Because of the ‘shake-out’ that’s occurred with our economy over the past year, there are more companies than ever looking to sell, and therefore, more opportunities to buy. If you’re like a few of my clients, smart acquisitions are part of your strategic plan. However, as you identify criteria your ideal targeted acquisition candidates need to have (i.e., revenues, margins, location, equipment, staff, etc.), consider two 'soft-skills' items that can make or break a successful post-acquisition integration: culture fit and business infrastructure fit.
Two 'soft-skills' items that can make or break a successful post-acquisition integration: culture-fit and business infrastructure fit
If you're planning to purchase more than hard assets, take a good hard look at the culture of the organization you're contemplating acquiring.
- Are the company cultures and values similar?
- Who/what staff and positions will be part of the acquisition?
- How long are the ‘acquired’ employees expected to remain in the ‘new’ organization and in what roles?
- How do these people feel about the acquisition?
- How long has each been with the company?
- What SPECIFIC skills do they bring to help support a smooth acquisition/merger?
- What SPECIFIC influence do they have over other employees of the acquired company(ies) to ease (or disrupt) the transition?
- Who are potential individuals (staff, family, community, other stakeholders) that may resist this acquisition and why?
- Does the company have a history of holding team members accountable to the company mission, values, and their job performance expectations - or will this concept be new to them (and potentially not appreciated)?
Business Infrastructure Fit:
How do they conduct and manage their business?
- What systems, processes, procedures, software, reporting and record keeping systems do they use company-wide and in every department to run operations?
- Will it be fairly easy or a nightmare to integrate their data into your company’s tracking and reporting systems?
- Will you have to run their system(s) as well as yours for months/years until you can clean up/integrate/import their data and operations into your current systems?
- How does the company currently manage daily and strategic operations?
- Is there a management team or a sole/select few leaders calling the shots?
- Is there a management team with specified responsibilities?
- Is there a management team that meets/works collaboratively?
- Do they manage according to budgets, projections, performance metrics, etc., and if so, what are they and how SPECIFICALLY does that work?
- What introduction/on-boarding/welcoming process are you planning to welcome and integrate the new team members into your organization to ease and quicken their integration into your 'family'?
- What training and change management processes are you planning to transition not only the new staff - but your current staff as well - on working with new staff, new operations, etc?
Buying the hard assets of a company is an exciting opportunity. So don’t overlook the challenging ‘soft-skills’ items that can quickly turn an otherwise ‘smart’ acquisition into a costly nightmare.
Copyright MMXXI - Liz Weber, CMC, CSP - Weber Business Services, LLC – www.WBSLLC.com +1.717.597.8890
Liz supports clients with strategic and succession planning, as well as leadership training and executive coaching. Learn more about Liz on LinkedIn!