Paul J. Siegenthaler
The concept of First 100 days is an interesting one. It is not the time interval during which a task needs to be achieved, but just
the barometer with which we get a sense of whether things are progressing in the right direction or heading for failure. The first
100 days lay the basis for trust or concern. A new politician elected on the basis of a four year programme needs to demonstrate within
the first 100 days that some of the pledges of the manifesto have been kick-started, or will otherwise lose all credibility in the
eyes of the public.
The same applies in the case of Post Merger Integration, however I have observed that the initial focus on the
first 100 days is detrimental to the quality of the planning and knowledge transfer that need to take place beyond that initial milestone.
There appears to be a perception that most of the integration work can be dealt with within those 100 days and that the dust will
have settled beyond that time horizon.
Whereas the client company will have enjoyed the support of consultants and advisors
in the run up to closing the deal and in the early days of the integration process, it is then left with its own resources and often
a serious gap in experience beyond that initial launch. After considering the cost of getting experienced resources on
board, many companies will attempt to carry out the integration by themselves, the plan being that they will resort to calling
in additional resources only if and when the combined task of driving the integration whilst also running their business
becomes overwhelming. In reality, by the time the company realises and admits that it can no longer cope without external
help, the ongoing business and the integration process might both have suffered significantly - putting things back on track
will be challenging - it at all possible - resulting in greatly increased integration costs and a gap in commercial perfomrance.
one should underestimate the importance of giving the integration the right impulse from the onset : the first 100 days are the unique
opportunity to build interest, energy and excitement in the company, but during that same time everything needs to be set up
and ready to provide traction beyond the initial kick-start. Sustainable change needs to be driven and supported
over extended periods of time. Client companies need to be made aware that post merger integration is not a 100 metre sprint,
but more like long-distance running, possibly even a marathon. And marathon runners know they can only succeed with excellent
preparation and good coaching.