You Win With People

As most of you know, we have agreed to purchase the four Anchor Bank branches in Brown County.  We are trying to assimilate the branches in 73 days.  Pretty aggressive, but doable in our opinion.  As we walk through this transition, I thought it would be interesting to blog a bit about our experiences.  This is our first real acquisition.  Many of you who are reading this have been through the process.  I’ll let you know what I’m thinking, but mostly, I would love comments on what has worked for you.

My first thought is that the right people will make or break this project.  First, we needed to get the right Nicolet people around the table to make this process smooth.  I want people who have opinions, but at the end of the day, are willing to work toward a decision whether they agree with it or not.  Ego needs to go.  I’m confident that we have this part right.

Second, we need to get the right people to staff the branches.  We are working through this process right now.  It’s not fun, for us or the Anchor Bank employees.  We have a definite culture that we need people to fit into.  It’s not the fault of the Anchor Bank employees that they don’t know our culture.  They weren’t hired into it and they were trained in a different culture. The day that we announced the acquisition, I said that buying it was the easy part.  This is the hard part.

Finally, I really need to stop the Anchor or Nicolet talk.  We will soon all be Nicolet.  The separation has to stop.  We have to find a way to help all employees understand who we are and where we are going, as it is the only way to ensure success and a continued customer-centric environment.

As Woody Hayes once said, “You win with people.”  That being said, I believe we are off to a solid start.