Why M&A Plays

Business Sponsor Lab

Use this guide to set instant alignment with business leaders and developers. Identify key roles to be engaged in the next steps of business development or integration.

About the play

This play is designed to achieve alignment between the corporate development team and the business leaders.


There’s a lot of dialogue that goes on around an M&A strategy. Usually, there’s a lot of documents back and forth between people who have day jobs. This is a highly inefficient process that usually takes months to get finalized and often produces a disjointed ‘mish-mash’ result with disparate feedback/ideas from different leaders.

Oftentimes, business leaders who only spend five minutes a day thinking about the M&A strategy do not take it seriously. Also, most business leaders think that M&A is an easy process and that they can even do it themselves if they have the time.

Use this play to achieve instant alignment with the business leaders, and ask them the hard questions that they don’t know the answer to, but ones that are worth seeking out the answers to. Scare them about the consequences that could happen and the ramifications of a failed deal.

Get all the business leaders and key people inside of a room and take away their laptops or cellphones. This will get them to focus and collaborate. The team needs to come out of that room with a clear action plan for what everyone needs to know; about your own organization, the market, and the target company.


CEO/Deal sponsor, Corporate Development, Diligence Team, Banker, Consultants




Team collaboration, Honesty, Patience, Visual Aids


As long as it takes

Running the Play:


Identify the key people

When your organization is about to do a deal, or there is a particular target that the business leaders are starting to get interested in, identify the key individuals that would be involved in the potential deal.

This usually involves:

  1. CEO / Deal Sponsor
  2. Project Manager
  3. Head of Corp Dev


Preparation Day

After identifying the key people in the potential deal, arrange a meeting with all of them where everyone will be available. Also, pick a venue that is accessible to everyone. 

Preferably an empty room with no distraction, and a door with a lock. Also, prepare visual aids if you need to. Sometimes, business leaders will remember better if they can attach a visual aide to the topic. 


Business Quarantine

Now that you have all the key people inside a room. Take away their laptops and cellphones to ensure focus. Start asking the hard questions. The goal is to get everyone on the same page as to what the M&A strategy of the organization is. What are the plans for the upcoming deal, how to integrate, who’s going to be the diligence team, who will be the integration leader etc.



Prepare a simple exam to ensure everyone is on the same page. It could be Q&A, or a written exam.



The work done at this session must not be allowed to be forgotten/dropped. Quickly document the findings and views and set out clear actionable next steps (market research, developing a financial model, building a target pipeline, further socialization in the organization, etc). Send that back out to participants and get their active agreement and support. And identify WHO (outside the CD team) needs to be engaged in the next steps and get their leaders to assign/commit them.