Watercooler leads – what do you do now that the watercooler is gone?
M&A Markets

Watercooler Leads – What do you do now that the watercooler is gone?

5th Feb 2021

Published Date: 5-Feb-2021

CIEX can promote and improve M&A origination and cross-selling practices within our member firms. However, because of WFH (Working from Home) and social distancing requirements; enabling cross selling is a more important issue.

Put simply, you cannot have a watercooler encounter when there is no watercooler.

When the CIEX platform was in draft stage a lot of thought went into ensuring that sharing (cross selling) deal opportunities within member firms was enabled in a practical way; sharing had to be a clickable, low effort process suitable for remote locations and access to listings had to include as many members of the firm as possible to drive origination. The result of this was the SHARE button which appears on each listing

In a WFH environment which is creating conference-call fatigue, isolation, and task focussed work practices, how do you replicate watercooler spontaneity? Staff canteens and watercoolers allowed space for casual conversations, general enquiries and occasionally letting off steam, all of which provided for spontaneous knowledge transfer and business origination. WFH however encourages a task-based environment, very good for getting routine work done but not so good for business development. Task based environments encourage silos to develop as a team’s focus becomes internalised, and contact with other elements of the organisation reduced to a minimum. Task focussed is fine for widget assembly or data entry but accounting and CF professionals rely on knowledge and client relationships to generate income. Losing that sense of connection between individual success and the success of the entity removes the awareness of the need to be part of the process.

So what can you do to create a connected virtual space which encourages business introduction for the whole entity rather than the restrictions of the silo. The good news is that people haven’t changed, the environment has just evolved so Maslow’s Hierarchy is still the go to list for how to motivate individuals.

You need a virtual social space where the teams can network to ensure that the informal information flows which used to happen at the watercooler are replicated. You need to harness that network to ensure that it imparts subliminally the messages that the company needs to share without reducing it to a mouthpiece for company speak, what does that mean? You need to ensure that line management engage and deal positively with all input; a poor suggestion made with good intention is a good start, not a reason for censure. Information is always valuable and should be welcomed and acknowledged. Think of Maslow – belonging, esteem, recognition, value. For a manager to congratulate someone on a lead or suggestion on the open network should be a given. However how many managers can pick up on an individuals suggestion (recognition), develop it (value), give full recognition (esteem) and share the outcome (belonging).

We are lucky to have plenty of platforms available to us to create this virtual space. Create group space outside of the day to day data and task sharing spaces and feed it. The old subliminal message sent by a manager’s closed office door is now being replicated by lack of virtual social interaction.

CIEX plays it’s part by allowing deal opportunities to be shared across firms regardless of location, it is up to firms however to adopt these practices if they wish to see the benefit.

This brave new reality may be with us for some time so embrace the technology now to reap the benefits sooner rather than later.

You cannot have a watercooler encounter when there is no watercooler.

M&A Markets
Watercooler Leads

M & A Markets provides access to a marketplace that is unique to any other deal space.

“Staff canteens and watercoolers allowed space for casual conversations, general enquiries”
– Tim Counihan twitter social icon Tweet

M & A Markets provides professional firms with anonymous access to a national and international network of advisors who specialise in buying and selling businesses on behalf of their clients.

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