Lenovo: Navigating the Integration of Not One, but Two Technology Icons

Organizational culture impacts many of the key drivers and success factors in mergers and acquisitions. Lenovo, a leading global technology company, fundamentally understands that fact. Lenovo manufactures and distributes cutting-edge PC’s, phones, tablets and servers, collectively generating nearly $39 billion in revenue annually. With almost four devices sold every second to customers in over 160 countries, the company is keeping up with rapid demand by embracing change, and doing so with an optimistic attitude.

Given the ever-changing, ever-growing technology industry, Lenovo’s top team wanted to ensure that the company would maintain a strategic leadership position in the long-term. To that end, Lenovo announced their intention to buy IBM’s x86 server business for $2.3 billion USD and, not even a week later, to purchase the Motorola Mobile business for $2.9 billion USD. The closing of the deals catapulted Lenovo to the #3 industry positions in both servers and smart phones. In fact, during the month that the second deal was finalized, Lenovo was the #1 player in the combined PC and tablet market worldwide, surpassing Apple for the first time in the company’s history.

The Problem

Based on their previous experience with the integration of the IBM PC Division, Lenovo’s leadership understood that an integration of three major organizations was no small feat. In order for Lenovo, Motorola and x86 to “Win As One,” they knew that it would be crucial to address the issue of culture early, and to deeply understand the similarities and differences across the organizations. Being a highly action-oriented, “do” culture that values data, the organization called on Denison Consulting to aid in their integration efforts.

The Solution

With the help of Denison Consulting, Lenovo took a 5-phase approach to the culture efforts:

1) Assess Cultures: Collect data on the individual cultures of Lenovo, x86, and Motorola through organization surveys and individual leadership interviews.

2) Analyze & Compare: Evaluate the data across the organizations to understand the specific cultural strengths, opportunities, and potential clashes.

3) Define the Organization’s Focus: Prioritize the areas of focus, including strengths to build upon and capabilities to develop.

4) Action Planning and Implementation: Drive enterprise-wide actions that are important for both the M&A and the company’s overall culture transformation. Empower individual business units to drive actions to achieve their specific priorities and objectives.

5) Ongoing Reinforcement: Identify important levers to create change including: Leadership, Employee Communication, Engagement, and Measurement and Rewards.

Two important principles guided Lenovo’s overall culture integration efforts.

The first was the creation of shared goals. Once the vision and goals were set, YY and the Leadership Executive Committee empowered the team to win by modeling trust and integrity, removing barriers, and rewarding strong performance –allowing the team to truly own the results.

The second guiding principle, communicated and demonstrated by the Leadership Executive Committee, was inclusion. Lenovo is an incredibly diverse company, and this diversity runs throughout the organization. At the time, 7 nationalities were represented in the Leadership Executive Committee, and over 20 nationalities represented in the top 100 executives. Inclusion was not a “nice to have” concept, but a true business imperative.

At Lenovo, inclusion does not mean that everyone agrees on everything. Rather, inclusion means being open and frank, demonstrating respect, and compromising to create the best solution for the business.

The Result

At the end of the successful mergers, Kathy Hope, Director, Organizational Development at Lenovo, pointed to three lessons for organizations undergoing an M&A.

1) Get comfortable with ambiguity and contingency planning. Lenovo is a fast-paced, dynamic organization that is comfortable with dealing with change as it happens. Organizations should keep in mind that life happens, government regulations happen and things can change; it is important that individuals remain flexible and intentionally maintain a resilient approach and perspective.

2) Prioritize relationships and intentionally build trust. Don’t underestimate the human element in M&A integrations. During an M&A, members of the joining company can feel heightened levels of uncertainty and lack of control. Therefore, it is critical to intentionally build trust in every single interaction. Be open and transparent and proactively share information.

3) Slow down and take a step back. During an M&A integration, it can be tempting to act as quickly as possible in an attempt to move the business forward. However, there is tremendous value in going back to the basics—listening, checking for understanding and reflecting back what you heard before driving to closure.

Accolades

During the integration effort, Yi Min, Lenovo’s Director of Culture Integration reflected on Denison’s role in the process. One of Denison’s key contributions, she said, was to “facilitate and to enable us to have a very open and candid conversation about the business challenges we are having. I think that has been a tremendous help, because everything is data-based and we have a lot of baseline information that we can use.

And also, from the Denison Survey and interview we realized our position when compared to other companies in a similar industry. That is very, very eye-opening for us.”

Yi Min highlighted two other reasons she would recommend Denison to other business leaders and their organizations. “One is the proven methodology, which is very, very clearly tied to the business result,” she said. “The second would be the quality of the consulting and coaching that we receive from Denison consultants—that’s amazing!”

Connect with Insights from Denison

If you’d like to be kept up to date when we release a new TRANSFORM article or important piece of research, we can notify you so you have immediate access. Yes, please let me know.

We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By agreeing, you accept the use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.

Private Equity
As a CEO of a private equity firm, you know that firms with a strong, vibrant culture perform better in a highly competitive marketplace. Denison can work with you to build effective culture in all of your portfolio firms. Our assessment tools enable you to capture a clear picture of your current state. Our consulting expertise supports you in making the changes necessary to achieve superior financial performance. It’s about how you work as a team, how your policies meet practice within the culture of the organization, how performance aligns with your investment criteria.
  • Delivers a consistent assessment of your portfolio companies
  • Gives you an unambiguous picture of the culture
  • Provides a disciplined process and measureable action plan for
  • Offers hands-on strategic consulting to address gaps and affirm best
practices currently being used by your portfolio companies
improvement
Our approach:
Financial Services
In the financial sector, you are active in a wide variety of client environments that need to support accountability and the highest ethical standards. The trust that your customer places in your organization is dependent upon the culture that your employees exhibit every day.

You need a clear understanding of how your culture and the people in your organization function within the midst of the complexities of the current financial institutional marketplace. The Denison Model can give you that clarity. From brokerage firms, to retail banking, to institutional banking to insurance, Denison has specific, measurable benchmarking that identifies the strengths and weaknesses of your organization. With this baseline diagnostic, our consulting team can support you to put in place action plans to sustain your high standards and see financial performance improvement.
Manufacturing
The manufacturing environment is constantly being tasked with improvement in quality and delivery while maintaining the highest levels of safety. The Denison Model equips you to reach from the senior leadership team to the shop floor in a globally networked manufacturing environment to build a culture oriented to continuous improvement in these mission critical areas.

Through our consultancy services, we work with a broad cross-section of your technical and operational staff to align around the goal of producing the highest quality products in the world--on time and on budget.
Healthcare
Within the healthcare market, high performance is measured primarily in patient outcomes. The marriage of the institution with doctors, support staff and operational teams is key to achieving best-in-class patient outcomes. Denison works with you to achieve these outcomes by building a culture that is tuned to the unique ecosystem of support that patients require.

Our organizational culture assessment based on the Denison Model is a proven approach that has supported healthcare providers with actionable feedback for decades. Against four core drivers of cultural high performance, the assessment identifies what is going well and clarifies challenges you may be facing. Then our consulting team is able to support you in addressing these challenges with action plans tailored to your inclusive and diverse environment.
Case Study
The management of culture in an organization whose members are always on the move.
Education
At Denison, student outcomes are well understood as the goal of every educational organization. Our consulting expertise and diagnostic tools allow your team to more fully understand, articulate and implement your mission. You will gain a collective understanding of your organization’s strengths, weaknesses and challenges benchmarked against other peer institutions, all targeted toward providing students with the best learning environment.

Then, through Action Planning, we will work with you to improve your academic and operational excellence to support the diverse student learning environment of higher education, K-12 schools and related associations.
Retail
As a retailer, you know that culture drives the customer experience of your organization. The hospitality, support, and follow-up lived out by your staff all make the difference in each interaction with a consumer. It's that experience that really drives what your behavior should be.

Denison allows you to understand how your organization can support the customer experience. We provide you data that helps you understand your organization all the way through checkout. And we provide sustainable support programs that enable you to address the challenges you face to attract and retain loyal brand customers and to ensure superior financial performance.
Restaurants
Smart restaurant owners know that the patron experience is driven by the culture of their organization. The hospitality, support, and follow-up lived out by your culinary and waitstaff all make the difference in each dish you serve. You know that it is the patron’s needs and expectations that really drive what your team’s behavior should be on the floor.

Denison allows you to understand how your organization is positioned to support the patron experience. We provide you benchmarked data from across the food industry that helps you understand your organization right to the final after-dinner mint. And we provide sustainable support programs that enable you to address the challenges you face to attract and retain loyal brand customers and to ensure superior financial performance.
Government
To achieve high performance in a government initiative requires a different understanding of metrics of success. Typical financial results of business, like sales growth or ROI, are not the KPIs measured here. Rather it is advancement of the mission.

For example, Denison supports military men and women in action through our work with the Defense Logistics Agency (DOA). We provide core culture assessment and an improvement program that helps this department maintain a strong culture to fulfill their mission--addressing everything needed to support fighting men and women in combat through readiness preparation.
Case Study
A transformation that didn’t require thousands of dollars, but a new way of interacting.
Technology
Because of the ever-increasing pace in the introduction of new technology and shortening of technology life-cycle, having a culture fluent in adaptability is critical. These factors all drive the need to recoup costs and show profit more and more quickly. Being able to seamlessly change business models to drive market expansion, product acceptance and superior performance is absolutely critical in this high-potential return but volatile market. Talent is also at a premium.

Based on diagnostics structured through the Denison Model, our consultancy team will help you build a culture that knows who it is and who best will fit your organization. With this alignment, you gain a competitive edge in attracting and retaining the engineers, researchers and innovators you need to lead in introducing market-changing innovation.
Transportation
Whether you deal with business travelers, tourists, or products in the supply chain, safety and schedule reliability are two of the key deliverables. For decades, Denison has worked with leaders in the transportation industry, helping transform organizations in the face of changing markets and technologies, to ensure consumer safety and satisfaction, as well as bottom-line business success.

When you bring Denison on board, our experienced consultants help you make decisions and plans based on data benchmarked against the global industry. We put your organization on the path to high performance, with measurable benefits to your bottom line.
PGlmcmFtZSB3aWR0aD0iMTAwJSIgaGVpZ2h0PSIxMDAlIiBzcmM9Imh0dHBzOi8vd3d3LnlvdXR1YmUuY29tL2VtYmVkL3ZONjJ6ZHd4NkNRP3JlbD0wIiBmcmFtZWJvcmRlcj0iMCIgYWxsb3dmdWxsc2NyZWVuPjwvaWZyYW1lPg==
PGlmcmFtZSB3aWR0aD0iMTAwJSIgaGVpZ2h0PSIxMDAlIiBzcmM9Imh0dHBzOi8vd3d3LnlvdXR1YmUuY29tL2VtYmVkL1BUWnhUNlp3eDJjP3JlbD0wIiBmcmFtZWJvcmRlcj0iMCIgYWxsb3dmdWxsc2NyZWVuPjwvaWZyYW1lPg==
PGlmcmFtZSB3aWR0aD0iMTAwJSIgaGVpZ2h0PSIxMDAlIiBzcmM9Imh0dHBzOi8vd3d3LnlvdXR1YmUuY29tL2VtYmVkLzU4aUU1c0RkNnVBP3JlbD0wIiBmcmFtZWJvcmRlcj0iMCIgYWxsb3dmdWxsc2NyZWVuPjwvaWZyYW1lPg==
PGlmcmFtZSB3aWR0aD0iMTAwJSIgaGVpZ2h0PSIxMDAlIiBzcmM9Imh0dHBzOi8vd3d3LnlvdXR1YmUuY29tL2VtYmVkL0dYVDBqZ28xYUVRP3JlbD0wIiBmcmFtZWJvcmRlcj0iMCIgYWxsb3dmdWxsc2NyZWVuPjwvaWZyYW1lPg==
PGlmcmFtZSB3aWR0aD0iMTAwJSIgaGVpZ2h0PSIxMDAlIiBzcmM9Imh0dHBzOi8vd3d3LnlvdXR1YmUuY29tL2VtYmVkL0ZqS1h1cHAwakVnP3JlbD0wIiBmcmFtZWJvcmRlcj0iMCIgYWxsb3dmdWxsc2NyZWVuPjwvaWZyYW1lPg==
PGlmcmFtZSB3aWR0aD0iMTAwJSIgaGVpZ2h0PSIxMDAlIiBzcmM9Imh0dHBzOi8vd3d3LnlvdXR1YmUuY29tL2VtYmVkL1U5dWppWXJxV2UwP3JlbD0wIiBmcmFtZWJvcmRlcj0iMCIgYWxsb3dmdWxsc2NyZWVuPjwvaWZyYW1lPg==
PGlmcmFtZSB3aWR0aD0iMTAwJSIgaGVpZ2h0PSIxMDAlIiBzcmM9Imh0dHBzOi8vd3d3LnlvdXR1YmUuY29tL2VtYmVkL3lYNUJYMjZ4M18wP3JlbD0wIiBmcmFtZWJvcmRlcj0iMCIgYWxsb3dmdWxsc2NyZWVuPjwvaWZyYW1lPg==
PGlmcmFtZSB3aWR0aD0iMTAwJSIgaGVpZ2h0PSIxMDAlIiBzcmM9Imh0dHBzOi8vd3d3LnlvdXR1YmUuY29tL2VtYmVkL1dDNEZkY1YtUFZZP3JlbD0wIiBmcmFtZWJvcmRlcj0iMCIgYWxsb3dmdWxsc2NyZWVuPjwvaWZyYW1lPg==
PGlmcmFtZSB3aWR0aD0iMTAwJSIgaGVpZ2h0PSIxMDAlIiBzcmM9Imh0dHBzOi8vd3d3LnlvdXR1YmUuY29tL2VtYmVkL1ByM1BHaENaNlkwP3JlbD0wIiBmcmFtZWJvcmRlcj0iMCIgYWxsb3dmdWxsc2NyZWVuPjwvaWZyYW1lPg==
PGlmcmFtZSB3aWR0aD0iMTAwJSIgaGVpZ2h0PSIxMDAlIiBzcmM9Imh0dHBzOi8vd3d3LnlvdXR1YmUuY29tL2VtYmVkL1pNcVZTeTM3QkljP3JlbD0wIiBmcmFtZWJvcmRlcj0iMCIgYWxsb3dmdWxsc2NyZWVuPjwvaWZyYW1lPg==
PGlmcmFtZSB3aWR0aD0iMTAwJSIgaGVpZ2h0PSIxMDAlIiBzcmM9Imh0dHBzOi8vd3d3LnlvdXR1YmUuY29tL2VtYmVkL0k5ZXJ3QlBzZUJRP3JlbD0wIiBmcmFtZWJvcmRlcj0iMCIgYWxsb3dmdWxsc2NyZWVuPjwvaWZyYW1lPg==
PGlmcmFtZSB3aWR0aD0iMTAwJSIgaGVpZ2h0PSIxMDAlIiBzcmM9Imh0dHBzOi8vd3d3LnlvdXR1YmUuY29tL2VtYmVkL3Q3OUlabThLc3ZzP3JlbD0wIiBmcmFtZWJvcmRlcj0iMCIgYWxsb3dmdWxsc2NyZWVuPjwvaWZyYW1lPg==
PGlmcmFtZSB3aWR0aD0iMTAwJSIgaGVpZ2h0PSIxMDAlIiBzcmM9Imh0dHBzOi8vd3d3LnlvdXR1YmUuY29tL2VtYmVkL1ZkZGRmM05oSXM4P3JlbD0wIiBmcmFtZWJvcmRlcj0iMCIgYWxsb3dmdWxsc2NyZWVuPjwvaWZyYW1lPg==
PGlmcmFtZSB3aWR0aD0iMTAwJSIgaGVpZ2h0PSIxMDAlIiBzcmM9Imh0dHBzOi8vd3d3LnlvdXR1YmUuY29tL2VtYmVkL05tb3FTM1BiczNJP3JlbD0wIiBmcmFtZWJvcmRlcj0iMCIgYWxsb3dmdWxsc2NyZWVuPjwvaWZyYW1lPg==