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My company has recently acquired another small company. Now, my company has a ERP system that we are using it presently. Also, the acquired company has an ERP system of its own.

Now I have been given the responsibility of integrating my company's ERP System with the ERP system of the recently acquired company. To do this, I have to map the data between these two processes and see if there are any redundant features.

However I was told by my friends that there would be lot of problems when I need to sit with both employees of the two companies, given the fact that my company doesn't treat the other company employees that well in terms of credibility.

So I wanted to know, how do I make sure that there are no hard feelings between both sets of employees and what steps do I take for effective brainstorming sessions among both the teams?

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    @user19 - Can you review and accept my edits to your question. I fixed some grammar and split the big paragraphs into smaller ones for readability. This will help ensure more people read your question. – jmort253 Feb 23 '11 at 3:19
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In this situation, what's done is done. The decision to replace their processes with others has already been made.

If there is bad blood between your company and the acquired company, you may find that your efforts are less than welcome.

It's important that you be assertive, take charge, let others know what your goal is and that you'll need their support. You can add that you also want to make the transition as smooth as possible.

This is an opportunity for you to possibly form a cross-functional team with the goal of merging the data. You are in a position to possibly create a sense of teamwork, if you select the right people to help contribute ideas and energy to this merge project. If you can, select an equal subset of employees from both companies to help collaborate on a solution.

If you listen to concerns and be objective, it will go a long way towards helping avoid hard-feelings, but you are in charge of the project and will need to make that clear from the very beginning; otherwise, they may walk all over you.

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You are in a very interesting situation. I agree with JMort on being assertive and making sure everyone knows you are responsible.

Now, take in consideration that these two teams will continue to use the final result of your project after it is done (I assume they will not be fired), so you don't want to shut your chances of adoption. Think of the objectives of the project as the goal, but the road needs to set you up for success.

Be objective and always ask, "why?" I find this question to work very well, even when you already know the answer. Together with, "how would you do it?" takes people from their defensive stand to a more communicative. I often find people complaining without possible alternative solutions, making them more friends of your proposition.

Be open, and open for feedback, but always keep control. Make sure from the beginning that you say that you will be collaborative, but if there is any tie-breaking you will make that call.

As a final point, try to watch for the influencers in both teams, infiltrate them, convince them, and win them. This will make your life much easier.

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  • Don't let your plans or meetings be tainted by what other people have said re the feelings each side has.
  • Prepare for different situations but leave the preconceived notions behind.
  • Go in with an open mind and make your own, independent assessment of the potential challenges and opportunities.
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how do I make sure that there are no hard feelings

Why? What is the reason to worry about it? You "have been given the responsibility of integrating", not of team building or making peace. Changes typically lead to "hard feelings", it's inevitable. If you blame yourself for them you very likely fail the project. What you need to do in this situation is to identify negative stakeholders, identify their needs, and take them into account. That's it.

  • Yeah. The purchased company's employees having hard feelings about the transition couldn't possibly cause any problems in the future. – Marcie Feb 23 '11 at 15:15
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Bring pizza or cookies to the kickoff/first meeting. Talk about the culture, the takeover, and other elephants in the room. Try to find common ground and common goals. If you can accomplish that in the first meeting you've accomplished a lot.

If nothing else, tell them this will look good on your resume, too. Let them know you didn't personally commit the takeover, etc. In other words, you need to establish a trusted relationship before you can expect cooperation. It will take time - but people come around quickly in these situations, especially in bad economic times. Good luck.

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You have the right question. It's really important for the other company's employees to feel valued because you are about to enter a period of confusion. My experience is in merging two banking platforms. We found that often we would be saying the same words but completely missing the fact that we meant different things.

I would suggest you look at some of the great publications about forming teams. Don't dwell on what has been, look forward to what can be. If you use some communication icebreakers you'll find people are quite willing to get involved. good luck

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