M&A Essentials for Preparation
Before you embark on any significant journey, while it sounds obvious, it is necessary to understand where you expect to arrive, be clear about the starting point for all who are coming along, and at least have a feel for the minimum you will need along the way to arrive safely and successfully at your destination.
We always begin with a clear understanding of business strategy and how M&A contributes to expected outcomes. When this is followed by a detailed M&A Capability Review it is then possible to work out what is needed, either broadly or by creating a detailed M&A Roadmap.
We find that most acquisitive organisations have some form of M&A processes, tools and documentation to avoid “reinventing the wheel” for every deal. Surprisingly, many still do not include people and culture as a chapter! Our M&A People and Culture Playbook stands alone or can be integrated with existing resources.
Also we find that few organisations have formal M&A Capability Development Programs and most employ “on the job training” to build capability. This can work well for executive teams and deal team members as long as key members are experienced across the spectrum of required skills; more frequently than not, preparing line leaders and functional teams is left to chance.
“I have worked with Karen on a number of international assignments and have found her collegiate approach, and attention to detail whilst considering the overall strategic aim, invaluable.“ – Mercer UK Colleague
Typically we begin by undertaking a detailed review of an organisation’s baseline capability in leadership, culture management, communication and HR team effectiveness – all core capabilities required to enable successful transactions. We also assess resilience and change readiness as required.
“Karen provided us with insight into dealing with a variety of critical M&A issues, as well as a strategic framework for working through these. Our M&A and Human Resources teams gained significant value from Karen’s guidance.” – HR Lead on Deal Team for Australian Energy Company
Our M&A Capability Reviews are modular. Whether this is your first deal or it follows many prior transactions, we will tailor the review to your circumstance. We will use a combination of interview, desktop audit or workshop format, supplemented by the use of proprietary assessment tools.
Research and experience confirm that early attention to business leader capability, deliberate culture management and effective communication can make the difference between delivering on expected M&A outcomes and falling short. The impact of people and culture issues is frequently underestimated or overlooked, and teams are typically less prepared than they need to be going into a transaction.
We do what it takes to identify and understand current capability; preferred approach to sourcing, executing and implementing deals; and lessons from past deals (if done before). We then recommend clear actions to improve M&A capability, team structure, processes and tools.
The M&A People and Culture Roadmap is a fully actionable work plan for achieving better transaction outcomes by planning ahead and addressing critical people and culture issues at the optimal point in the deal cycle.
When an organisation has a clear growth strategy that includes mergers, acquisitions, joint ventures or other similar transactions, there is no reason to go into deals unprepared.
If HR teams are bright, well resourced and motivated, the basics for being effective in support of M&A transactions include understanding deal fundamentals and having a framework, language and tools in common with other deal team members (in anticipation of transactions). Access to an experienced guide for navigating tricky bits along the way is also valuable.
Our M&A People and Culture Playbook/Toolkit works “off the shelf” or it can be tailored to mesh with existing tools and processes. Playbook/Toolkit development projects include mandatory training for users (collaborators welcome to join), as well as ongoing coaching support for peer review and troubleshooting if required.
Consider tapping into our training modules and expertise if your core philosophy is to build and equip internal resources to support M&A transactions, retaining capability in your organisation long after our departure as advisers.
M&A to Z (Build Individual/Team Capability to Effectively Support M&A)
Our core training programmes always begin with business outcomes and focus on the “how to” of leading through change, deliberate culture management, effective communication, and supporting the HR team at every deal stage. Taken together, they provide business leaders and HR teams a common framework, language and skill set in support of delivering deal outcomes while limiting possible collateral damage to customers, employees, reputation, business outcomes and ultimately, shareholders.
M&A Your Way (‘Just in Time’ Training Aligned to Live Deal)
If you have ever wished for more relevant case studies in otherwise useful training courses, or experienced a loss of learning from undertaking “training” in advance of when skills are needed, you are in the right place. “M&A Your Way” draws on “M&A to Z” modules to tailor and time a capability-building program to perfectly suit the pace of your upcoming transaction.
We use your company situation and transaction scenarios to prepare participants for what they will face in the near future. In addition to relevant training modules, typically included in this programme is the development of an M&A People and Culture Toolkit and any required M&A Team Coaching and Individual Mentoring support.
M&A Team Coaching and Individual Mentoring
If your organisation is like most, your business leaders and HR team will have experienced a number of M&A transactions (from some perspective) over the course of reaching a senior or executive level. While capable and experienced, M&A rarely is their first calling and most will benefit from some form of support to assist them to make a better contribution during the course of a transaction.
“Karen’s coaching style carries naturally to her consulting work with organisations, as she places great importance on learning, knowledge transfer and capability building.” – Mercer Australia Colleague
We coach Executive Teams, Deal Teams and HR Teams to prepare ahead of deals and also to shape their contributions along the way. We also provide individual mentoring support to members of these teams or other key business leaders at critical points in transactions.