Mergers & acquisitions are a challenging undertaking requiring strong and engaged leadership to drive success. Some of the biggest challenges can be found in the people side of the equation – the uncertainty and stress – that require a leader who understands that the value of a company is based on the value of its employees. In addition, the complexities of the merger itself, both operationally and culturally, require leaders who understand what these challenges are, or at least know to ask the right questions and surround themselves with quality people.
The following six areas are key factors for leaders to consider when entering a merger or acquisition:
- Never underestimate the power of strong communications. Identify a communications lead from the outset and develop a plan. Share merger information – merger goals, key milestones, workforce plan – as soon as possible to alleviate stress to the employees of both organizations. People want to be in the know – good or bad- so they feel valued and can better prepare mentally. Think about how you feel when you arrive at the airport to see “Delayed” next to your flight – what does that mean – maintenance, crew, weather? Yes, it is still delayed but don’t you feel better when you are told why?
- Team integration. It is imperative that the merger team forges productive working relationships with people in the acquired company. The unique knowledge that each person brings to the table is valuable for both parties. Identify the key stakeholders from the outset to get a head start on these relationships.
- Cultural alignment. A cultural assessment may have been done during due diligence, but likely at a high level. Take the time to develop this in detail and bring forward the best of both cultures. Remember, company culture aligns with the people and the people should come first.
- Value maintenance and innovation. Determine the product portfolio as soon as possible and develop the plan to integrate the products. This takes time to ensure that the value of the merger is being created. Additionally, don’t let great ideas and innovation slip through the cracks during the process. Review the R&D pipeline and new innovations and keep those moving forward.
- Operational integration. This is the nuts and bolts of the merger- integration of major processes, IT platforms and management reporting. Identify the best legacy processes, IT platforms and reporting tools to keep. A merger is a good time for housekeeping and getting things right.
- This may be the last point, but one of the highest priorities. Spend the time to assess the talent pool and retain top talent. Successful companies are driven by engaged, energetic and enthusiastic employees – don’t lose sight of this during a merger.
Dan Patrick | Senior Consultant | TayganPoint Consulting Group | firstname.lastname@example.org
Molly Romano | Consultant | TayganPoint Consulting Group | email@example.com