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A cardinal rule in M&A is to avoid destroying value, which is why you need to spend the time to build your processes and prepare for the eventuality that something goes wrong. I’ve observed that the most common issues are related to people: how they react to change and how they resist it, and what they do when things don’t go as planned.

One of the most important things we do for our clients is to help them set an approach which allows them to spot potential issues early on and address them promptly. This can be done by holding weekly IMO meeting and functional work streams to evaluate progress and escalate issues or risks to SteerCo.

Once the procedure for addressing issues has been established, it’s vital to focus on the implementation. It is crucial to ensure that the team understands what they are expected to do and how they will be evaluated, and the time frame for when. Also, it should clearly state accountability (i.e. taking ownership of end results) and decision-making authority for the entire integrated company.

It is crucial that the CEO and top managers are able to spend at least 90% of their time on their core tasks and not be distracted by integration activities. It’s best to designate one person to head the Decision Management Office and coordinate work streams. This person could be from the acquiring organization, or it can be an emerging star within the newly formed company who has the backing of their boss in making this commitment.