FAILURE! Pause for Thought.


The success rate of business mergers comes in a distant second to that of marriages. Bain & Company (2004) put the U.S. failure rate at 70%, defined in terms of failure to increase shareholder value. Hay Group and the Sorbonne (2009) found that more than 90% of mergers in Europe fail to achieve their financial goals.

FAILURE 3

 

Test Your Offer BEFORE You Make It!


Never make a formal offer until every aspect of that offer has been tested and agreed on beforehand. Easy to remember, but hard to fix if you forget. Once you’ve formally extended an offer, you’ve seriously limited your options. The applicant becomes the buyer, the company the seller. Open communication stops dead. Candidates stop thinking about why they want the job and start worrying about why they DON’T want it.

An offer extended while there’s still doubt often gets an “I have to think about it” response. Thinking about an offer is fine – but once you’ve extended it your own flexibility is weakened. It’s much better to have an applicant think about all aspects of an offer BEFORE you formally put it together.

TEST OFFER 1

Here’s another important point: Before you extend a formal offer, you get unbiased information. After, that same attempt to determine a candidate’s interest can come across as harassment, pushiness or over-selling. Contentious salary negotiations become awkward and stressful, because neither party wants to lose face. Deals often fall apart at this point for relatively unimportant reasons.

Start by testing a candidate’s general interest in the position. Ask, “Assuming an attractive offer, do the job and the challenge appeal to you?” This question lets you draw a line between the job and the offer, and gives both parties the chance to address concerns about the job itself. You’ll eliminate a lot of bad fits this way!

Then you can ask, “What would you think if we could put together a package in the range of £_____ to £_____?” You’ll need to go back and forth with the candidate to test the range, but this gets both parties talking in an open manner.

Don’t let the candidate forget about the competition – real or imaginary. Say something like, “Although we’re still seeing other candidates, I believe you’d make a great addition to our team. What do you think about something like £_____?” The threat of competition allows you to be a bit stronger during the negotiating phase, and tends to make the candidate more realistic.

A candidate’s hesitation on any item at this stage means there are probably other issues to be considered. Continue probing. Many objections have to do with lack of information: don’t move forward until you have addressed these concerns to everyone’s satisfaction. Now is the time to make trade-offs and be creative. If you can’t meet a particular need, offer an alternative – a signing bonus instead of a too-high salary, for example. Find out now if this could turn out to be a deal-breaker.

Work on all these points until you come to an agreement – or at least an understanding. You’ll both discover that this give-and-take process is much easier WITHOUT a formal offer on the table. And when all the objections have been addressed in a mutually satisfactory fashion, THEN you’re ready to get to the final offer.

TEST OFFER 2

Trevor Lee

tblee@ceo-worldwide.com

http://www.ceo-worldwide.com

@trevorblee

Freelancers, Take Control of Your Meeting Schedule


One of the biggest advantages of being self-employed is having the flexibility to dictate your schedule.

Many freelancers find themselves frittering away their days,

unsure of how to leverage their autonomy.

One way to be more efficient is to cluster all your client meetings on the same days. Those days will be long and intense, but they’ll allow you unfettered productive work on the other days.

This is especially important if you have to travel for your meetings: If you can tackle multiple meetings downtown on one day, you’ve saved yourself hours of painful commuting. And before you even agree to that in-person meeting, make sure it’s a good use of your time.

Ask questions about the agenda, and only attend if an important issue needs to be discussed and decided. Otherwise, gently suggest that you’re available by phone or email.

Adapted from “Scheduling Meetings Effectively When You’re Self-Employed,” by Dorie Clark

FREELANCE

Trevor Lee

tblee@ceo-worldwide.com

http://www.ceo-worldwide.com

@trevorblee

Before Taking an Expat Assignment, Make Sure Your Family Is on Board


Getting an expat assignment can be exciting, but it can also be hard on your family. Before accepting a temporary reassignment to another country, think it through with your partner or family. Be sure to frame the decision as a real choice:

Should we go or stay?

And consider the degree of change: If you live in Amsterdam, relocating to Brussels is very different from moving to Guangzhou, China.

Then go through the pros and cons of each alternative, laying out the full implications for your children or extended family, your career — and your partner’s — and your support networks.

Try to anticipate and discuss how the change would affect family dynamics — e.g., shifting from a dual-career marriage to one where a spouse stays at home, or replacing a grandmother babysitter with a professional nanny.

These discussions will not only shape your decision about the assignment but also help set expectations and prevent resentment later on.

Adapted from “Making Your Expat Assignment Easier on Your Family,” by Katia Vlachos

EXPAT 1

Trevor Lee

tblee@ceo-worldwide.com

http://www.ceo-worldwide.com

@trevorblee

Empathy


EMPATHY 3

Use Empathy to Improve Your Next Meeting

Improving meetings isn’t just about inviting the right people and being prepared. You also need to employ empathy, an emotional intelligence competency that can help you better manage discussions.

Empathy allows you to read people: Who is supporting whom? Who is coasting? Where is the resistance?

Carefully reading people will also help you understand the conflicts in the group so that you can manage the power dynamics. You may think these sorts of politics are unimportant, but power matters — and it plays out in meetings. Learning to read how the flow of power is moving and shifting can help you lead the group.

It’s your job to make sure people leave your meeting feeling good about what happened, their contributions, and you as the leader.

Adapted from the HBR Emotional Intelligence Series

EMPATHY 2

Trevor Lee

tblee@ceo-worldwide.com

http://www.ceo-worldwide.com

@trevorblee

Encourage Collaboration – Make It Easier


Collaboration takes time and resources. So if you want people to work together, you have to make it as easy as possible.

For example, you can use simple, off-the-shelf tools like Dropbox and Skype to help people share and communicate. (Be sure that any programs you use work seamlessly with your IT system.)

If some of your employees aren’t confident with the technology, pair them with someone who is. People are much more likely to adopt a new technology if they have someone they can turn to for help, rather than learning it on their own or relying on an IT hotline.

And for major collaboration projects, consider assigning co-leaders who can shoulder the administrative burdens.

Adapted from “How to Get People to Collaborate When You Don’t Control Their Salary,”
by Heidi K. Gardner

MIDDLE

Trevor Lee

tblee@ceo-worldwide.com

http://www.ceo-worldwide.com

@trevorblee

Earn Trust by Showing Trust


Most people do their best work when they know their manager trusts them. If they worry that you think they’re lazy, incapable of directing their behavior, or lack integrity, they’re unlikely to take feedback or coaching from you.

So go out of your way to gain your employees’ trust by demonstrating positive assumptions about them.

Give challenging assignments, with the clear and confident belief that your expectations will be met.

And don’t hide information, or assume people will mishandle it. Instead, promote transparency.

Try adding a “through the grapevine” agenda item to meetings as a fun, informal way for people to share company information they’ve heard, so you can either confirm or debunk the rumor. When managers demonstrate positive assumptions, employees respond in kind.

Adapted from “If Employees Don’t Trust You, It’s Up to You to Fix It,”
by Sue Bingham

TRUST 4

Trevor Lee

tblee@ceo-worldwide.com

http://www.ceo-worldwide.com

@trevorblee