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Learnings from Musk: whether a buy-out or merger, new leadership comes with hardships

Although we’ll never know all the facts, Elon Musk’s Twitter takeover is a lesson for professional services on how not to bring two cultures together, writes Sophie Hudson, Head of Marketing and Business Development at solicitors Sherrards.

There are three points that I believe Elon missed.

The importance of blending cultures
The merging of cultures needs to be carefully considered. You should be open to learning from one culture and be prepared to adapt yours to suit both together as one. Musk arrived sink in hand and has since ripped apart an ingrained culture by locking staff out of their offices without warning, firing many, and refusing to communicate… not good for the takeover of a social media company whose values and being was built on strong communication.

Assumption is the mother of all fxxk ups. 
Musk made the mistake of assuming he knew best. He fired the top people at Twitter who understood the platform inside and out, without discussion or handover. Had he spoken with and listened to the brightest people in the know at Twitter, he wouldn’t have had the ensuing mayhem and embarrassment that has come with being completely overwhelmed – blue verification tick anyone?

Who is holding Musk to account?
Perhaps I’m wrong, but it seems likely that he is surrounded by ‘yes men’. A good team and a good culture will keep a good leader in check and not be frightened to hold the leader accountable. Perhaps there is no one willing to do this for one of the richest men in the world, especially when he walked in, guns blazing, firing the teams left, right and centre.

Clearly, there have been many issues with the Twitter takeover and I think professional services can learn from Musk’s mistakes when it comes to mergers and acquisitions.

A people first approach, learning from the brightest people in the room and not assuming you know best is surely a good place to start. 

Sophie Hudson, Head of Marketing and Business Development at solicitors Sherrards. Visit https://sherrards.com/.

Matt Baldwin
Co-founder – Coast Communications

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