Insights: Article

Planning for Implementation

February 19, 2014

The merger, acquisition and divestiture process typically focuses on the transaction deal and negotiations involved. Often, the implementation portion is a second thought or prepared for after the fact. A common misconception in any of these processes is there is nothing that can be done for implementation until after the deal is done. An implementation that includes a structured plan, defined process and comprehensive communication plan will impact more stakeholders and often times be the measure of a successful deal. Planning and preparing for each of these three significant items and the on-going management requires tools, experience and leadership.

Structured Plan
First, the importance of having a plan for what the organization's world looks like after the merger, acquisition or divestiture will lay the groundwork for the future vision. This provides a plan or future state view so leadership and teams are able to configure for themselves where the organization hopes to land at the end of a process. This plan can include a detailed business plan for the impact and expected result of the process and should provide an organizational chart or design. An unknown plan inhibits decision-making as leadership and teams are left with questions on scope changes or empowerment changes.

Defined Process
Second, it is essential to define a process that will address the gaps from the current state to the future plan. The structure of this process should include identifying resources and tools that will be utilized to facilitate the changes. The formality of the process is independent of the size of the organization and should be based on need or organizational complexity, including geographic span, number of functional areas and internal resources to manage. Creating a process that includes timelines, milestones, guidelines, status reporting, sub-group definitions and decision making structures eliminates an environment flooded with uncertainty. Leadership engagement, support and visibility are the key to success.

Communication Plan
Finally, a successful plan and process will be ineffective without the communication plan. A successful communication plan should start with a stakeholder analysis to identify the needs for each stakeholder cohort. After this analysis is complete, a robust plan can be created that outlines the timing, delivery mechanism, and process for each communication from start to on-going management of the new organization. A structured communication plan enables communications to be fluid and predictable throughout the transition, while enabling the communications team or leadership to react to unforeseen needs without losing the structure.

The three pieces of an implementation outlined above require experience, leadership and tools. Organizations should engage in the planning of these items even prior to transaction completion. Each will illustrate to all involved stakeholders that leadership has been thoughtful and therefore garner the support required from within the organization for a successful transition.

Eide Bailly can help your organization with successful implementation.