Secret Ingredients to Successful M&A
A mere 5% of M&A transactions actually results in a deal being made. Few are total failures, but most involve some sort of significant disappointment. A few simple strategies can increase the odds of a successfully selling your business.
Clear, Specific Vision
Successful mergers and acquisitions require a clear vision that outlines the goals and opportunities associated with the deal. Without full engagement in a shared vision by both firms, the deal is doomed to failure.
The best visions are specific, offering clear goals and benchmarks by which success can be measured. Clear communication about this vision can support its implementation, so involve stakeholders, including employees, from the beginning.
Hanging On to Top Talent
Due diligence extends to your employees. Too often, leadership fails to understand its people. It discounts their needs, or assumes they have no other options. You need to engage the people who will be most affected by the merger from the very beginning. Clear messaging that engages both logic and emotion can move the transformation forward, creating a shared vision.
Executives who have survived other mergers might not consider the process threatening. But for staff whose lives revolve around their job, a merger can be terrifying. Empathy, openness, and a willingness to shift strategies can help. The more visible your commitment to your staff is, the less likely you are to have serious problems retaining key talent.
Engage All Stakeholders
M&A deals often happen behind closed doors, with key players behaving as if the deal belongs to them and won’t affect others. Yet real success requires engaging the broader organization, rather than just a select few powerful players. Seek insight form the organization’s core. And note that while hierarchy can support efficiency, a hierarchical approach to M&A often fails.
Your approach should engage a wide audience, including the staff who stand to be affected by the deal. Enact an open door policy, and solicit input from everyone. You don’t have to listen to everything you hear, but you do have to have a policy of listening, and acting on useful feedback.
A Secret Recipe
No single approach can guarantee a successful merger. Yet paying heed to a vision that engages the entire organization gives you a shot at being part of the top 5% that succeed. Your vision must clearly spell out the opportunity you seek, and how you plan to make that opportunity a reality. Engage with a diverse range of workers, and adjust your plan based on their input. This accelerates your ability to synthesize new ideas, while fostering a culture and energy that can help your new organization live up to its potential.