It seems somewhat ironic that the numbers of mergers and acquisitions taking place (not so much during the recent recession but certainly in the lead up to it) continues to increase, yet research still seems to suggest that surprisingly few ever achieve their promised strategic and financial goals. You might well ask why this is.
Of course, if there was an easy answer then the problem would no longer exist but the evidence shows that it does.
The real value from any merger is delivered, and can only be delivered, through excellent integration. Yet in many mergers responsibility for delivering integration lies either with people who have other roles as well or does not clearly exist at all. Although due diligence teams will by necessity develop a deep knowledge of the acquired company, they all too often disband after the deal closes and provide little or no handover.
You should ask:
- Who is responsible for the integration process?
- Who will ensure that integration deadlines and performance targets are met?
- Who will set out how operations will be combined and make it happen?
- Who will educate people about the new world and provide a focal point for the challenging issues that will always arise?
The role needed is that of an integration manager/leader whose sole reason for being there is to deliver integration successfully. This individual will be a highly motivated top achiever and will be known for having delivered complex change programmes successfully. He/she will be able to get to grips with complex situations quickly, relate to many levels of authority. The will be empathetic where appropriate but will not avoid the tough decisions and, perhaps most importantly, will have enough clout to make things happen.