CEO Challenge: When Private Equity Comes In

So the big guns are coming in– the private equity group, the new guys. Okay, what now? The process isn’t rocket science, but the devil is in the details for sure. As the CEO and fearless leader of your company, you have genuine concerns–there are two main areas to focus on:

1. Understand Humility is Not an Overrated Concept

As a CEO, you really don’t have to win the world if you’re looking for success. In fact, if someone can help you succeed it makes sense to let them. Why wouldn’t you embrace that which makes your life easier? Having these types of conversations can be challenging, but check your ego long enough to get through it and you’ll be better off in the end.

2. You Don’t Have to Win Every War…Nor Should You Try

Every conflict, challenge or interaction that gets you riled up with private equity folks doesn’t need to end in a battle. You don’t have to win every situation when the ultimate goal is simply to get that brass ring. You’re looking for that merger, that deal with a strategic partner, that ultimate exit where everyone wins; these are the goals. The arguments, conflicts, or imposing of your will is not a strategy for success; and besides, there’s nowhere to go with your fight.

Private equity guys are smart, savvy and know what they’re doing with their business model. They’ll keep a CEO forever if he’s on the same page and doing what needs to be done. But that same level of loyalty can be felt when it comes to cleaning house and they’ll pull the trigger without thinking twice if it looks like the CEO is working against their objectives. This isn’t about being right, it’s about being in sync. Check the ego, re-think the objectives, focus on the brass ring and practice a little humility. You may just see the light ahead.

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