The journey from “deal announcement” to “integration complete” is a hazardous trip. You expect problems. But the most treacherous terrain often takes executives by surprise.
Let’s divide the merging process into three phases to illustrate the integration pathway:
Phase 1 begins when the deal closes and typically runs through the first two or three months of integration. Sometimes the time frame is conceived as Day 1 through the first 100 days. This period is intense, with many decisions and critical actions as the consolidation process is mobilized. People are scrambling, on high alert. Things are off-balance but moving fast. Uncertainty spikes. You might guess this to be the riskiest time, but bigger challenges lie ahead.
Phase 2 is the shakiest point in the integration process, the lowest point in Death Valley, and typically top management doesn’t see it coming ...