How to Identify Key Leaders in Due Diligence and Integration

What is the best way for your due diligence team to characterize the seller’s leadership and incorporate key leaders into the integration plan?

Leadership is critical to M&A success (or failure). Last week we explored these themes in our new webinar, “Leadership Essentials for Successful M&A” led by Dr. J. Keith Dunbar. Keith’s groundbreaking research identified the following leadership predictors:

M&A Leadership Predictors

Leadership skills critical to M&A success identified by Dr. Dunbar’s research.

In the webinar, Dr. Dunbar emphasized that to increase the likelihood of success in acquisition, strong leaders with the M&A skills listed above should be identified at both the acquirer and seller.

Here’s how your due diligence team can find key leader at the seller’s organization and include them in your integration plan.

First, identify your leadership risk and strength areas and the specific leaders in your organization.

Then, align leaders at your organization with leaders at the target company. Focus any important areas of the business that are extremely critical for integration and retention of talent.

For example, let’s say you acquire an engineering software company and the technology is critical to the acquisition strategy. You find that your leaders rank highly in the skill “build relationships” but the target’s leaders do not. Your leaders should work closely with the target’s leadership, serving as coaches and mentors to bridge the leadership risk area, close gaps and help the target assimilate as quickly as possible.

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About Dr. J. Keith Dunbar

Dr. J. Keith Dunbar is the author of “The Leaders Who Make M&A Work” and CEO and Founder of Potentious, an M&A leadership consulting firm.

Dr. Dunbar serves as Director of Talent Management at Leidos, supporting more than 23,000 employees. Prior to this role, he was Director of the Leadership Academy and Global Learning Solutions Group with the Defense Intelligence Agency. Dr. Dunbar retired from the U.S. Navy in 2006 after a celebrated 21-year career in naval intelligence. He received his Doctorate of Education from the University of Pennsylvania in 2013.