Nobody in their right mind expects merger integration to be a trouble-free process. Simply put, combining organizations is a scratchy drill. There's no such thing as a zero-defects integration.
So, the question is, how can you discern the “normal” problems from the warning signs that signal major risk? What should scare you the most?
Below is a checklist of the top ten danger signs that indicate serious trouble. Take a hard look at your merger and make a check mark by the critical distress signals that are surfacing in your organization.
Key people are leaving.
You are not hitting the numbers.
Top management is holed up in the executive bunker.
Communication starts drying up.
People are focused on internal politics and issues instead of your customers.
You’re losing clients.
There’s confusion regarding corporate strategy and direction.
The integration process is sluggish and losing momentum.
Management is scattered due to a poor sense of priorities.
Competitors are closing in.
Keep in mind, these problems feed on one another. And as the saying goes, “Disaster accelerates.” Turning around a troubled integration gets tough.
The handbook, Smart Moves: A Crash Course on Merger Integration, sketches out a series of specific actions designed to help acquirers prevent difficult problems and therefore dramatically improve their odds of success.