When studying acquisitions and alliances, there is a serious question you need to ask: Does working together mean 2+2=5? If so, then you have a number of other things to worry about, like contracting and shareholders. But let’s sit and think about the equation posed here. Is it possible to create a proposition that mirrors 2+2=5?
As my professor Dr. Anju Seth would say, Absolutely!
When it comes to business, we have this idea that there is only one pie. All of us have can have a share of that pie, but if I take more, I am taking it from someone else. In reality, thanks to the way business changes, we can make the pie bigger. That’s the point of 2+2=5.
Especially since I have been involved in job search at the same time as I have been analyzing acquisitions, I have noticed that the equation can be applied here, too. If you are an amazing candidate, you can do much better with one company over another. And that company can do better with you. It’s all in the synergy.
The way you get the equation to equal 5 (or more) is through the matching synergies that get brought to the table. The job applicant can have a number of skills that might contribute to a firm’s key success factors. The firm could have a matching company culture and incentive program that drives maximum performance from that candidate’s skills. You have to look at both contributors and ask, what makes this person or company so amazing? Are we both going to make a bigger pie?
Dr. Mikolaj Jan Piskorski as written a “Note on Corporate Strategy,” driving the idea that you have to look at this equation when evaluating the firms. You can see how important it is in the job search.
While the job market is still not ideal (not everyone will get to 4, let alone 5), it can help you target your efforts. For example, casting a wide net may help your statistical returns. On the other hand, if you know exactly what it is that makes you a compelling candidate, you can start finding firms which will appreciate those characteristics. Once you really know what key differentiators can set you apart, then start measuring how much added value comes from your relationship with Company A vs. Company B, and so on. Using your time effectively, you can build a network targeting these companies and learning exactly how you can help make the pie bigger.
Trust me, companies want to know if you can make the pie bigger.
For myself, over the next few months I hope to tap into the key differentiators I have found. I am already putting them to work, but I think I can do more. My developing portfolio can tell a different story than just show-and-tell. I can demonstrate the pie in real strategic analysis, with more justification than “I am great at what I do.”
It’s going to be work to find the synergies, and if it takes companies months-to-years to assess acquisitions, I know it will take time too. But I know at the end of the day, I would rather be in a relationship that creates a bigger pie.
Hat tip to Dr. Anju Seth for all the class work. Photo credit.