Recently, I was picking up my car after its routine maintenance, including tire alignment. We all know the consequences of poorly aligned tires on a car: tires wear out too fast, the car will have the tendency to pull to the right or left, making driving more tiring, etc.
As I got into my car, I had an interesting insight. Once my car got fully aligned, the moment the car touched back on the ground, tire alignment automatically starts to go out. When I left the dealership, I paid more attention to the bumps in the road, potholes, and other street issues that were going to impact the tires’ alignment.
This analogy is a good one for what leaders and their teams face in business, and particularly in any M&A integration process. Creating alignment with a new leadership team, post merger or acquisition, is an absolute must for the M&A initiative to generate the value expected. Just like my tires, however, generating alignment is not only a “first thing to do” phenomenon, it is an ongoing leadership challenge. It must be continually created, generated, tended to, and fostered because alignment is an element that is always on its way out. After all, all of us in business recognize that, like the streets we drive on, market conditions are never static, and are never promoting more alignment. As I said, alignment is always on its way out.