By multiple accounts from the PMI practitioners, Day One is not so much a single event as a series of things that the IMO needs to kick off the day immediately following closing. Allowing an immediate, fully-up-to-speed PMI lead to kick off on Day One with no time gap is the point of the PMI lead’s sidecar involvement through the transaction process, including due diligence. Day One has to be prepared minute by minute. You need to have management team videos ready to present to employees, and other communications. For a mid-size company of around 100 employees and $40 MM – $50 MM revenue, preparation for Day One takes 6-8 weeks of time by a dedicated team of 2-5 people, every day, because a perfect Day One makes the ensuing job of integration much easier. Timing these kick-off activities on Day One rather than waiting impresses the importance of PMI proceeding with speed and urgency, rather than an open-ended activity that can be approached casually. A Day One gone wrong or bypassed is a disaster, because you have to chase people down for attention and acceptance if you failed to set the stage and do the actions needed on Day One.
Activities the PMI lead must drive on Day One include:
– Approach to all employees, customers, suppliers, and stakeholders;
– Communication of new leadership (highest level);
– Essential information concerning names, rules, dates, systems, and responsibilities / contact persons to all employees; and
– General overview of further integration measures coming.
Project kick-off and start of the different work streams also begins on Day One. The PMI team also doubles on Day One under the traditional approach, as each Acquisition-side lead typically gets a co-lead from the Target.