“Announcement Day is not the finish line…”
Yes, a thousand times, yes.
This quote is from an excerpt of the book “The Synergy Solution” published in Chief Executive. The excerpt explains why pre-close planning and post-close execution are critical to the success of long-term value creation. Companies, of course, need to be prepared to explain their strategies and plans for success to investors and key stakeholders, but also to be able to reduce uncertainty and give direction to employees and partners.
This excerpt offers a key question that leaders and a board must be able to answer: “How will this deal affect our stock price and why?” It also offers advice on creating an “employee experience team” to manage change and create a new culture and the expectations of executive teams to quickly create inspiring points of view for the future.
Building on the authors' points, I say leadership needs to plan for change, inspire employees, create a vision for culture and ways of working. This should be done BEFORE announcements, with an ongoing dialogue for months to come.
It’s also important for leaders to also be able to answer the questions that all employees have, and create a communication ecosystem and regular cascade – communicating AND listening -- to support an effective story of change.
Communication Has an Ecosystem:
Before a Merger: Clear communication with employees, stakeholders, and shareholders prior to a merger explains the rationale, benefits, and potential changes to company culture or structure. This narrative should align with existing company ethos and values.
During a Merger: Provide regular updates and maintain open channels of communication from top down and bottom up.
After a Merger: Keep the communication going. Address the new culture, how teams will be integrated, aligning goals and reiterating the long-term vision and benefits of the merger.
When Change Communication is Done Well, You Can Expect:
Enhanced Morale and Trust
Positive Internal and External Perception
When a story isn’t clear, people create their own narrative. Proper planning, clear vision and communication will minimize potential confusion and greatly supports synergy inside and outside the organization.