• December 9, 2015

Communication and Its Importance in the M&A Process

Communicating is something that should come naturally to everyone but is often the hardest skill to learn to do well.

We all think we are good communicators and make sure everyone around us is in the loop—but the honest answer is that when deadlines are tight, politics are rife and people are struggling, communication suffers.

This is human nature, but when managing any key project such as an acquisition, you have to communicate openly and honestly at all times. If you don’t, you could easily scuttle the project at an early stage or, even worse, allow miscommunication to fester and find the project ruined at a later and more expensive date.

When working on an acquisition, good communication from the acquiring team allows for rapid and functional decision making, which not only aids the whole process but also allows for quicker post-merger integration.

I always make sure that I communicate more frequently than normal during an acquisition process. Increasing your visibility, networking and travelling frequently to key locations are all ways of keeping communication lines open. This breaks down barriers of seniority and shows that you are approachable and open to discussion—an important factor when so many are looking to you for answers.

It’s important to inform all staff on the progress of the integration through different channels such as my favourite: a frequently updated personal blog published on the intranet and/or company-wide email. Online chats are also great and allow you to reach ‘live’ multinational audiences.

Learn from the process and make changes to your existing IT organisation if you see that the acquiring company does it better (this will not only improve your service but also impress and boost the confidence of the acquired staff by demonstrating that you thought their method was better).

A Key Component of Communicating Is Listening.

Acquisitions can be combative projects, especially when the parties you are talking to know they are either already leaving or are aware that their position is fragile.

In these cases, you have to listen and learn to distinguish good from bad, right from wrong, and act accordingly.

This is especially the case when working on multinational deals where English or the native language of the business isn’t their mother tongue. It’s about working with them, talking and listening, using your intuition to flesh out the right outcomes.

So, next time you engage with others on any project, remember to communicate well and listen whilst consistently delivering your objectives. Keep on with these simple rules and not only will your peers respect you, but the next rung on the corporate ladder might just start to become more visible.