Déja vu today reading about CEO Stan O’Neil at Merrill Lynch whose job is in jeopardy due to spectacular losses and proposing a merger with Wachovia without board consent. The article hinted at how the Merrill culture rose up and rejected O’Neil. O’Neil ran the Merrill ship in a very transaction-oriented manner whereas the renown “Mother Merrill” culture was famously relationship-oriented. This description brought back memories of what was said about CEO Carly Fiorina’s ouster at HP. She too was said to have been rejected by the ingrained and long-standing HP Way. As I have heard some CEOs say, culture is the agenda. Don’t ever kid yourself. Changing cultures is like playing with fire.