As a long-time practitioner of CM, I have been involved periodically in M&A situations. Usually this was the result of M&A that was never really resolve, e.g. two cultures still exist within the company or there are sub-groups based on former associations. It seems that M&A is a CM problem of the highest order. Chance of failure is high, tensions are high and the cost of not integrating will be the expected synergies that were driving the move in the first place. Interestingly enough, it seems that it is possible to map an M&A engagement directly to the standard CM framework that I follow. Vision becomes clarity on the expected synergies and the new operating model, for example. One difference that I’ve noted is the amount of external communication that is involved in M&A vs a typical change initiative. There is much more external communications required and more emphasis on taking care of customers.
Agreed. The emphasis on customers is far greater in the M&A changes than the internal changes that I’ve been a part of as change management consultant. This makes sense considering the need for the business to continue performing even during the integration or transition. Customers needs still need to come first so as not to disrupt the ultimate value of either the target organization or acquirer.
In a recent M&A, the senior leadership of the target organization had a very robust comms strategy for customers. It combined emails, phone calls, and even a roadshow of the CEO to key customers. All of this thoughtfully aligned the leaders at the customer with their key sponsors within the target organization, leveraging existing relationships whenever possible. So far, it’s appeared to be successful – though I have no doubt that the multiple weeks of outreach are exhausting for senior leaders. Kudos to them!