Nature gives us a wonderful metaphor for what happens internally when companies merge, take over smaller or mid-sized firms that are all expected to live in harmony, strive for greater productivity and a higher profit.
Enter the Shark. The fiercest beast in the sea. This could be the suits in Manhattan that desire to be the largest company of their kind in the world. They are not the little guys manning the phones or shipping product. They are the Shark.
The Shark then begins to swallow smaller fish. These are companies that have some reputation in their industry they would like to absorb. In their desire for more, the Shark ingests littler fish too, perhaps mom and pop businesses that have some enticing qualities. What happens inside the Shark’s belly? A tummy ache.
Because as Nature would show you, bigger fish eat littler fish and so inside that company is a sea of anxiety (what will happen to my job), fear (will I be let go), uncertainty (who will my new boss be and will I like them), competition (I have to hold my own spot here changelessly) and clustering for safety (I need to create a wall of defense to survive). Does any of this inspire the atmosphere of creativity? Working together as a larger team, now with infinitely more resources than before? No, just the opposite.
What needs to happen then? Digestion. Integration. Imagine you are the littlest fish, would you rather be part of the largest and fiercest beast in the ocean…or a guppy? Integration is simply finding a safe and inviting way to create unity or a family of fishness. Each unique fish has brought their own flavor to the whole and could operate from a more blended, cohesive unit. This would provide the space to feel safe, creative, inspired, unafraid to make change, available for something new and all of that can be felt in the bottom line~ profitability.
The Shark just needs pepto-bismol, something that can take dissimilar units and create a family. Through understanding, appreciation and acceptance, people can feel valued who feel afraid and insignificant. After all, the Shark has the power to affect great change, and with the internal parts in harmony, the ideas that can flourish have the ability to be more global and inspired.