The one constant in business is CHANGE. While business as usual is a wonderful term, ask any employee at any company to describe a typical day. The universal answer is that each day is different. While we all have tasks as part of our job description, and there are definitely repetitive elements, every day is different. When planning out the merger and developing the communication strategy, this concept should be shared with all parties. While there may be greater magnitude of change in the near term, the employees and leaders need to understand that change will happen whether the merger happens or not. How you communicate this will influence the actions or inactions of others and contribute to the pace and effectiveness of the PMI.
While at Newell Brands, just after Newell Rubbermaid acquired Jarden Corporation, we saw this in action. Though the quantity of the communication was decent, and the “how” of communication constantly adapted, the “What” in the communication was lacking and contributed to significant upheaval in the organization during the first 2 years. Not the least of which was much higher turnover when change implemented failed to produce expected/desired results.
But let’s not forget that speed does not equal quality any more than quality means a slow pace. There is a fine balancing act to produce quality results quickly. Chasing after a fast PMI often leads to an ineffective or inefficient PMI and can contribute to failure in the 1 – 3 year window post-merger. But Boon is correct, if you take too long on the PMI, trying to get every step perfect, you could see it all fall apart as well. As you move through the stages if integration, communication will be your most important tool. How you communicate, the frequency of communication, and the content of that communication will determine the effectiveness and efficiency of the integration strategy.