MU’s Leadership due diligence framework

By Geir Lislerud Jochen Prinz Edouard Binchet Florian Erhorn

MU is partnering with Strategy advisors, PE firms, Venture Capital teams and Law firms to deliver high-end Leadership Due Diligence services. Whether you are working in one of these sectors or about to start a succession or acquisition project for your company, here you get key insights into this important topic for your success.

Why do many post-merger projects resemble a hangover?

The post-merger integration process often presents itself as a damper on the energy of a successful merger.  It puts a beaming spotlight on every cogwheel of both parties and will show how well they interlock.

The standard repertoire of success factors i.e. operational integration, regulatory and compliance issues, financial performance, integration of technology and data is paid with great attention in most post-merger integration processes, while other equally important factors, might remain under the radar. An analysis of failing post-merger integrations reveals four areas often neglected:

Cultural Integration

Combining two distinct organisational cultures is often cited as one of the most significant challenges. Misalignment in values, communication styles, and work practices can lead to employee dissatisfaction, resistance to change, and ultimately, hindered performance.

Leadership Alignment

Ensuring alignment between leadership teams from both companies is crucial for successful integration. Differences in leadership styles, decision-making processes, and strategic visions can create conflict and impede progress if not effectively addressed.

Employee Retention and Morale

Uncertainty during the integration process can lead to increased employee turnover and decreased morale. Employees may feel anxious about job security, changes in responsibilities, or cultural shifts, leading to decreased productivity and engagement.

Communication Breakdowns

Inadequate communication with stakeholders, including employees, customers, suppliers, and investors, can exacerbate uncertainty and resistance during the integration process. Transparent and consistent communication is essential for managing expectations and fostering trust.

How should bespoke leadership due diligence look like?

In the dynamic landscape of business, effective leadership is paramount for organisational success. When conducting due diligence for leadership, a bespoke approach tailored to the specific needs and nuances of each situation is crucial. Here's a structured guide on how a comprehensive leadership due diligence should look like:

1. Identifying Key Stakeholders:

Begin by identifying all relevant stakeholders, both internal and external, who are impacted by the leadership team's decisions. This includes shareholders, board members, employees, customers, and other pertinent parties.

2. Reviewing Organisational Structure:

Analyse the current organisational structure to understand how leadership roles are distributed and how decision-making processes flow. Assess whether the structure aligns with the company's strategic objectives and facilitates efficient operations. MU experts are well educated and experienced in analysing the clients business case and strategic challenges to identify the specific requirements for any leadership-role in the clients organisation.

3. Evaluating Leadership Team:

Conduct a thorough evaluation of the leadership team members, including their qualifications, experience, track-record, and alignment with the company's values and vision. Assess their ability to inspire, innovate, and drive performance.

4. Assessing Management Team Dynamics:

With a success rate of over 92%, MU is the world leader in the assessment-based evaluation of management teams and individuals. This includes communication styles, collaboration efforts, and conflict resolution skills. Most important: We identify any potential issues or gaps that may hinder effective teamwork and decision-making.

5. Identifying Risks and Opportunities:

Evaluate potential risks associated with the leadership team, such as succession planning gaps, key person dependencies, or cultural mismatches. Simultaneously, identify opportunities for growth, innovation, and improvement that the leadership team can leverage.

6. Synthesizing Findings and Recommendations:

Synthesize all findings from the due diligence process into a comprehensive report, highlighting strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats pertaining to the leadership team. Provide actionable recommendations for mitigating risks and maximizing opportunities.

How do M&A professional's benefit from our service?

MU has been working with some of the world's best strategy consultancies for many years. Geir Lislerud and his team ensure that accuracy and speed remain in harmony during leadership due diligence projects. Strategic transaction advisory is one of the most competitive businesses, which requires quick structuring of complex circumstances to ensure the best value. With its unique tools and processes, MU meets the high demands of time-critical decision-making processes.

A vast cultural understanding of a portfolio company and its people grants Private Equity firms the opportunity to identify risks at an early stage and successfully decide on whether to grow or transform said company. Our advisory services reach all sectors and provide the groundwork for a well-structured development of young managers or simply attract skilled managers, both to reach exceptionally high returns. Florian Erhorn has an extensive knowledge of working with Private Equity firms.

Many founders strive for hyper-growth as proof of their product-market fit and potential. When this actually happens, Edouard Binchet's phone rings. He advises Venture Capital Firms and their portfolio companies on how to navigate strong growth phases. These are often associated with new financing rounds and extreme changes in management and organisation. This critical phase very often leads founders and venture capitalists to turn their attention to the management structure and culture. MU helps to identify opportunities and development potential, minimize risks and help founders to surpass themselves.

Law Firms benefit from a deepening of their services. Leadership due diligence can be seamlessly integrated into legal due diligence and, depending on the working methods of the law firm, can be specifically coordinated. Jochen Prinz advises law firms and their clients on the many possible uses of the leadership due diligence framework. M&A projects as well as succession planning for family-owned businesses benefit from services like MU Leadership Assessments and team- or board-scan.