The story – Series 3, episode 5 – who works on the project?

In: Exit Sitcom / 3 comments

22 Feb 2011

Let’s remember where we left off: we received many questions, we gave answers and they came back with more questions. Who does all that answering?

Because I have many of the answers, but I have no idea how to answer most of the questions, the issue of involving people from the company arises. The natural question is “is it good or bad to do that?” The answer is that usually – it’s both good and bad.

It’s good to let people in the company know about it because you can receive help and build a better case, with more details and consistent answers. It’s good because people won’t be puzzled about why you ask for things you have never asked before. It’s good because you are honest with the people who work for you; you are open with them. They will appreciate it.

It’s bad, because it defocuses the company. People will start asking long before it’s even the case “what about me?” – in other words, what is going to happen to me after the company is sold. This will decrease the productivity and the quality of the joint effort. It’s bad because, if it’s not well managed, it may seem like a moment when interests diverge. It’s bad because, if the deal doesn’t come through, it’ll give way to many questions. And, don’t forget – it’s bad because it can get in the press long before it’s even the case 🙂

The correct approach is to involve people gradually, as the process develops and acquires reality. Top management probably has to be informed of this moment – the moment in which there is an apparent real interest in the deal. It should be explained why, what everyone gains from this and what the company gains. What the phases, the alternatives (including the alternative of things not working out) are. And goals must be aligned so that they are “ours”.

And then there is a good while when the rest of the company doesn’t know, simply because there are still less than 10% chances for things to happen , and because someone has to focus on the process of business growth..

We’re already at the beginning of February and we’re still answering questions (you remember we started on September 24, so in four months and a half we haven’t gone forward at all). As I was saying in the previous post, most of the questions end up clarifying our ideas too. We think: “If the deal doesn’t come through, at least we learnt we need to do this and this and this”. We find risks we have never thought about (and we wonder if they are real or if people bring them up only to lower the price later on 🙂 and we are already building ideas to negotiate around their questions). We find opportunities we never thought about, KPI (Key Performance Indicators) we don’t monitor but that we now realize it would be good to understand.

Speaking of KPI – a decent number of indicators you look at to understand how the company works is around 100. Ideally, for a relatively big company you would need 500, but you need a team to build/follow/analyze them. And this is for you to understand that it’s not enough to see how much money you have in the bank or how much you invoiced this month in order to understand your own company.

We are already thinking that it’s time for a new step and we politely tell people at the end of an email in which we answer questions something like “I hope I’ve answered all your questions and so it is time to have a talk that should take us to the next level”..

Note: This entire series is inspired from reality but it is not a word-for-word translation of it. I adapted all of the events/stages/documents/facts that had to do with the transaction in such a way as to a) not violate confidentiality and b) be as useful as possible to entrepreneurs that haven’t gone through something like this yet.

(English version by Teodora Popescu)

Original Romanian version

Povestea – Seria 3, ep. 5 – cine lucreaza la proiect?

Ne reamintim unde am ramas: am primit intrebari multe, le dam raspunsuri si ei revin cu mai multe intrebari. Cine face toate astea?
Pentru ca multe raspunsuri le am eu, dar la majoritatea intrebarilor habar n-am sa raspund. Asa ca se pune problema sa implici oameni din companie. Intrebarea naturala este “e bine sau rau sa faci asta?” Raspunsul este ca de obicei – si bine si rau.

Este bine sa anunti in companie despre asta atat pentru ca poti fi ajutat sa construiesti un caz mai bun, avand mai multe detalii si raspunsuri coerente. Este bine pentru ca lumea nu va fi nelamurita de ce intrebi lucruri pe care nu le-ai intrebat pana acum niciodata. Este bine pentru a fi onest cu oamenii care lucreaza cu tine, pentru a fi deschis. Vor aprecia.

Este rau, pentru ca defocalizeaza compania. Oamenii se vor intreba “what about me?”, adica ce o sa se intample cu mine dupa ce se vinde compania, mult inainte sa fie cazul. Asta va scade la greu productivitatea si calitatea efortului comun. Este rau pentru ca, daca nu e bine gestionata, poate apare ca un moment in care interesele sunt divergente. Este rau pentru ca, daca nu iese dealul, vor incepe intrebari. Si, nu uitati – este rau pentru ca poate ajunge in presa cu mult inainte sa fie cazul 🙂

Abordarea corecta este implicarea oamenilor gradual, pe masura ce procesul se dezvolta si capata realitate. Top managementul trebuie probabil informat deja din acest moment – momentul in care exista un aparent interes real pentru deal. Explicat de ce, ce castiga fiecare din asta, ce castiga compania. Care sunt fazele, alternativele (inclusiv ca lucrurile sa nu iasa). Aliniate obiectivele, astfel incat ele sa fie “ale noastre”.

Si urmeaza o buna bucata de timp in care restul companiei nu stie. Pur si simplu pentru ca inca sunt sanse mai mici de 10% ca lucrurile sa se intample. Pentru ca cineva trebuie sa focalizeze la cresterea businessului.

Suntem deja la inceputul lui Februarie si inca raspundem la intrebari (va amintiti ca am inceput pe 24 Septembrie, deci in 4 luni si jumatate nu am avansat de loc). Cum ziceam si in postul precedent, majoritatea intrebarilor ne lumineaza si noua mintea. Ne gandim: “Daca dealul nu iese, macar am invatat ca trebuie sa facem asta si asta si asta”. Gasim riscuri la care nu ne gandisem pana acum (si ne intrebam daca sunt reale sau oamenii le ridica doar pentru a putea scadea pretul mai tarziu 🙂 si deja incepem sa construim idei de negociere in jurul intrebarilor lor). Gasim oportunitati la care nu ne gandisem, KPI (Key Performance Indicators) pe care noi nu-i monitorizam dar pe care acum realizam ca ar fi util sa-i intelegem.

Apropo’ de KPI – un numar civilizat de indicatori la care te uiti ca sa intelegi cum merge compania se invarte in jurul lui 100. In mod ideal, probabil vreo 500 la o companie mai maricica, dar iti cam trebuie o echipa sa le construiasca/urmareasca/analizeze. Ca sa nu credeti ca e suficient sa vezi cati bani ai in banca sau cat ai facturat luna asta pentru a intelege propria companie.

Deja ne gandim ca e momentul de un nou pas si le spunem oamenilor civilizat, la sfarsitul unui mail in care le raspundem la intrebari, ceva de genul “Sper ca am raspuns la toate intrebarile voastre si deci e momentul sa avem o discutie care sa ne mute la nivelul urmator”.

Nota: Tot acest serial este inspirat din realitate dar nu este o traducere “mot-a-mot” a acesteia. Am adaptat toate evenimentele/etapele/documentele/faptele tranzactiei astfel incat ele a) sa nu violeze confidentialitatea fenomenului si b) sa fie cat mai utile antreprenorilor care nu au trecut prin asa ceva inca.

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alex bestelei

February 22nd, 2011 at 9:59 pm

un articol de nota 10:),foarte bine structurat,sigur nu vati ales meseria gresita?(redactor sef)?:)

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Marius Motofei

June 5th, 2012 at 1:20 pm

Desigur ca cei 100 de indicatori de care Radu face vorbire trebuiesc intelesi atat ca indicatori de performanta (KPIs) cat si ca indicatori de risc (KRIs). Asta pentru cei care considera numarul lor ca fiind unul nejustificat de mare. In plus, acestia vor funtiona intr-o relatie de cauzalitate, astfel incat, fiecare dintre ei vor perticipa la construirea un model arborescent si vor semnaliza modul in care merge business-ul din punct de vedere operational si strategic. Amestecarea indicatorilor operationali cu cei strategici poate fi una din capcanele construirii modelului/sistemului, capcane care pot duce “corabia” intr-o directie neconforma cu strategia initiala.

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February 22nd, 2011 at 1:45 pm

[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Radu Georgescu, Valerica Dragomir. Valerica Dragomir said: Nou post despre managementul exit-ului RT @GeorgescuRadu: Blog Post: Exit Seria 3 Ep5 – http://bit.ly/hOebji […]

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