Inarticulate ramblings of a management consultant

the day to day experiences of a consultant operating in weird and wonderful client situations

Have pity for program leaders of a post merger integration – they need your sympathy!

Imagine the following situation:

  1. You’re given the challenge to program manage a post merger integration, carried out in the public eye, with all of the details (cost, complexity, high level strategy) broadcast to the world. After a few months, you discover that actually there were a number of other people in the frame for the work, who for one reason or another, couldn’t take up the challenge!
  2. You’re given a thousand pages of diligence, written by external advisers who enjoy ‘complexity’ and their own ‘language’ and use it with alacrity! On top of that, after much digging and questioning, you find a business case which was prepared 1 year before the transaction happened. Strangely enough, the business case appears to have little resemblance to the actual transaction in terms of price and scope! On reading of the diligence, distinguishing between that which was material and that which was immaterial, turns out not to have been part of the scope of work for the external advisers.
  3. You read about the assumptions and planned synergies in the paper! Actually, there are some targets which were drawn up a few months ago around potential synergies and it is with horror that you discover that they’re now baked into the overall business case. As you read about the sequence of these being drawn up, there is a strange correlation between the price paid and the synergies targeted…but when you look for the analysis to justify this, it doesn’t appear to be there.
  4. You decide to connect with the various architects behind the deal…but they’re on holiday after a gruelling few months of negotiation! When they return, they seem strangely reluctant to engage with you and provide any insight into the way the negotiation was completed.
  5. The first 2-3 months of management information show a worrying gap between the revenue and p&l budget and the actuals. Whilst your responsibility is integration, senior stakeholders start identifying you as the person ‘on the ground’ and expecting answers with regard to what’s happening. Upon investigation, it turns out that the numbers have been inflated based on the expected ‘synergies’…! A first but by no means last experience of double counting.
  6. As you walk the floor, a worrying lack of productivity seems to pervade the workforce…reports about customer service reducing in quality and a few new product launches which have been delayed..all leading to a significant uplift in churn.
  7. The resources you’ve been promised all seem to have day jobs or other projects which they ‘just finishing off’!

This may come across as a general moan about the plight of integration program leaders…but I’m hoping that it may generate a laugh or moment of recognition as well! Would love to hear from you if any of the above rings true or indeed you can add any other dimensions.

Categories: Complex transformation, Consulting, Functional Leadership, Human Capital, Management Information, Mergers & acquisitions, Post merger integration, Project Management, Transformation

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