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August 15, 2022

Architecting Communications for Successful Integration

Deal failure can often be tied back to a lack of communication and collaboration. Teams often work in silos which results in inefficiencies and a poor employee experience. However, smooth transaction workflows are possible, and with increased deal success, with the proper framework. 

Let's discuss architecting communications for successful integration featuring Emma Barton, Director, Alliance and Integration Management at AstraZeneca.

"One of the biggest risk mitigations you can do is make sure that your people build relationships with their counterpart as quickly and as strongly as possible." - Emma Barton

Clear Communication

Make sure that the internal team has the latest information throughout the deal’s lifecycle. Communicating clearly with the target company is key to building relationships. Have structured communication with them to know where the touchpoints are such as whom to contact for questions, and ensure that information is cascading correctly across the organization. 

Kickoff Meeting

A kickoff meeting is one of the most effective ways to gather everyone and build relationships. During the kickoff meeting hand out a detailed written version ahead of time to ensure productivity, and people can focus more on building relationships with their counterparts. The structure of the meeting should include the following:

  1. The goal 

The people handling the deal are not the same supporting the post-management integration. Everyone must understand the purpose of the deal, the objective, and the acquirer’s vision. 

  1. The target company 

Before integrating the acquired business, everyone should understand who they are, their size, and their focus and priorities. 

  1. Ways of working

Both teams should understand how they will work together. What are the project’s expectations? How often will the teams communicate with one another?

  1. The scope of the deal

Setting out the rules of engagement is vital. Everyone should understand the decisions made and the parameters of the deal to ensure that all parties involved are operating towards the same vision, with the same understanding.

  1. Building relationships

Encourage people to get to know their counterparts by having lunch or dinner. Any interaction outside the office is highly beneficial in building relationships with the other party. 

Handling Disputes

In any post-deal management, there will always be differences in views about how things should be done. Each company has a different interpretation of the law, contract, and risk tolerance, which can eventually lead to disputes. The best way to overcome these is to:

  1. Understand the why

Exploring why people have taken their position will help you find a middle ground. 

  1. What is the driver? 

Do any of them have a precedent that backs up their position? Do they have any experience where the matter has been an issue? Gather data before arriving at a resolution. 

  1. Objective resolution

The goal is to solve the problem collaboratively. Objectively understand what the decision will mean for each company, identify the risks and costs they will be taking, and the impact on their timeframes.

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