Why Emotional Buy In Is Critical For Successful M&A 

A report published by engagement specialists The Storytellers has revealed that the integration of people and culture has been rated as one of the most important factors in making an M&A deal a success. The report goes on to show that the poor management of this aspect of M&A – and the lack of employee engagement and emotional buy-in – has been highlighted as one of the leading reasons why many M&A deals are unsuccessful.

In the summer of 2013, The Storytellers and Mergermarket surveyed 100 senior executives with experience of the M&A process using a mixture of quantitative and qualitative questions. These questions focused on the challenges associated with M&A integration, the importance of getting people to buy into a deal and the role that emotion plays in successful deal making. All interviews were conducted by telephone and all responses are anonymised and presented in aggregate.

The successful integration of people and culture is seen as one of the most important factors in making an M&A transaction a success. However, it can be hard work, with respondents seeing it as a step that requires very significant resources. Taken together, these results make it unsurprising that the poorly-managed integration of people is seen as one of the most common reasons why M&A deals fail.

If employees feel hostile towards the new company then all other aspects of the integration will be much more challenging. It is therefore crucial to get new employees on board, with the process of creating an emotional connection an often-overlooked aspect of ensuring the integration can proceed smoothly and efficiently.

How to build an emotional connection during a merger?

When asked what should be done to help build an emotional connection, respondents suggested that early and continuous communication was the most important factor. This was followed by a need to rapidly bring teams from the two organisations together, with delays likely to fuel resentment and distrust.

The Storytellers are world leaders in the use of narrative and storytelling techniques that help business leaders realise the potential of their people. They help them to execute strategy, build cultures, improve performance and make change happen. Find out more here.

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