It’s All In The Preparation: 8 Actions To Improve Your Performance Via Due Diligence

By Tom Schramski, PhD

Volume 1 Issue 12, July 8, 2014

Having facilitated many transactions over the past thirty years, there is clearly one aspect that is intimidating to most business principals – due diligence.  There seem to be endless requests for information, questions about the nature of the data, and sometimes, vigorous attempts to re-negotiate the terms based on the discovery of “new information.”  Of course, there is some element of due diligence in all areas of professional and personal life, and it’s always a question of what we do with the “discovery” once it is known.  You may have great data but what is the outcome in practical terms?

However, there is a different way to look at due diligence – if you prepare for it, you can improve performance immediately and reduce the pain down the road, even if you are a nonprofit organization.  Here are eight basic due diligence practices you can undertake to make a difference now:

  • Before you begin, imagine the difference that incrementally undertaking a due diligence approach now – systematically reviewing data generated for all areas of the operation in total – would mean for the future of your organization.  Might you learn something that could potentially affect the bottom line and your customers over the next year?
  • By setting a standard now for acceptable documentation, you could improve the process and probably reduce unnecessary, paper-bound efforts that waste valuable time within your organization.
  • If you involve everyone in the due diligence process today, you can demonstrate a positive trait of your leadership and increase the likelihood of a constructive impact that you might not otherwise uncover.
  • When you take a due diligence approach today, it invariably produces new ways of organizing data and operations for everyone’s benefit, including the simplification of expectations for performance.
  • As you introduce a contemporary due diligence mindset, you can also sustain the positive impact by insisting on continuous updating (e.g. daily vs. quarterly), which will re-focus energy on outcomes for customers and your bottom line.
  • In the process of your due diligence, record data in a fashion that is easily transmitted to others internally and externally.  Not only is this less painful over time, but it also improves your reputation with payers, customers, and regulators.
  • Improving your due diligence effort can often be kick-started with a very focused use of outside contractors or the redeployment of existing resources on a project basis.  This adds a positive, time-limited atmosphere to the initial energy with the expectation that due diligence is a way of life for everyone.
  • Lastly, you will be profoundly overwhelmed with choices for change in organizational behavior.  The caution here is to take some time to evaluate new practices before implementing 37 at once.

As the title of this e-newsletter implies, preparation is worth the careful expense of your time.  If you plan to make a transition, it will help to maximize your value at the point of transaction.  If not, it will at least improve your performance and benefit everyone connected to your organization.