06-Nov-02 From Dan Peña – Executive Coach and Mentor to the High Performer.

Dear Friend and Subscriber,

The Hunt for The "Perfect" Deal
(and a vital lesson not to be forgotten)

That one must "Hunt", for a deal opportunity is the only thing in the above title that would even come close to being "perfect" or even any where near the truth in the actual episode I am about to relate to you.


Of course, there is no "perfect" deal! In reality, ANY deal requires "hunting down". The only variable is the time it takes until the target has been found and ultimately acquired!

Does The Big Dog Hunt?

They will run, they will hide, they will double-back and evade capture at all costs, but there is no substitute for bloodhound persistence and "laser beam focus" then success must follow.
In the course of The Guthrie Group’s (TGG) ongoing deal generation, this very game of "deal hunting" is a continuous activity – in the good times and the bad. The Principals of TGG are far from "fair weather" hunters – as hopefully are you, my QLA readers! As has always been said, "one of the best times to expand is in a down cycle" hence you double your work effort when times are tough.

Ancient Chinese Proverb

"Man who stand on side of mountain waiting for roast duck to fly into mouth, got loooooong wait!"

"Doing the numbers", "turning rocks", "kissing frogs" – we are all familiar with the variety of (true) clich�s that abound in the QLA philosophy. Interestingly, you can do the same thing over and over and get results that are as different as poverty and wealth. The difference between those two results is just one more phone call, just one more meeting.

Same Actions – Different Results

Here’s the story as related to me of a recent meeting TGG partook in:

As part of a campaign to review previous Leveraged Buy-Out transactions, TGG decided to write to and follow-up (by phone) the CEOs of over 250 companies. In each case the letters were posted and within 7-10 days the CEOs were personally called and then e-mailed as a follow-up by a QLA devotee / TGG colleague. (Remember: No follow-up – forget it! – you may as well not send the letter in the first place).

Whilst a few of the CEOs approached, actually called TGG back (the best result possible – and an example that we were using numbers to our benefit), the opposite end of the results spectrum also occurred!

There were: "won’t take the calls", "hang up in your ears" and "ring you back to abuse you" responses. The focus of this story however, is one CEO in particular, who seemed interested in doing a deal after the letter and subsequent 15-minute phone presentation and then agreed to meet in person (the next step to discuss a possible deal opportunity). (It was a profitable company with a turnover of approximately �60M or $90M)

On the phone this CEO was "quite friendly", asked a number of good questions and upon conclusion looked forward to the F-2-F meeting that was set up. There was one point that stuck out on the call. as I was told.

Intuition / Gut Feeling – The Mother of all Decision Making

In the conversation, this CEO made an unnecessary and somewhat crude, derogatory comment about his PA/Secretary (actually in her presence) which was noted by my colleague. Against a gut instinct to "flush him" right then, arrangements were made to meet anyway.

Two of my colleagues met and something unexpected occurred. Firstly, for some "unknown reason" one colleague did not hand their business card over (when this task is usually carried out immediately).

Secondly, it became apparent that after a five-minute introduction, things were not going well. There was a pan-faced expression by the CEO throughout the introduction, a resistance to joining them for a coffee and criticisms about the surroundings they were in after he wanted to meet somewhere he would blend in. Ironically they were in a club just voted the best private members club in London. Very soon, they all openly shared their true feelings and this CEO proceeded to fire out a few competitive and confusing comments. Within the next few minutes, further verbal exchanges, explaining what one could do with their various lives had breached the speech barrier by my youngest colleague and they parted company. Both colleagues tried to save the meeting, but the CEO wouldn’t have it.

After the meeting was over (which lasted about 7 minutes when normally these meetings would be about 90-120 minutes) they reflected after me joining them over a coffee.

He had received the same treatment as everyone else, the same information, the same approach, the same e-mail and they met at the same meeting venue and yet they had not "hit it off". Why not?

Who knows? I’ve told my colleagues learn from the experience. Since it is the first time this has occurred this year – not to worry! He is just one of the 250+ people approached. In that amount of numbers you are going to get all potentials and all variables – expect it!


The important point of this story is, if the little voice inside "intuition" had been listened to, they would not have bothered meeting in the first place and it all would have been avoided. In other words, do not doubt yourself – GO WITH THE GUT FEEL – EVERY TIME – a fundamental QLA philosophy! My colleague who made the appointment now understands this crucial point!

The learning never stops and it’s all in a day’s work for the QLA devotee.

To Your Quantum Leap

Daniel S. Peña, Sr

P.S. Another short letter! I think I like it!

P.P.S. Remember if Moses had used consensus management or had taken a poll – he would never have discovered Egypt!