Most senior teams understand that M&A transactions present huge demands and require a different kind of leadership than their day-to-day experience usually entails. In particular, balancing “hard” and “soft” leadership issues requires some objective assessment in light of the impact of the combination on both organizations. Here’s a balanced list of discussion topics for the Executive team to get the process off to a good start. Depending on scope and size of the deal, this could be covered in a single meeting or in a series of meetings.
- Are we sure that a strategy of growing through acquisition will deliver value to shareholders? What risks do we see in accomplishing this?
- How will the currently proposed deal deliver value?
- What will be different in one year if we are successful?
- In what ways will our organization be challenged to deliver on the promise of this deal?
- What plans will we make before deal closing?
- When will we make these plans?
- Who should we involve in the planning process?
- Which integration elements should move most quickly, and why?
- Do we have the people and senior leaders to make this acquisition a success?
- In which areas should we proceed more slowly, and why?
- What words or phrases do our people use to define our culture?
- How does our culture drive superior performance?
- What might we choose to improve about the culture?
- What do we know about the target culture and how that has driven their performance?
- What common culture of performance should we strive for during integration?
- Which of their people are key to the value we want to deliver? What is our plan to retain target organization staff?
- What have we learned about acquisition success from previous experience?
- Have we included the potential benefits and challenges of acquisitions in our strategic planning process?
- How will we incorporate the target’s leaders into our organization?
- What messages are important to deliver about the acquisition?
- What are our plans for communicating with key stakeholder groups?