In the public eye, mergers and acquisitions take place only for a brief moment in the spotlight: entity A joins entity B, some big numbers might be mentioned, and that’s the story.
The real story, however, takes place away from the spotlight, in the long months before and, especially, after the pen is put to paper. Mergers and acquisitions are largely powered by strategic business objectives, yet their success is predicated on a factor as old as humanity. That factor is, well, humanity.
People carry the weight of integration, both emotionally and operationally. Furthermore, people are often the deciding factor to the success of fusing two organizations – their endorsement and backing of the shared future is crucial. This endorsement is only possible if there is a cultural alignment and a shared vision between the two organizations.
The integration of HTEC and Maestral is the story of shared fundamental values and ways of operating.
The recognition of a high degree of cultural alignment between Maestral and HTEC was the starting point for any considerations of a shared future. Without this foundation, the two organizations would have simply never come together.
Organizational culture is not a declarative statement or a list of abstract values. It is a collective mindset that evolves organically over time through the constant application of answers to the questions: how we approach our work, how we interact with our colleagues, and what we stand for in the greater scheme of things.
Both Maestral and HTEC owe a great deal of their success to a strong team culture established in their humble beginnings and nurtured through their growth. It was shaped and fortified through consistent actions – from everyday interactions to major business decisions – which, over time, become principles and ways of operating.
The cultures of both of our organizations have grown from our persistent dedication to placing people before profits, treating them with respect and empathy, giving them trust and autonomy to enable them to grow and excel, empowering them to always swing for the fences in their work and encouraging them to stay hungry and continue growing.
Over the following lines we will take a closer look at the cultural symmetry that has served as the foundation for the ultimate unification of the two organizations.
HTEC and Maestral have both built their reputation as desirable employers through an unwavering commitment to making team members the center of their focus. This is not only reflected in efforts to provide optimal work-life balance and the necessary support for each team member, but also in major business decisions.
Both companies are committed to making a positive impact on the world through their work. Maestral and HTEC have routinely rejected and continue to reject lucrative offers for work in areas not aligned with the collective values of the team – gambling, military, etc. Furthermore, both companies have drawn a hard line for working in accordance with their local time zones, rejecting client requests to conform to their time zones and their work hours.
Essentially, both companies have succeeded in building inclusive and welcoming environments across multicultural geographies where passion for work and respect for coworkers are unifying factors that overcome all individual differences.
What we particularly liked about Maestral, in addition to the fact that our values are so aligned, was the existence of a common thread permeating the entire organization, present with all the employees sharing the same culture. This was something visible across all of Maestral’s offices – you can really see that they care about their employees and that everyone is pulling in the same direction. The people touched by this kind of culture are precisely the type of people we wish to work with. – Aleksandar Čabrilo, CEO of HTEC Group
Trust and autonomy
Fear stunts growth. When team members are afraid to make a mistake or speak their mind, they resign themselves to playing it safe and effectively support the status quo.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, trust and autonomy are the foundations of professional development. HTEC and Maestral have both strived to build a safe professional environment where everyone can speak openly and honestly and where respectful disagreement and honest feedback are welcomed.
Even through its recent expansion, HTEC has maintained a high degree of autonomy on all levels, enabling team members to make fast decisions and adjust quickly to the ever-changing circumstances. The autonomy stems from the fundamental belief that if we all act to the best of our abilities and with the best of intentions good things will happen. This approach replaces tight supervision and micromanagement with trust and freedom. The degree of trust awarded to team members of both HTEC and Maestral also accounts for not just the inevitability of occasional mistakes, but also their formative value.
People hear “2000 employees” and immediately assume that it is a corporation. From everything I have seen in the IT industry, HTEC is not a corporation. A certain hierarchy might be in place only to establish everyone’s responsibility and certain roles must be in place to make major decisions, but everyone is allowed to make a mistake, everyone is free to do what they believe is best. And if someone makes a mistake, they take responsibility, and we identify the lessons learned and carry on. – Mersed Čamdžić, COO of Maestral Solutions
Both companies have understood that hiring top talent also comes with the responsibility of providing them with room to make an impact – both in ways that are predefined and, perhaps more importantly, in innovative and surprising ways outside the scope of one’s job description. Employees are not expected to simply do what they are told, but also empowered to help shape and define the continued evolution of the organizations.
Pursuit of excellence
The impulse at the heart of growth of both HTEC and Maestral is the continued pursuit of excellence – not as a fixed point in the future, but excellence as a constant desire to improve and evolve. Both companies have shown a deep commitment to establish themselves as ideal platforms for the continued development of their team members, with a dedicated support system of mentorship, guidance, and continuous education.
This support system includes one key component – exposure. The growth of the companies has generated more exposure to challenging and exciting projects, close collaboration with the leading minds of the world’s most innovative companies. This provides team members with an opportunity to sharpen and expand their skills at the very cutting edge of technology across various industries.
The other key component of continued development – one that can be only found in high-growth environments – is opportunity. Continued growth of the organization generates a wealth of opportunities for team members to not only show initiative and assume greater responsibility, but also to redefine the very nature of their roles and shape the course of the company.
All of these factors come together to create the ultimate launching pad for the individual growth of every team member, allowing them to define what excellence represents to them and then set the right coordinates for their future career paths.
Stronger together, HTEC and Maestral have the capacity to continue to expand the already substantial platform for the development of their team members. We strive to enable our team members to impact the world from where they are, to make it possible to grow and thrive without having to move for greener pastures. To borrow a saying often heard around the hallways and watercoolers, we bring the Silicon Valley to our doorstep, empowering the region’s top talent to reach full professional realization right here in their own community.
The joining of forces between HTEC and Maestral is a monumental event. We understand that a change of this magnitude carries a complex mix of emotions for the people that make up our organizations. While uncertainty and doubt are not just understandable, but also unavoidable, they are also temporary. What is permanent is what connects us – our devotion to the people that have carried us to this point and our shared desire to create an ideal environment for them to thrive. Together, we have the power and the opportunity to build a better workplace, a better industry, and a better future.
We are excited for what the future holds and can’t wait to roll up our sleeves and start building it together.