A post-merger integration represents an enormous effort. Many businesses underestimate the resource drain.
Deal preparation is important, however, the true integration effort starts after signing. As a matter of fact, even if you have an in-house M&A team, most of the work lies with functional management and their teams. I have seen very few organizations – actually close to zero – who would have an additional layer of resource available for the occasional integration work.
That is one reason that integration teams are frequently staffed with people unqualified for the job – their only merits were that they were available at the time…. In addition, day-to-day business takes priority in may cases, leading to a distraction of management and their operational employees. If teams get overloaded, frustration builds, people resist change and eventually they may even leave.
Prevention strategies include:
- Assess resources before signing
- Bring in M&A experienced resource
- Align management and set realistic expectations
- Consider changing the reward system to achieve integration goals
- Create a positive atmosphere for change and creativity