Best Business Commentary
February 26, 2008
For deals, don’t be late to the party
“Most mergers fail,” says Andrew Ross Sorkin in The New York Times. Or at least “plenty of smart people” will tell you that as if it’s a “bona fide fact.” But a new study suggests that deals done “at the very beginning of a merger cycle regularly succeed,” while me-too copycat deals “fall flat.” Apparently “most CEOs don’t have the guts” to buy when “everyone is running scared,” like in today’s volatile markets. But that is just the time to make an acquisition. So if they want to do well for themselves and their shareholders, “CEOs should stop being such scaredy-cats,” ignore the blood on the streets, and “go make a deal.”
Managerial benign neglect
When we think of bad managers, says Jared Sandberg in The Wall Street Journal, we tend to “conjure images of the blood-vessel-bursting screamer looking for a handle to fly off.” But this type is “increasingly rare,” and the species that has followed it much “more insidious”: the “managers who won’t say a critical word to the staffers who need to hear it.” In trying to avoid conflict, these managers exchange short-term “kindness” for long-term “heartlessness.” Employees need honest feedback, and they don’t really appreciate “deceptive peace and quiet” about their performance. Departments suffer too, because “you can’t fix what you can’t say is broken.”
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