Who do CEOs turn to for a second opinion?

Following is a synopsis of an article that originally appeared in European CEO.

Lower middle market CEOs in particular often are described as having certain positive attributes: Confident, knowledgeable, experienced, nimble, decisive. And yet, in some cases, those very attributes can serve as burdens, blinding the CEOs to alternative perspectives, new or changing information, contradictory feedback or the tradeoffs of an otherwise sound decision.

In other words, confident, knowledgeable, decisive CEOs can make the wrong decision, and in a hasty and ‘all-in’ fashion.

It helps to have a second opinion, or better said, it helps to have a couple hundred second opinions. Utilizing a third-party research firm to gather insights from a wide array of customers, competitors and market experts – anonymously and quickly. Ideally these pieces of evidence about the quandary being considered will come from multiple vantage points – end markets, customer types, geographies, channel partners, etc.

The following quotes are pulled from the article itself, and show their appreciation for gaining a broader perspective, despite the allure of making decisions autonomously.

“When you run a business, there is always an emotional, nostalgic connection to things that make it up e.g. history with your clients or suppliers, or even your services and brand ethos.”

Hedgd CEO Oliver South says casting a “wide and diverse net” for advice is key to his company’s decision-making. “It is great to hear a variety of different opinions and then use this material to form a consensus within your own business,” he says. “There’s plenty of good advice out there. If you’re a business leader in need of a second opinion, you have lots of options and no excuse for making decisions under-advised.”

“Our mentor is able to help us focus on areas that need change. With an impartial, helicopter view of the business, he sees things we might not necessarily notice or think about. For example, this year he has helped us realise that we need to reposition the agency, as we have done, specifically aiming at returning tired brands to fame and glory.”

“When you run a business, there is always an emotional, nostalgic connection to things that make it up e.g. history with your clients or suppliers, or even your services and brand ethos.”

Sometimes, a portfolio company needs help prioritizing options, getting out of a rut or fixing those nagging ills uncovered during diligence.

Can you relate?

Gaining a simple second opinion is often critical, but there are times when a more robust, thorough and comprehensive approach is necessary. If your portfolio is facing a significant challenge, a major decision point needs a growth strategy or could benefit from a detailed market assessment, contact me, Kit Lisle, founder and managing partner at Acclaro Partners. Simply call today – 703.434.3597 - and I'll be happy to explain how we can help you.

I look forward to hearing about what’s keeping you up at night.

Christopher “Kit” Lisle, founder and managing partner of Acclaro Growth Partners, directs Corporate Development and Strategic Planning for Acclaro as well as lending support to teams delivering projects in M&A, marketing, corporate growth planning and quasi-turnarounds.

Kit's experience in market intelligence is based upon his military intelligence services as well as working for private companies. Prior to Acclaro, he served as Vice-President of Acquisition Services for Markowitz and McNaughton, developing extensive experience with market-entry analysis and market due diligence. During his military career, Kit served as an intelligence officer in the U.S. Army: he was a Eurasia Desk Officer in the Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the Pentagon.

Acclaro Services - Traditional, Post-LOI Market Diligence

Acclaro Growth Partners is a research-based strategy consulting firm that provides market/business due diligence, strategic market insights, and market growth planning, serving private equity and corporate clients.

Contact: kit@acclaropartners.com or call 703.434.3597

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