Bill Flynn has collaborated with Alan Mulally, pitched Steve Jobs, accomplished much, failed often, and learned many valuable lessons from thirty years of studying the science of success. Creating efficient businesses is only one of many ways to make the world a better place. In this episode of the DealQuest Podcast, Bill Flynn shares some insightful ways to prevent deal failures.
Why Do Deals Fail?
While it seems like the deals fall through at the end, they usually start to fail from the beginning; you just didn’t know it. Most deal failures are traced back to poor preparation and the inability to remove prospective fail points - a fail point is any point within the deal process that has the potential to affect a satisfactory outcome or the quality of the deal.
Deal success is fundamentally about good integration planning and execution. Integration in an M&A deal refers to adopting one culture, one set of processes, and one long-term goal for two individual firms. Critical integration aspects are culture, management, talent acquisition, and goal setting.
A good integration plan outlines exactly how and when the acquiring and acquired companies’ significant resources, assets, and processes will be combined to achieve the deal’s goals. Appropriately done, integration starts at the deal-planning phase and kicks in after the deal is announced.
If executed well, you will see the structure of the deal put in place and integration already beginning. If the process looks challenging, it may be because the deal was ill-conceived - and deals can fall apart in this phase. However, several other factors contribute to deal failure, ranging from acquisition doubts to working with the wrong client and many more.
What Happens When Deals Fail?
History tells us that corporate marriages do not always last forever; even a deal that appears now to be very fitting may not be so in ten years, particularly as the world economy or new technologies develop in ways that dramatically change markets. A split–or corporate divorce–need not be a bad thing: divisions that their large corporate owners unloved can go on to be a massive success with different backers or even as independent companies. However, once a split does become inevitable, special attention is needed over issues such as staff and governance to ensure an amicable break-up.
How To Prevent Failure In Deals
Not all deals go how we want them to. It’s necessary to learn from past events and make daily improvements to your skillset. For Bill Flynn, there are some ways to prevent deal failures, including:
A high-quality communication plan is crucial to the success of a deal; this can be done in-house or by external parties - public relations advisers. Having a good communication plan can help build a good business relationship, negotiate effectively and increase your team’s morale and efficiency.
A PR Adviser creates a plan to bridge the trust gap between a business and its would-be clients or customers. The expert works on increasing the company’s credibility within its given industry and its overall reputation. The importance of a PR Adviser is underestimated in deals; they help prevent poor communication. Poorly handled communications during mergers and acquisitions can lead to disgruntled employees, distrustful customers, and a confusing brand message.
Effective communication is often a reflection of a well-prepared and well-aligned combined management team. The case for synergies should be clearly articulated in the due diligence phase, and the integration plan should be written by the time the deal is announced.
Overcoming Acquisition Doubts
Several research studies have shown that most deals fail on the merger level. The failures are almost always from the cultural level. You have to make sure there’s an excellent cultural fit. Find a way to do things gradually, and understand the cultural differences.