When hp leadership began considering the merger with Compaq, they found Vector Group on an Internet search for anyone doing work with the cultural side of organizations during a merger or acquisition. They found Bob Carleton’s published article on Cultural Due Diligence and contacted our firm. Although hp was originally working with another well known consulting firm, they insisted that Vector Group be integrally involved with the cultural investigation of both companies. Hewlett-Packard had also been an ongoing client when we periodically helped them evaluate “the HP Way” from time to time. We worked with the other consulting firm and developed protocols for management interviews and focus groups.

Vector Group’s consultant network provided a depth of resources better equipped to conduct the focus groups. We designed the protocols and probe questions for cultural due diligence focus group assessments for both companies’ global operations. We gathered extremely sensitive information concerning company cultures from 144 focus groups in 23 countries on 5 continents completing them in three weeks. We analyzed and reported results to top management ultimately rolling out results to combined management across both companies.

The data feed from the focus groups provided a critical foundation for integration strategies and the creation of the new company vision. We achieved critical deliverables by beginning the employee engagement process, developing a leadership coalition and building a qualitative understanding of key issues. As part of the overall communications plan, we facilitated cultural due diligence virtual meetings with focus group participants to roll out information gathered in the cultural investigation of both companies.

It should be clearly noted that despite initial skepticism, hp/Compaq hit all quarterly integration targets for three+ years following the merger and our CDD process. The CDD may not explain all the success but needs to be considered a major factor in the outcome.