If the point of a merger or acquisition is to create synergy and energy, why do so many go up in smoke ? Because firms don't "do the work of merging from the moment the essence of the deal is done, as if they were already in the future, in the successfully merged entity," say Robert Jacobs and Frank McKeown, founders of 5 oceans [sic], a consulting firm in Chelsea, Mich.
Thus, Jacobs and McKeown offer steps to help wrest the best from a new deal:
* Challenge assumptions and traditional mindsets that can pit one company against another. Key stakeholder representatives should identify the best of both to carry forward to the new entity.
* Hold joint executive team sessions to explore "what if" scenarios; look at how to do business as the merged entity. This provides a...