We are coming into that time of year where a lot of companies are gearing up or doing their annual planning to prepare for next year. In preparation for that, we are presenting a webinar in conjunction with the Association for Corporate Growth, ACG, to highlight some of the mistakes companies make and three very important lessons that can help you avoid those mistakes and the failure that accompanies them. Did you know that on average, only 50-60% of companies actually hit their annual performance targets? The stats are not very good, and even worse if you have just participated in a merger or acquisition. Team members involved in a merger or acquisition want to know two primary things: where is the company going, and what do you need me to do today?
From a leadership perspective, there’s a real thirst for increasing leadership accountability. Executives have recently asked me various questions that linger over the concept of building team accountability to help them achieve their strategic plans while creating high performing teams:
“How do I build accountability in teams?”
“What else can I do to get people to do what we need them to do?”
“How can I hold a team member to be held accountable and still be seen as a good leader?”
"How do I balance leadership accountability and personal accountability when building a team?"
"Creating a culture of accountability is hard, how do I provide constructive feedback without being the bad guy?"
Building team accountability requires that we understand a few dynamics because it’s more complicated than we might recognize. It goes above and beyond the responsibility for the outcomes, which is obviously important, but effective leaders know that they need a culture of accountability in their teams that provide the inputs needed to achieve the expected team performance.
Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A) are not for the faint of heart. Any CEO who has navigated those waters will tell you it is a tremendous challenge to blend cultures, systems, processes and teams successfully. The statistic is 70-90% of M&A's fail -- that's a scary number! Instead of focusing on that metric, let's talk about numbers we should be measuring around M&A.
Every acquisition deal starts with an incredible amount of due diligence. Are the cultures and values compatible? Do the product lines and customer bases support each other? Do the numbers work and take us down a path of growth? Ultimately, if the deal goes through, benefits have been seen by both parties. Now, it's up to the newly-merged company to both preserve the current value of the organization and meet growth projections. It's a delicate balance.
An acquaintance of mine has recently undergone a merger at her corporation. As a mid-level employee, she knew it was coming; her company had announced a few months ago, but she hadn't heard any specific details other than it was going to happen.
When the time came for the companies to merge, there was confusion, misalignment, and miscommunication. Unfortunately when merging companies, often preparing employees for coming change has been left off the agenda or is an afterthought. Trust me that it is just as important, if not more so, to make the teams are prepared for the merger as it is to worry about day to day operations. The long term success of the merged company depends on the communication strategy to communicate with employees.
You just completed an acquisition in business, time to celebrate and break out the champagne. For some companies, acquiring businesses is their top growth strategy. Unfortunately for most companies, acquisitions fail to meet their objectives in the first year if at all. This can also be one of the most difficult ways to grow your business. That said, failure is not imminent if you do the right things to make the acquisition a success. One of these things is to focus on integrating the culture of the new company with the mothership. It sounds easy and straightforward, although integrating cultures is one of the biggest challenges and failure points after an acquisition. It takes a lot of time and effort to do it right. This is one reason that you should do your best to acquire companies that have good alignment with your Core Purpose and Core Values already to make the merger integration of the target company happen more smoothly.
It was my pleasure to present a webinar last week with our partners, ACG, SunTrust, and the National Center for the Middle Market, on a topic that keeps many of our clients up at night - how to maximize M&A as a growth strategy. As the exclusive research report provided by the National Center for the Middle Market shows, for many executives, M&A feels like a big risk. Few have experience acquiring a business or selling off part of their business, and the statistics are against them - depending on which study you read, somewhere between 50-90% of acquisitions fail. So, if you are considering mergers and acquisitions as part of your growth strategy, you have good reason to be cautious.
However, there are some proven ways to increase your chances of success. We’ve seen these patterns play out several times with our clients over the last decade, and we want to share the National Center for Middle Market’s research and our insights into how you can beat the odds and succeed with your acquisition.
Most Companies Fail Due to Poor Strategic Execution
As a fan of Blue Ocean strategy, you already know how important it is to have the right strategy. But, a great strategy executed poorly produces lackluster results and missed targets. Unfortunately, most companies and top executives focus their efforts on developing a strong strategy but spend very little time converting those strategies into “execution ready” plans that clearly define the actual work team members need to do to bring the 3-5 year strategic plan as determined in your planning process to fruition.
At our annual Rhythm Systems Breakthrough Conference in Charlotte, we had the opportunity to survey our audience of over 150 mid-market executives and ask the question, “What are the top 8 business challenges for mid-market companies?” The term “mid-market” refers to the size of a company based on its annual revenue, usually between $10 - $500 million. It may seem like a big swing to go from $10 million to $500 million, but not so big when you consider that only 3% of all companies ever make it past the $10 million mark.
Depending on which study you read, somewhere between 50-90% of acquisitions fail to meet their objectives. According to Bain & Company, “many acquirers - perhaps most - leave huge amounts of value on the table in every deal.” They fail to successfully integrate the acquisition in three main areas: missed targets, loss of key people, and poor performance in the base business.
Failure to successfully integrate the deal you just spent months negotiating can impact more than your bottom line; the productivity, retention, and engagement costs can be significant to your company as well.
We are thrilled to host our 5th Annual Breakthrough Conference once again in Charlotte, NC, this October 24th and 25th, at the Charlotte Marriott City Center. Charlotte is Rhythm Systems' home base, and we want you to enjoy it as much as we do. Here are some recommendations to enhance your stay once the conference is wrapped!
- Dine at 5Church, in walking distance of the Charlotte Marriott City Center, for sophisticated southern cuisine.