell number in the subject line.


Written by Larry Chiang

December 11, 2009 at 6:45 pm

Posted in business School

One Response

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  1. Hi Larry…

    I noticed this in you blog…

    “When Nalco got bought by Betz Chemical, very few Nalco-ers in Naperville, Illinois reached out. People gossiped amongst themselves and had meetings about conjecturing. My manuever was to keep an ear to the ground, but to never over-extrapolate the gossip-laden intelligence.”

    Only problem is that Nalco did not get bought by Betz Chemical, Nalco Ondeo got bought by Blackstone, Apollo and Goldman Sachs from Suez. They then formed the Nalco Holding Company to run the business.

    Betz (and their merger with Dearborn – BetzDearborn) got bought by GE and became GE Water & Process Technologies (now part of GE Power & Water.

    You make it sound like you were there – and keeping your ear to the ground. Perhaps your ear was so close to the ground you didn’t hear the facts correctly?


    T Bernard

    December 12, 2009 at 2:28 pm

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