Mergers and Acquisitions are typically entered into with a great deal of fanfare and expectation and I can point to many successful M&A transactions that have produced the expected results.
But unfortunately, and too often, instead of driving success they cause the joint businesses to stall. Despite boasts of great synergies and 1+1=3, far too many fail to live up to expectations. Personally, I’ve lived through my share of acquisitions where business value was lost in the transition, providing me with some tough lessons along the way. But there were positive outcomes from this experience, outcomes and lessons that I’ll be sharing with you at WPC.
By their nature, M&A deals are relationships secretly created by the most senior level of an organization that are then thrust without warning upon employees and customers. There are good reasons for not announcing mergers until everything is signed, but the impact is often confusion, apprehension, and a potential loss of trust and loyalty; loyalty being one of the most valuable assets an organization has.
During M&A discussions, leaders focus on financial and legal due diligence and synergies. So much so, that when they do join together, their emphasis continues to be on cost savings, standardizing processes and organizational structure, ignoring much of what made them successful in the first place. I’m not suggesting KPIs and synergies aren’t important, only they just can’t be the only focus.
Planning for life both during transition and longer term, making definitive, well-communicated decisions, and recognizing there are challenges to be faced as you get to know each other, all need to be included in your game plan. Don’t assume that just by bringing together the best talent you will be assured of a winning team. You need a cohesive strategy (game plan) that leverages the best of the overall team. Do your best to leverage what they already have; coach more and manage less.
I hope you’ll join me at WPC for “Making Mergers Work”, a session that will focus on developing plans to leverage the best in your organizations. You’ll learn specific strategies and tactics that will greatly improve your chances of merger success.