Taming the Healthcare Merger & Acquisition Wild Wild West

wild_west_2.jpgEver since the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was passed, the health care environment is similar to the wild, wild west. Some organizations have crumbled under the strain of the new landscape, while many others are looking for partnerships in order to stay alive. In fact, the merger and acquisition activity within the healthcare sector is at all-time high levels.

According to a recent article in Modern Healthcare, there were 74 such deals just in the first quarter of 2016 alone. While the flurry of merger and acquisition activity should grab your attention, it’s the second part of the story that you should sit down for.

The reality is many of these mergers and acquisitions have failed. As the Modern Healthcare article points out, one of the more common reasons for these failures is clashing cultures. This isn’t surprising when you remember these deals require the integration of two organizations, bringing together large cohorts of people with their own personalities, motivations, behavioral and work styles.

The good news for leaders at healthcare organizations is these challenges are solvable with the right strategy and approach. By assessing the human capital of each organization with the same rigor that is applied to their financial capital, leaders can identify and/or solve culture issues before they bring down the deal.

Without implementing a data-driven assessment process to identify cultural traits and values of key leadership and the organization, the acquiring company knows little about the leadership talent coming onboard. And, many executives overlook the importance of the integration process once the two companies are combined.

When you merge two organizations, you are essentially asking them to now operate and perform as a team. But, it’s human nature to fear and resist change, at least at the outset. Misinformation, rumors and fear can slowly creep into the minds of even your most highly-engaged and top performers. Talent assessments help to drive team cohesiveness, accelerate engagement, and achieve cultural alignment after the deal’s ink is dry.

Our prescription for the ailing healthcare M&A market is to leverage talent assessments to eliminate people or culture alignment as a factor of failure. To learn more about how talent assessments can solve merger and acquisition failures, read our recent blog post.