7 Steps that Leaders should take to be successful in Mergers and Acquisition Integration

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In spite of repeated M&A failures due to people element challenges of an integration, we often ignore the most powerful and impactful element of successful integration: people. People are the organization. Let’s discuss 7 steps that any leader should ensure are taken in any M&A effort.
1. First things first. It is important to recognize what is going to bring the biggest ROI in the integration or what is going to give you the biggest bang for your buck. Low hanging fruit can reap millions while other undesirable elements with little impact can remain unchanged for now. Identify those areas that are the weakest, misaligned efforts that can be dangerous; these elements foreseen or not should be addressed immediately with a plan of action with timing complementing the level of risk.
2. Stabilize the structure: Naturally any M&A is going to birth a two headed monster. Duplication is everywhere and can be especially dangerous at the top where decision- making is at a clash, creating a negative domino effect throughout the rest of your organization. Be sure to analyze the organizational structure early on, keeping what is the greatest strength in the structure, taking this opportunity to streamline and creating a structure that works for the new organization versus the two old ones. Be clear regarding where authority should appropriately sit, how power should be distributed and what relationships should be direct and indirect according to delivering business results most effectively.
3. Stabilize the leadership and the people. As the good Proverbs say “Without a Vision the people will perish.” Well, with two visions, the people will be confused. Ensuring that there is consistent leadership coupled with consistent direction and messaging is key to a healthy start of your newly merged organization. Choosing the best leadership for the new structure is going to ensure that the best people for other roles are in place and overall your human capital is the best for performance in the new organization.n
4. Culture is often the most ignored element of the M&A naturally because it’s the most ignored in organizations. Though I must say that this trend tends to be changing. Leaders are realizing the power in intentional culture and how it impacts the bottom line and long term performance. Your organization will have a culture. It will be a culture intentionally created by leadership or a culture that will be spontaneously derived from multiple directions, desired or not. Be intentional regarding what you desire the culture to be and cultivate that.
5. Measure what you now want to see. Measure the newly desired performance obviously. However, be sure to also measure the growth of the culture, in which you are choosing to invest. As you measure, it will be easier to identify what and who is having a positive impact on the realization of your vision.
6. Reward and reinforce what is working for the new culture and company. Identify those champions on ALL levels who are impactful in a positive way on performing well according to the new standards of the organization and who are supporting the successful synergies of the integration.
7. Continue to monitor performance, employee adjustment and adapt to changing needs. Ensure that you continue to be flexible, because your exploration and discovery will not necessarily end with the end of the formal integration of your organization.!