The failure rate for mergers and acquisitions is between 70 percent and 90 percent, according to Harvard Business Review. The management and transition of employees to the new entity strongly determines the outcome. Integration pre-planning and the proper execution of that plan can make the difference between realizing the intended synergies and failing to create value.
Incorporating a dedicated project manager to lead the pre/post-merger integration activities can be a key differentiator in executing these mission critical projects successfully. A project manager will ensure the delivery of integration action items, communicate expectations of critical items to stakeholders and escalate issues in a timely manner.
Below are some tools and proven best practices to consider as a project manager during an integration:
- Create individual work stream checklists
- Identify requirements by work stream that will need to be executed in order to ensure the success of the integration
- Add milestone dates to each item on the checklist in order measure and monitor progress, late task items, etc.
- Create a communication plan
- Develop a plan for communicating M&A updates both internally and externally
- Identify valued employees
- Identify leadership/subject matter experts within both organizations to act as Work Stream leaders
- Execute the activities identified on each work stream’s checklist
- Form a steering committee
- Monitor and ensure achievement of outcomes aligned with strategic direction and provide guidance in management of critical risks
- Clear the roadblocks to allow the work stream leaders/teams function on the day-to-day tasks
- Establish an advisory council
- The advisory council should consist of influential employees from the merging organization, and act as a voice to provide feedback from staff that would otherwise go unheard
- Provides an additional venue for the organizations to merge and share ideas
- Recognize and address resistance to change
- A project manager can help support a cultural change effort by encouraging managers to identify potential resistors and developing strategies for addressing resistance
- Change isn’t easy, and this is often an emotional time for both organizations, being aware, prepared, enacting the change management plan and most importantly keeping an open line of communication often stops issues before they arise