The most important rule in M&A is to ensure that you don’t destroy value, so you need to spend the time to create your processes and plan carefully for when things go wrong. From my experience, the most common problems are about people – how they react to change as well as their resistance to it and how they respond when something doesn’t go according to was planned.

One of the primary tasks we provide to our clients is to help them set up a process that allows them to recognize possible issues early and address them promptly. This could be such things as having a weekly meeting where the IMO and functional work streams examine the progress made against the plan and raise issues and risks to the SteerCo.

When the strategy for dealing with issues is established, it’s important to focus on execution. It’s important to make sure that the team members know what they’re expected to do and how they’ll be evaluated and when. Also, it should clearly state accountability (i.e. taking ownership of end results) and the authority to make decisions for the entire integrated company.

It is vital that the CEO and senior managers are able to spend at minimum 90 percent of their time focused on their core tasks and not be distracted by integration activities. It is best to designate one person to head the Decision Management Office and coordinate work streams. This can be someone from the acquired organization or a rising star within the merging company who has the support of their boss to fulfill this commitment.


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