Whenever I am consulting on an integration program, I introduce a critical component I call the 100-Day Plan. I’ve found that when companies get the 100-Day Plan right, the likelihood for a successful integration is extremely high. But if you don’t implement the 100-Day Plan at the beginning, integration generally doesn’t go well.
Why is that? Think about a new employee starting work at your company. What are they like the first day, the first week, the first month? Chances are, they’re pretty agreeable. They’re probably listening and observing as they adapt to their new environment. After all, they’ve got to figure out basic aspects of your company’s culture, like how coworkers prefer to communicate throughout the day or when they typically go to lunch. Is the office quiet or talkative? How will they fit in with the existing workforce?
The same thing is true of the newly acquired company. During the first hundred days, the people at the company are generally going to be in listening mode. They will want to see how much you, the buyer, will be changing their company. In the meantime, they’ll be fairly agreeable.
Now consider your hypothetical employee six months after hiring. At that point, they’re feeling a lot more confident. Maybe they’re inviting coworkers to their choice of restaurant for lunch or taking on a leadership role within their department. They’ve started pushing back when other people are pushing forward.
After about a hundred days, people at the company you acquired will start getting comfortable and begin saying, “No, no. Wait a second. I’m going to push back a little on that.” Your first hundred days are critical in terms of getting people on board, aligning them with what you’re trying to do, and showing them what your vision is for the integrated companies.
This is why the foundation of a successful integration is built on the 100-Day Plan.