When in an integration process does the cessation of griping mean not that the storm is over but that the hostilities have gone underground, that the people with issues have given up trying to get a resolution?
When is the quiet disquieting?
As a kid growing up on the Jersey Shore, The Merger Verger remembers distinctly his first experience with the eye of a hurricane. Have you ever been in one? After howling winds and blowing debris and trees bent sideways, the silence is absolutely enveloping. Utter calm … with no indication of the second round of pandemonium yet to come.
So what happens when a stakeholder’s complaints go unaddressed for so long that he just gives up asking for the desired change? And is there a moment before an employee or a customer walks that she can still be rescued if you don’t mistake the sounds of silence?
Somewhere in your integration process you will experience a time of false peace. Don’t fall for it. You’re in the eye of the storm and all hell could break lose if you don’t keep vigilant and focused. When the first waves of calm come, before you breath a sigh of relief, ask yourself one question:
“What could be going quietly wrong?”