Too many leadership teams approach a pending merger they have worked very hard for, as if this was the first time a merger ever happened … and wind up fighting fires, instead of preparing methodically for success with thorough and deep preparations …. While every situation is unique, you have to do more than align the products and staffs and manage to the numbers …. a successful corporate integration requires both “art and science” to harness and align ‘newly combined hearts and minds’ …
- Majority of mergers called “less than expected” – lack profits, efficiencies, new synergies
- Lost customers – Most mergers result in 17% customer loss per Deloitte research
- Lost/distracted key staff – 1/4th of top performers may leave in first 90 days of announcement. And not just key staff – All mergers have a huge human impact!
- Typical result is lost business focus and momentum – “while we deal with the merger”
M&A Success = Sweat the Small Stuff = Plan, Plan, Plan:
- Run the numbers, but make sure you clearly and commonly understand merger drivers, and find out how to stay focused on “the critical few” and not be distracted by “the screaming many”
- Conduct “Second tier due diligence” on people, cultures, business philosophies and intent – After the numbers match, begin to check for true “fit” and “alignment” in both “intent” and “how we do it”
- Develop Corporate position statements on key issues (that can evolve) – then Communicate 50%+ of time – Which is harder for people to handle, dealing with uncertainty or dealing with change? Train Managers at all levels on merger facts and communications
- Watch for competitors – they will be looking for advantage in the transition – ID & control or mitigate weaknesses and prevent losses (anticipate and manage run-off)
- ID and Manage to your “power hooks” – ID and emphasize features, characteristics, control points, etc. that can create gain … What makes us an attractive option to clients? What do we do well? Make sure you do not lose focus on your “power hooks” as a top priority duringthe merger.
I hope these few key insights are helpful as you plan for mergers. Should you have questions, and/or wish to discuss your unique situation in more detail, please do not hesitate to let me know. All the Best!