What is it about a royal wedding that draws us all in? At 11am yesterday (British time), an estimated 3 billion people around the planet watched as Prince William and Kate Middleton tied the knot. A cool one million people watched live as they lined the streets of London during the wedding procession.
For the weeks leading up to the royal wedding, media outlets from around the globe spent countless column inches and on-air hours in pre-event coverage on every conceivable aspect of the soon-to-be-wed couple. All of this coverage was clearly fed by an unquenchable thirst of viewers and readers — from every walk of life and background — to soak in as much about this storybook wedding as possible.
Even though I was not part of the millions who staged “watch parties” here in the U.S. in the wee hours of the morning, I did record the entire ceremony and coverage via DVR, which I watched from start to finish last night.
I’m simply amazed at how this one wedding has so captivated our planet. Beyond the natural allure of royalty, maybe our fascination also has something to do with a desire to at least momentarily escape from the recent ravages of wars, earthquakes, tsunamis, tornadoes and nuclear disasters.
In any case, now comes the hard part for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, as they are now known. They have to get along as they lead very public lives.
The most difficult part of any marriage is learning how to get along with one another after all the dust settles from the pomp and circumstance of the wedding. Same can be said for the corporate world and the thousands of mergers and acquisitions that occur each and every year.
Companies which come together must find a way to effectively blend much more than payroll, IT, and HR systems if they are to succeed – they must also find a way to successfully blend corporate cultures.
Like William and Kate who come from very different backgrounds (as we know all too well thanks to the media), companies that merge have to arrive at a new corporate culture that suits the newly combined entity.
The tendency is for the dominant company (e.g., the one doing the acquiring) to impose its culture on the company being acquired. This will result in grumpy employees and poor performance if employees of the acquired company are told overnight to abandon their own culture. (Note the grumpy expression in the photo above of three-year old Grace van Cutsem, who was part of yesterday’s wedding ceremony.)
In reality, many elements of the culture of the dominant company can likely continue in the newly combined company. However, executives should work hard to embrace aspects of both cultures that are worthy of renewal, while seeking to chart a new overall culture that will help to bring employees together in a productive way.
This will ensure that your storybook wedding will also lead to a long-lived and profitable storybook marriage.