Step 10: Execute Detailed M&A Integration Plans (Includes Day 1 Plans)

Executing an acquisition integration plan is certainly one of the most difficult assignments one can face in the corporate world. Anybody who has led the implementation of a large information system or the relocation of a facility knows how many headaches can be associated with those sorts of challenges. But leading an integration involves all the problems of those projects plus an even longer list of management demands. In addition, all of these challenges must be handled in an environment characterized by complex, high-pressure conditions.

Because the convergence of these challenges occurs in a different environment than normally exists for managers, different approaches are required. Managing a merger, regardless of size, is distinctly different from managing an ongoing operation. The first step one can take toward being an effective M&A integration manager is to understand what mergers represent in the life cycle of an organization. As a method of corporate growth, they are revolutionary rather than evolutionary. And it is important to recognize that uncommon growth calls for uncommon solutions. This often means managing the transition in a fashion that seems counter intuitive or completely different from established organizational norms.

Most companies over-complicate their M&A integrations by trying to improve things for improvement's sake. They fail to ruthlessly prioritize and as a result, they tackle too much simultaneously. This can lead to a sense of chaos and confusion that frightens people and leaves them unsure of what to do next. The key is to figure out the critical value drivers of a deal and stay focused on those “critical few” without being distracted by the “screaming many.”

Particularly during the early stages of an acquisition, it’s a priority to produce financial synergies. That speaks volumes to the workforce, because for a lot of those people, the jury will still be out regarding whether it’s a good merger or a bad one. If the company’s financial condition begins to deteriorate, employees typically point to that as hard evidence that something about the merger was bad to begin with or is beginning to go sour.

In this section, we provide presentations that cover the keys to successful prioritization, the required implementation deliverables, and the integration reporting process. Plus, the slides from our Merger Integration Certification Workshop cover best practices in synergy program management.

We also provide various integration status templates to report synergies and milestones achieved to date, activities to be completed, and unresolved problems.

Free Access


acquisition integration
Acquisition Integration Call for Bold Strokes
Acquisition integration calls for uncommon moves and a rejection of status quo management.
m&a decisions
Put Dollar Signs on Your M&A Decisions
When evaluating alternatives, always consider the numbers.
rzs merger integration pm
Acquisition Integration Project Management
Too many companies make the mistake of separating the major phases of a deal (for example, due diligence, agreement, integration) when in fact these phases are always interconnected.
rzs merger integration pm
The Top 5 M&A Integration Objectives
Activities that don't directly contribute to these five objectives are likely to be off target and a poor investment of time and energy.
exploit instability
Ride The Waves: You Can't Avoid the Rough Water
When it comes to categorizing organizational change, mergers stand as the seismic event. Nothing else even comes close. Not even bankruptcy.
acquisition integration
The Five Most Common Post-Merger Costs Due to Mis-Management
Post-merger integration costs (not itemized on any financial statement) that can threaten the success of a deal



Overall Integration Scorecard
Overall M&A Integration Scorecard
The steps to create an integration scorecard and the categories to cover, plus an example.
Synergy Tracking Report
Synergy Tracking Report

Synergy tracking report (by type, work stream, and risk) and examples of overhead cost and synergy projections

M&A Playbooks

Paid Access


good imo
What Is an Example of a Good IMO Schedule?
Length: 2 minutes 31 secondsmovie
IMO Synergy Program Management
How Should an IMO Support Synergy Tracking?
Length: 1 minutes 16 seconds movie


price pritchett
Making Mergers Motivate: A conversation with Merger Consultant,
Price Pritchett, Ph.D.
Some insights and ideas to help you use mergers and acquisitions as energizing events for your company.



Integration Management Office Tools

37 pages of tools frequently used by the IMO (includes M&A integration communication templates, IMO best practices, scorecards, progress reports, and post integration survey)

Example of Completed Decisions Required Tracking Document and Decisions Required Tracking Word Template

The one-page example lists the decisions that need to be made and by whom in order to construct a comprehensive integration plan. An additional one-page Decisions Required Word Template is also provided.

major integration example
Example of Major Integration Milestones and Major Milestones Word Template

One-page example of milestones and timeline, information that the Integration Team Leader uses to lead the integration planning effort and to construct a presentation to the Integration Team.

One-page Major Milestones Word template is also provided.
implementation status report
Implementation Status Report

The subheadings of this one-page Word template include project status, key learnings, key barriers, resource requirements, plan for next week, etc.

integration team weekly status
Integration Team Weekly Status Report

Subheadings of this one-page template include key actions and accomplishments, key issues/decisions required, potential solutions, etc.

Feedback on Merger: Interview Guide
Feedback on Merger: Interview Guide

The objectives of this five-page guide are to

  • Collect and summarize information to guide the integration effort
  • Provide a channel for feedback
M&A Integration weekly status
M&A Integration Weekly Status Report - What and How to Report, Example, and Weekly Status Report Template

One page of instructions on what and how Integration Leaders should report.

One-page Word template of Weekly status report follows.
At 90 days remaining activities by workstream
At 90 Days - Activities by Work Stream

List of tasks by work stream reamining to be completed


Day 1 Human Resources M&A Integration Playbook
Covers 36 HR workstreams and more than 200 actions. Plus, includes key risks and interdependencies.

Day 1 M&A Playbook: Supplier Communications

Includes answers to FAQs, sample letters to suppliers, and important talking points and messages.

Day 1 M&A Playbook: Customer Communications
Easily customized Word document that includes answers to FAQs, sample letters to customers, and critical talking points and messages.


rzs post merger IT integration
Post-Merger IT Integration: Adopt
and Go

Don't expect customers to be tolerant of post-merger problems.
the power of opening moves
The Power of Opening Moves
How you begin the integration carries heavy influence over how you'll finish.
push through the yield point
Acquisition Integration: Push Through the Yield Point
Lose your resolve before passing through the yield point and it has all been wasted effort.
keep the focus on customers during acquisition integration
Keep the Focus on Clients during the Acquisition Integration Period
During the integration, the competition may have an excellent opportunity to gain some of your market share.
manage turnover
Manage Employee Turnover: A Direct By-Product of an Acquisition Integration
Its a fact of life that, whether planned or not, there will be merger casualties.