The integration of a small, well-run company often requires a light touch strategy. In those situations, follow these 10 rules to achieve the best results:

1. Turn off "integration autopilot"

Over time, serial acquirers develop detailed procedures and checklists for running efficient integrations. That can work very nicely, just as long as the same tactics are not blindly applied to all deals, no matter their size.

2. Don't "wing it"

A light touch integration strategy does not mean no touch. Processes always should be implemented even on little deals, to define goals and time frames, track progress, and hold people accountable. Otherwise, teams veer off on tangents, and important things get done slowly or not at all.

3. Watch the us-to-them ratio

In initial integration meetings, acquirers often send an army of their specialists to meet with just a handful of managers from the other side of the deal. The team from the acquired company has to determine who all these people are, what they do, and why they are all there. It can be overwhelming, even intimidating. Keep that in mind when sending out invites.

4. Concentrate on the most pivotal goals

Workloads can become oppressive as integration-related tasks are piled on top of the normal responsibilities of an acquired company's small workforce. Therefore, ruthlessly prioritize objectives. A sustained focus on top priorities provides the best chance to achieve major targets on time, on budget, without burning people out.

5. Eliminate demands for "didley" data ...

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