An unprepared or overconfident acquirer can get lucky and succeed at one deal the same way a bad poker player can sometimes win a hand.
It takes more than good fortune to efficiently and successfully integrate acquired companies time after time. That kind of consistency requires repeatable, flexible, step-by-step processes.
Playbooks developed by PRITCHETT provide clarity on what people should be doing. Without clarity, integrations teams tend to shift into neutral and operate with a lower degree of intensity. But with it, they move forward with confidence, purpose, and speed.
Serial acquirers should document and follow proven M&A integration processes so they can achieve excellent results over, and over, and over again.
THE AREAS COVERED IN A COMPREHENSIVE PLAYBOOK
DEVELOPED BY PRITCHETT CONSULTANTS
Meetings are conducted that facilitate executive front-end agreement (preferably at least 90 days pre-close) on integration strategy, objectives, success metrics, and non-negotiables. Areas of disagreement are resolved early. Senior managers do not operate with different information, make different assumptions, and draw different conclusions.
Guiding Principle Process
Overarching principles about the integration are defined by executives in areas such as speed, communication, culture, and methodology. Integration teams are empowered to make decisions consistent with the principles and therefore make progress with less oversight.
The conditions that must be met for the integration to be considered complete are determined. When teams know where the finish line is, they can begin planning on how to get there.
Rules of Engagement
Pre-close rules regarding the sharing of information are defined, communicated, and enforced. Gun jumping risks are minimized.
Roles and responsibilities for teams are clearly defined. People are held accountable for the quality, timeliness, and consistency of their integration deliverables.
Integration Management Office (IMO) Process
IMO onboards and mobilizes teams, establishes pace, educates teams on the processes, oversees development and execution of plans, assigns synergies, escalates issues requiring senior level input, consolidates and maintains master integration plans and schedules, reports progress and problems, and manages dependencies. Processes are applied with rigor and discipline.
Teams cycle through the same meetings each week for several months. A fixed schedule makes it more likely deadlines will met, risks will be surfaced early, and the integration will not be de-prioritized.
The criteria to determine which initiatives are most important are defined. Good objectives are not pursued at the expense of the best ones.
Issue Resolution Process
Issues are escalated to senior management for resolution expeditiously. The integration maintains its momentum.
Objectives, deliverables, timelines, resources, and priorities are defined. Team members know what they have signed up for. Baseline expectations are communicated.
Scope Change Process
A formal change process is enforced. Scope creep is minimized and changes are well justified.
Detail plans by team with tasks, owners of tasks, dates, and dependencies are developed. Who is going to do what, and by when, is very clear.
Teams produce reports in consistent formats so information can be easily rolled up. Project visibility enables the IMO to hold people accountable and track progress.
Synergy Program Management
Synergy work streams are marked high priority and assigned to owners. The deal's benefits are highlighted, tracked, and achieved.
Frequent, accurate information is sent to stakeholders through various channels. People don't feel left out of the information loop and marginalized.
Risk and Issue Management
Risks and issues are monitored. Serious problems are either pre- vented or their negative impact mitigated.
The target's unwritten rules are revealed and cultural differences that could harm operating performance are evaluated.
Critical talent is identified and re-recruited. Hard to replace employees do not walk out the door.
Teams systematically debrief to refine their approach and capture lessons learned. Hard-won wisdom is not lost. Mistakes are not repeated.
PRITCHETT customized playbooks help integration teams follow the same processes, use the same tools, and operate under a common framework. Consequently, they accomplish more with less effort. Their performance is excellent ... predictably so.