The quote below comes from PRITCHET, LP, a post-merger integration consulting firm based in Dallas. They use the metaphor of a gunslinger to describe those who would succeed at managing mergers. (The Merger Verger likes the metaphor and has used it previously here: Gunslinger Wisdom.)
During a merger, you need to become a bit of a gunslinger. There is real danger in waiting from problems to “draw first” … and you don’t have the luxury of taking time to aim perfectly.
We’re not advocating that you proceed with wild abandon,
but we do want to emphasize that the conservative, slow, methodical approach typically doesn’t cut it in a merger environment. That can be the most reckless strategy of all.
The Verger agrees with the good folks at PRITCHETT; they are correct that too much can go too badly wrong with a wait-and-see attitude. The idea of taking one’s time “to get it right” is yet another one of those areas where merging companies and running them are two completely different arts.
That said, it is equally important to note one element of their observation that is tucked neatly right in the middle: “We’re not advocating that you proceed with wild abandon….”
Gregg Stocker, author of the book “Avoiding the Corporate Death Spiral” has this to say about one of the disruptive risks of doing a deal:
Although true of any size company, small companies must be especially careful that an acquisition does not become such a distraction that it pulls management attention away from running the organization as a whole.
Stocker’s observation is true in both the deal-doing process and the integration process but in the latter the converse is also true. Integrating two companies is a complex, long-running and very challenging process and senior management must not let the day-to-day fires of the underlying organizations keep them too far from it. Managing a company and a deal is a true balancing act.
Tomorrow – and tomorrow only – the Sun will “acquire” Venus. Be sure not to miss it (but don’t look too hard)!
If you are trying to conjure up a thread that connects the “Transit of Venus” with acquisition integration, don’t bother. I just think the concept is cool.
The so-called “transit” occurs when the planet Venus comes precisely between the sun and the earth so that we can see the planet in silhouette against the sun, small but definitely visible. The process – from entering into the sun’s path to leaving it – will take about six hours but will only be visible the entire time in the western US (the sun will set in more eastern regions before the transit is complete).
I urge you to check it out. Of course, The Merger Verger cannot promise that the weather will cooperate but I can promise that if you miss this one, you’re toast. The next transit won’t occur until 2117.
And speaking of toast, unless you want to sauté you retinas, do not look directly at Venus as she transits the sun. (Construct a viewing apparatus similar to that shown below or Google other safe ways to view it.)
Let’s face it, most merger professionals spend an inordinate amount of time in meetings: planning, coordinating, reviewing, thinking and rethinking and on and on. So much of a meeting’s productive potential (and therefore the pleasure or frustration of participating) depends on the composition of the attendees, from the leader on down.
A recent Wall Street Journal article identifies five different types of Meeting Killers, folks that stand in the way of progress, either directly or more nefariously, and some suggested ways of dealing with them. It’s a good, quick read. Check it out here: Meet the Meeting Killers.