M&A Pitfalls: Full Integration

Managing a post-merger integration is a mammoth task. Integrating everything is not a requirement.

Objectives should be challenging – no doubt. The objective to integrate an acquired business in full may be a little too much, though: Full integration is rarely required to achieve the major acquisition goals, and is usually only asked for if a clear business strategy has not been formulated.

A full integration approach is less targeted than a focused strategy, and often leads to a scenario in which everybody integrates something, but nobody understands the true integration objective and benefit. A lack of prioritization of integration goals will inevitably lead to resource issues, and resource issues lead to frustration. A thought-through change concept does not exist. Consequently, the organization will be very busy, but likely also another example for an unsuccessful integration attempt.

Prevention strategies include:

  • Management involvement in developing the future organization design
  • Developing a target operating model (a.k.a. “TOM” – compare this article)
  • Leadership commitment to the TOM
  • Identification and elimination of leadership that will not be part of the joint business