Pre-Mortem? They May Be Useful

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strategy-planning-thinkstockThanks to The Var Guy and Penton Media for the engaging interview about the concept of pre-mortems.  Essentially, taking the time to consider all the possible ramifications, both positive and negative, that may result for something you are considering.  It’s essentially the exact same thing as a post-mortem, but done up front, instead of after the fact.

You can check out the full article here.

I am quoted in the following section:

Voice of the Practitioner

When it comes to the importance of pre-mortems to corporate culture, would-be merger partners should heed the experience of MJ Shoer. After running Jenaly Technology Group, an MSP outside of Boston for 19 years, Shoer sold his company to Internet & Telephone, LLC in December 2015. Negotiating the sale of his company as well as advising clients on sundry deals taught Shoer the value of thinking about what can go wrong before signing on the dotted line. Here’s an edited version of a conversation we had with Shoer:

You need to look very hard at the worst-case scenarios in case everything that I think is positive turns out to be 180 degrees opposite. It’s important to create a safe environment where you can challenge ideas and the accepted norms. What’s the worst thing that is going to happen? Will we be OK? Will our customers be OK? Will our employees be OK? You’ve got to do your best to think through all these things. I think the pre-mortem is an interesting concept because you can try to think outside of the box. A lot of times, the people who are involved in the acquisition get so involved that it’s hard to see the impacts of decisions. If you have a process by which you have those discussions, you’re going to be a step ahead of not having them, for sure.

“Companies can prevent a lot of trouble later by spending a lot more up front time considering the culture of the two companies and how the cultures are going to be integrated. Whether that will be a straightforward process or whether that brings out some issues that you need to be concerned about, you need to try to head them off. I’m talking about simple things, like looking at how the people in the merged company will integrate and how their positions will align or the seniority of managers and things like that. Often there’s too little pre-thought put in and so you wind up dealing with tensions because something’s not working out.

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