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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Clash of the Titans

No, this not a story of ancient times, but a desire to create an awareness of how EGO can affect a wide array of events in your business. Several levels of effects (good & bad) can emerge if you are not careful to manage how your EGO shows up in the business dealings.  The “Clash of the Titans” can occur in the company between similar level employees, lower level and management, and between key managers in partnerships or business discussions.

People will naturally develop affinities or avoidance to others based on personalities.  This is rather common and does not require a business interaction.  But, when business is overlaid on top of those likes and dislikes, either an improvement in the business or a complete blow up can occur.  You may have heard of longtime partners ending up in court after one leaves the business on bad terms.  You may even see a partner become a future competitor.  On the other hand, a meshing of the personalities can result in an accelerated business transaction that results in two people becoming lifelong friends and business partners.  In this situation, they people have managed to not let their EGO interfere with how the business will be managed.

You cannot always control who you like or dislike, but you can be aware of the potentials that can come from the EGOs associated with those around you.  In respect to M&A, it is often said that there were three things that can kill a deal:  1) Valuation, 2) Location, and 3) Who will run the company.  Valuation is an easy to manage; either you like the value of the deal or you do not.  If not, you attempt to negotiate a better deal or walk away; simple business.  Location is not that much different. In merging the two companies or businesses, where will the merged entity be located?  With location, you can at least apply some logic to identifying the ideal location and attempt to negotiate that location as part of the deal.  But the one deal killer is; Who Will Run It?  Now the central issue deals with EGOs of the Senior Managers which can turn into a real stumbling block if both see themselves as the ideal future leader of the business.

M&A is not the only time there can be a clash of EGOs.  This can take place in a wide array of programs where two people become at odds as to how to manage a program. It can also occur where two people are competing for the same position or promotion.  Sometimes, it is just that two people really do not mesh that well!

You cannot change the personalities of those around you, but you can modify how you adapt to situations.  When it comes to your business, always keep in mind that you have an EGO; big or small.  Then step back and decide whether the events that are causing you the most anxiety are EGO driven, business driven, or both.  Remember that your primary responsibility is to drive improvement in the value of the company.  This is the most difficult when your EGO is involved, but your primary responsibility is to your shareholders, employees, and partners etc.  Then determine what steps lead you toward creating the most value.  You may have to take a hit to your EGO to do your job!

Taffy Williams is the author of:  Think Agile:  How Smart Entrepreneurs Adapt in Order to Succeed to via Amazon