Five Questions Before Leaping

Robert Sher, a Forbes contributor and author of the book “The Feel of the Deal,” offers an extremely succinct set of questions for any senior executive considering an acquisition. They should be part of the CSEE (C-Suite Entrance Exam).

Writing in the Forbes cliff jumpingLeadership Forum, Sher sets the stage by asking this simple question:

Why is M&A success such a crap shoot?

To which he answers thus:

The sad fact is that most deals look great on paper but few organizations pay proper attention to the integration process – that is, how the deal will actually work once all the paperwork is signed.

His five key questions address the following critical issues:

  1. Management capacity
  2. Cultural compatibility
  3. Alignment with corporate strategy
  4. Purchase price and integration investment
  5. Alternative uses of the invested capital

Check out the full text of Sher’s piece here. And more on Sher here.



Short Course in Communication

For any merger integration professional, effective listening is an absolute pre-requisite for success. If your communication skills are weak, your career will be short.

So The Merger Verger highly recommends a recent Forbes article entitled “10 Communication Secrets of Great Leaders” by Mike Myatt (available here). It is an excellent short course in effective communication and offers a very quick study for busy merger professionals.  Do yourself a favor and read it.

If you take nothing away from Myatt’s piece, take this:

Communicating is not about you or even your idea; it is about your audience.

It is about your audience.  When passing out merger messages, do not fail to reflect on how to reach the individuals that constitute your audience, on what their concerns and agendas are, how much information they can handle in one sitting, and what elements of your message may add to or distract from its core for them.


Aside, the First:

The picture that illustrates the Forbes article was a 2-D Mount Rushmore of Great Communicators: Lincoln, Churchill, and King.  I strongly recommend that everyone stop briefly to consume the Gettysburg Address.  Never before or since have 278 words contained such emotion and power.

Then try Churchill’s “we shall fight them on the beaches.”  Finally, read the whole of the speech that most people know only by its sound bite: I Have a Dream.  After reading these three short pieces, you will know in absolute fullness one cornerstone of each man and what he stands for.

Aside, the Second:

For you New Yorkers, the Morgan Library & Museum will be hosting an exhibition entitled “Churchill: The Power of Words” from June 8 to September 23, 2012.  It looks like it should be very good.  Plus you get to see the Morgan Library.  Who doesn’t love a two-fer?