"While the sheer scale of a presidential transition is staggering with more than 4,000 political appointees, CEO transitions in the private sector occur much more often and companies are frequently undergoing drastic changes," said Greg Pellegrino, principal, Deloitte Consulting LLP, and a strategy leader in the federal government practice around M&A activity. "This greater frequency has offered a tremendous opportunity for learning and to us, begged the question: What can those involved in a presidential transition learn from mergers and acquisitions, both the successful and the not-so-successful? It turns out there is quite a lot."
The report is based on interviews with experts who advise, facilitate and manage M&A transactions and post-merger integration (i.e., activities in the months following the merger), as well as with those who have advised or experienced government transitions. Civil servants, transition team participants, and incoming political appointees may benefit from the translation of important lessons from the hundreds of M&A transactions that have occurred.
"During my years of M&A work, I learned one of the most important aspects to a successful integration is clear lines of communication, which is why this idea of bilingualism between business and government is so important," said Jessica Kosmowski, principal, Deloitte Consulting LLP and a federal strategy leader. "There is a difference in culture and in context that makes it so important for all parties to strive to become business-government bilingual. It is not that either side has all the answers, but that both could learn a great deal from the other if translation skills could be enhanced."
The report includes nine key transition tips for both "acquirers" and "acquirees" such as:
- Stabilize the workforce and retain critical talent: Workforce support will be essential to the successful execution of change. Identify and retain key talent early. Motivation and engagement will often benefit from identifying and tapping into the intrinsic values that drive employees' commitment. Build morale and avoid the exodus of essential institutional knowledge.
- Plan for an issue-free first day: The highly scrutinized first days of new leadership are critical in establishing relationships, trust and credibility. Avoid "flashpoints," the issues or events that carry disproportionate risk, and develop a mitigation plan. This avoids wasting time, energy, social capital, and focus to get back on track.
- Establish leadership and accountability: Identify ways to ensure continuity from due diligence to post-merger integration with executive and functional leadership. Establish clear roles, responsibilities, and accountability when it comes to integrating new personnel and new strategic priorities. Early interactions can be critical in establishing credibility and trust.
About Deloitte's Center for Government Insights
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