Posts Tagged ‘IBM’

Mergers and Acquisitions: Diversity and Career Management Considerations

Mergers and Acquisitions
It seems so often lately when talking to HR leaders in several companies about my career management and diversity consulting services, I am told, “we are all tied up in the middle of integrating a newly acquired company, can you call me back in six months?” And these mergers and acquisitions can come in all shapes and sizes, for example a mega-corporate merger like American Airlines and USAir, or a multi-company strategy like a medium size local bank buying four or five smaller banks. And just last week the US Federal Government approved Lenovo’s $2.3B acquisition of a line of servers from IBM. (Link to detailed Bloomberg article)

And then in this month’s (August 2014) SHRM (Society for Human Resource Management) HR Magazine, the cover article was titled “Culture Clash! How to avoid a post-merger identity crisis.” (LINK) One statistic cited was that over 25% of US employees were affected by a merger or acquisition over the past 10 years.

So what is the value proposition for my consulting services within the growing reality of mergers and acquisitions? What impact is there on diversity and career development? A great deal!

First Diversity (link to my services): When two or more companies merge, they will more than likely have two very distinct cultures and probably very different ways of looking at diversity. The corporate commitment to diversity as a key strategy could be at different levels. The companies may have different ways of defining their diversity constituencies. One company may have more emphasis on developing women leaders while the other may be focused on racial minorities. One company may have very advanced practices about the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) workplace and marketplace while the other company may not have even started on that journey.
Diversity of Thought
When companies come together, this is an ideal opportunities to expand diversity horizons by including aspects from both parties. A team can always be made stronger when the tent is widened with more diverse parties coming to the table. And finally, merging companies can immediately tackle one of the hottest new emerging areas, Diversity of Thought. (Some expansion included in past blog – link.) When two companies have differing ways of developing plans and addressing issues, bringing multiple ideas to the table, listening to and honoring various approaches and then combining the best from the various sources will lead to a winning solution.

Second – Career Development (link to my offering.) It is unfortunately when some teams view themselves as winners or losers in acquisitions and good talent that feels undervalued departs. This is the time to honor the best talent from all parties in a merger or acquisition and build a diverse yet coherent team from the best of the best. When I deploy a Total Engagement Career Mapping project with a client that had experienced past mergers and acquisitions, I request they name role models in career development for me to feature from the various original parties. This widens the various examples of career paths I can demonstrate to younger employees, plus it values the leadership coming from various parts of the business.

I look forward to engaging my clients who have experienced mergers and acquisitions in a productive way to leverage the strengths from merged companies instead of it becoming a point of contention or distraction.

8 Lessons in my Journey as an Out Gay Man

A more personal blog as we near the end of LGBT Pride Month, June, 2014. See last’s month’s blog about being an ally that also includes links to half a dozen other LGBT Pride blogs.

Blog author Stan Kimer (on the left) with his partner of 23 years Rich Roark on a recent vacation in Morocco.

Blog author Stan Kimer (on the left) with his partner of 23 years Rich Roark on a recent vacation in Morocco.

In April, I was invited by our local PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) to share my life journey as an out gay man. Made up of parents, families, friends, and straight allies united with people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT), PFLAG is committed to advancing equality and societal acceptance of LGBT people through its threefold mission of support, education and advocacy. PFLAG now has over 350 chapters and 200,000 members and supporters crossing multiple generations of American families in major urban centers, small cities and rural areas in all 50 states.

As I prepared my presentation, I ended up coming up with 8 key lessons to share during my almost 25 year journey as an out gay man:

1. It is great to be true to myself, and others will respect that. Life has been so much better living fully and honestly into who I really am!

2. Being super nice works a lot better than being super nasty. When my father was initially cool to the idea of me being gay and having a boyfriend, my boyfriend won him over by going over and doing my parent’s yard work after my father broke his ankle.

A later newspaper article in the Durham Herald Sun about out LGBT employees in the work place featured blog author Stan Kimer while at IBM.

A later newspaper article in the Durham Herald Sun about out LGBT employees in the work place featured blog author Stan Kimer while at IBM.

3. Sometimes the optimal time to come out simply appears. Grab it and run! I had not initially planned to publicly come out when I did, but an opportunity to participate in a newspaper story when IBM announced domestic partner benefits provided an excellent platform for me to share some of my story.

4. You never know who is watching and what good may come of it. After coming out, I spoke on a number of diversity panels at IBM as an out gay employee, not realizing that IBM’s VP of Diversity Ted Childs was listening. He liked what he heard and offered me the position of IBM’s global corporate LGBT Diversity Manager, which was the most fun job I ever had!

5. Building allies and not having a “single issue focus” is important. I served many years on the Governing Board of the North Carolina Council of Churches advocating for racial justice, education improvements, economic justice, health issues, etc., and even as an out gay man was elected President.

6. As a visible gay man in a leadership role (President of the NC Council of Churches), I knew I had the added responsibility of being a good representative of the LGBT community.

7. Take the hate with a grain of salt and chuckle at the absurdness of it all. When I was elected President of the NC Council of Churches, 98% of the publicity was positive (example – link to Associated Press story), but one over-the-top negative article asserted that my hidden agenda was to visit junior high Sunday School classes to seduce young boys. How ridiculous!

8. It’s now time to enjoy my remaining years! As I approach 60 years old, I am going to do the things I like the most and walk away from any aggravating or demeaning environments.

I really enjoyed sharing my journey and these lessons at that April PFLAG meeting, and am very open to speaking or sharing at similar venues – you can email me at

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