Gtmhub & OKRs for M&A

Gtmhub & OKRs for M&A provides an insight into how the Gtmhub Results Orchestration System in combination with OKRs presents a new and effective approach for addressing long-standing challenges that plague the integration phase of Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A).

Time for a new approach

Between 70 and 90 percent of acquisitions fail. This is the "depressing" reality confirmed by Graham Kenny writing for the Harvard Business Review in 2020. He went on to note that the problem is equally severe "in cases you wouldn't necessarily expect," such as in the case of businesses that are clearly complementary in nature. The issue is that while the challenges to achieving synergies are well understood, there are no easy solutions. 

Lack of common definitions

Post-merger integration is supposed to start without delay on day one of the timeline. However, starting from day one, what often happens is both parties gradually begin to discover they have no common set of definitions for goals and priorities, and this is true for opposite numbers of both organizations across all levels of hierarchy and every department. The danger of misunderstanding is real. Delays born out of the need to establish a common functional language for business priorities are inevitable.

Lack of visibility beyond high profile personnel

Successful integration requires visibility that goes far beyond the names and faces that make up the leadership team. Even an up-to-date and fully mapped organization chart is not enough. Successful integration requires identifying the people and teams behind the key outcomes that drive the gears of success. But as the name suggests, these 'unsung heros' are difficult to identify. The opacity leads to the danger they are discovered too late, i.e., after they have left, ensuring their skills, talent, and tribal knowledge are forever lost to the organization.

Persistence of organizational boundaries

M&A is driven by the hope that the returns that justify the considerable investment in capital and time will be delivered through synergy. But while the vision for synergy might be clear on paper to the leadership of both organizations during the deal stage, in order to realize it, what is required is the widescale collaboration between two hitherto completely separate organizations. 

But for the same reason integration planners struggle to identify key people, it's just as hard for personnel to identify opposite numbers with shared and synergistic goals. Since they are unable to take the initiative, they have little choice but to wait for organizational redesign to run its course - a process so slow that the danger is that by the time it's complete, the opportunity for synergy in large part no longer exists.

The slide into cultural divide

The aforementioned issues can combine to give rise to a phenomenon that can be the most toxic and insurmountable of all the problems thus far touched upon. Anyone who has worked at a company that has become the subject of M&A can attest to the fact that one of the most debilitating issues is the 'them and us' cultural divide that can quickly emerge. It can last indefinitely. Worse, once it takes hold, it becomes extremely difficult to uproot, and a leading cause for why more often than not, M&A initiatives fail to deliver the return on investment that seemed so within easy reach during negotiations.

The Solution

Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) is a lightweight goal-setting framework used by individuals, teams, and organizations. The association of OKRs with hyper-growth companies including Google, Adobe, Linkedin, and AirBnB has contributed to the ever-increasing popularity of the framework and its uptake well beyond the confines of the tech sector.

When OKRs are used in combination with the Gtmhub results orchestration system, challenges that plague the M&A integration phase can be decisively addressed, setting the stage for consistently orchestrating successful M&As.

OKRs as a common language

OKRs provide a common language for objectives that is simple enough for all levels to quickly adopt, yet powerful enough to communicate priorities with clarity. Empowered by a common language, all sides can immediately progress to collaborative strategy definition without misunderstanding. For the same reason, two-way communication of strategy and progress between all levels of the emergent organization can be achieved with equal facility and clarity.

Turning on the lights

OKRs help organizations see and describe all activity in terms of connected business outcomes rather than tasks. When supported by Gtmhub's real-time view of activity across the enterprise, for those responsible for successfully delivering integration, the effect is nothing short of turning on the lights on how people, teams, and processes combine to deliver outcomes. 

Alignment views, insight boards, objective and key result tracking, combine to allow integration planners to go beyond assumptions. Instead, they are able to formulate plans based on an accurate understanding of the real levers of success.



Breaking down silos

Gtmhub's global search allows everyone to pinpoint teams and colleagues with complementary objectives.  The ability of personnel at all levels to take the initiative when the opportunity for collaboration arises is restored. The emergence of cross-functional teams is no longer dependant upon organizational designers, helping to radically break down lingering organizational boundaries and realize synergy without delay.

Countering the cultural divide

By improving visibility, empowering integration planners, and setting the stage for the emergence of cross-functional teams, Gtmhub counteracts the tendency of acquired organizations to become siloed. Instead, formerly distinct organizations become gradually unified, the organizational divide is dissolved, and the slippery slope that leads to an entrenched cultural divide is avoided.

In conclusion

Gtmhub and OKRs help to de-risk post-M&A integration and allow integration planners to deliver the synergies that inspired the acquisition. Ultimately, Gtmhub and OKRs offer the potential for making successful post-M&A integration a matter of routine.