What's the #1 People Integration Success Factor?

Mark Herndon headshot
By Mark Herndon
Chairman, M&A Leadership Council
Sep 21, 2016

Now, what is the #1 most important people integration success factor? If you said “communications,” you just won 1,000,000 “gipper points.” And I’ll be willing to bet that you’ve also got some tire tracks across your back from lessons learned the hard way on this important topic. Most organizations have had this same important learning.

As indicated in this week’s downloadable resource, Communications -- #1 People Integration Success Factor, we highlight partial results from a previous survey from a group of over 200 skilled acquirers with more than five completed deals in the prior two years. Here you’ll see that 90 percent of respondents indicate communication as the most important people-integration success factor, yet only a shockingly low 43 percent of those same respondents indicate their integration communications were successful. What about the other 47 percent? What actually happened between good intention and solid execution? See how many of these you can relate with and what gaps your next communications plan must address more effectively.

"You've also got some tire tracks across your back from lessons learned the hard way.”

Top reasons communications were ineffective:

  • Inadequate resources
  • Too slow
  • Inadequate senior management attention
  • Not all groups were communicated to
  • The messages were inconsistent
  • Launched too late
  • Not well planned
  • Not frequent enough
  • Ended too early

But wait, there’s more! At a minimum, you’ve got to have a clearly defined communications planning and response process; dedicated resources hard-wired into the integration management office; adequate training for all presenters / communicators; a fast-turn pre-closing communications protocol worked out in advance with the legal counsel and executive teams of both buyer and seller; and – please don’t forget this – both a proactive and reactive social media strategy.

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