Dr Peter Chadha, Managing Partner of E-gamingexperts.com, and CEO of DrPete Inc – has been an advisor on technology to some of the largest e-gaming companies in the world. Through working closely with board directors and senior management during M&As and IPOs, he has experienced close hand the challenges stakeholders face, and reflects upon what is needed to survive.
The merger market in Asia is lively across many sectors, but just last month it was announced that Asia once again topped the list of the top acquirers of gaming companies.
With the acquisitive gaming gold rush set to continue in 2014, what happens if you’re caught up in the middle of an M&A – as it can be a very stressful time – with many multiple streams of activities to be completed in a very tight time frame. For example, in the first few weeks technology issues to be tackled include – which of the systems should be kept, which should be expanded, and which should be deprecated? The wrong decision could mean loss of value and financial ruin for the whole transaction.
Alongside all of these commercial issues, senior people also have a set of personal issues to deal with, as major change may even lead to changing roles, relocating themselves and their family, or even losing their job.
So, how do you keep your head above water?
1. Accept and embrace change. FEAR – make it mean Face Everything And Rise. You need to take every day at a time and look out for the positives rather than the negatives. Meeting new people, learning new ways of working and creating new innovations can be hugely valuable to your development and future career path. Avoid using ‘them and us’ language and make sure you support the new organisation. Also, remember that if you’ve got concerns, your staff are likely to have similar concerns (perhaps even worse). Make sure you’re not reliant upon any one individual, reduce key dependency where possible, and help them on the journey.
2. Build your network. Your network should be more than just the people in your area of the business, but include all other parts of the merging or growing organisations. For instance, if you’re a technology person you need to be interested in the commercials, how you can support sales and marketing etc. This may not enable you to change what happens, but at least you won’t get blindsided. More importantly, your insight will be of higher value to the new company.
3. Be a visionary. There is no need to be outspoken, but sharing your commercial strategies with those around you, and articulating how your vision plays a key role in helping people to achieve it, can be a very effective way to promote your credentials.
4. Grasp opportunities. You can go quite far and quite fast during an M&A. The organisation is bigger and there are more responsibilities out there. I’ve witnessed a “run of the mill” IT security guy rise ranks very quickly and he now reports to the CEO. This was purely because he had been around the business for a while, he was highly intelligent, and could understand where the business needed to go.
5. Visualise. Don’t rely on words – as these cannot convey strongly your vision/company integration plan. Instead, use diagrams to illustrate the vision as simply as possible (stick men and block diagrams will do!) which includes details of each stage against the time plan.