Our thoughts, views, and experiences
Preparation for a Journey
A few years ago, I spent a month walking the Camino de Santiago trail across Spain. It was an incredible journey that required a lot of preparation before taking the first step. I needed gear, including a backpack, sleeping bag, walking sticks, a guide book, and hiking clothes. I also needed lots of other things taken care of including booking time off, scheduling flights, getting physically fit, and asking advice from those who had already completed the journey.
This type of planning is a lot like the preparation required for the launch of a corporate transformation program or a merger. Long before a deal is made, a tremendous amount of planning, due diligence, and preparation take place. Resources, financing, investigation, and approvals must be completed in order to successfully start your journey.
All that pre-work and planning just get you to a starting point, which many don’t even get to. With my Camino journey, I had several hurdles and obstacles that I had to overcome before starting including injuries, business and personal commitments, and day-to-day life commitments. In business the same is true: we don’t get approvals, priorities shift, and levels of buy-in change. The deal we require doesn’t present itself or fails to get regulatory or financial approval. Diligent planning is the best approach for managing conditions that can keep you from reaching the starting line.
Overcoming Challenges Along the Way
On my Camino adventure, I had a guide book yet it wasn’t much help on the road. Fortunately, I had a vision for success that kept me going, a necessary reminder of where I needed to go. Within days, I encountered multiple obstacles including blisters, minor injuries, heat, solitude, questioning, sickness (which landed me in a hospital after drinking bad water), frustration, and slower than expected forward momentum. I was able to stay the course through perseverance, focus on the vision, support from others, and allowing myself to be open to the ups and downs of the road.
This is a lot like what happens when we announce merger deals or transformational programs. As leaders, we have been living and breathing the details behind these deals for months. When an announcement is made, we must quickly share the vision with our teams, stakeholders, and shareholders. Only then will they have the direction required to stay on course and manage challenges along the way.
Making it to the Finish Line
To successfully see your merger deals or transformational programs through from start to finish, you need to get all stakeholders on board with your vision so they can bring it to life through transition. It’s natural for the journey to have ups and downs (they always do). Holding onto the vision, staying the course through challenges, and course correcting as needed is the path to success. Asking for assistance and bringing on trusted experts when needed, without abdicating your role as leader, can help you get to the finish line and achieve your goals. The hardships and lessons learned will be worth it. There is little in life more rewarding than successfully reaching your destination.