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Expectations vs. Reality or How do you tell your CEO the vision is wrong?

by on May 1, 2013

Expectations, Reality & Internal Politics

When done correctly strategic transactions, typically meaning acquisitions but can also mean OEM partnerships, can significantly enhance shareholder value. Those that fail are often blamed on the economy, integration issues, or cultural issues. Quite often what is really behind the failure of these transactions is a result of a disconnect between reality, expectations, and internal politics.

The reality of a situation is obtained through careful and thorough due diligence, self-examination and market knowledge. Expectations are created by what we want to see, often when we’ve committed a lot of time and energy to a particular transaction and we feel compelled to find a way to do a deal.

Politics often cloud reality and create unreal expectations. It’s very difficult to tell a superior that his or her vision is incorrect, that this particular transaction should not be completed, or that the deal should not go forward. Often this occurs because of fears that the superior will blame the messenger for not doing a good job or for not having the same vision.

Good communication is the key to making sure all of the issues are thoroughly addressed up front, that the risks are clearly understood, and that a smooth transition occurs after the deal is struck, because once the deal is done the real work begins.  As the CEO it is your responsibility to ask for input and to create an environment where someone can feel comfortable telling you that the deal should not go forward.

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