Shall We Sell our Business – using Option Solving?”

 

Less than three weeks ago, I was sitting with two family members who were contemplating whether to sell their business to an unsolicited buyer of considerable means. Although they had been invited to sell their business on several occasions before, mainly to competitors, the price either wasn’t particularly enticing or they feared for what would become of their hardworking , if their company was indeed purchased by someone within their industry.

This time around those particular barriers did not exist to anywhere near the same extent. It was a surprise discussion between the three of us, although quickly evolved into a natural option solving exercise. At that particular moment, they were only considering maybe two or three decision options.

Fortunately the two owners were already familiar with the technique, so it required minimum discussion to move them toward coming up with a comprehensive question.  After some deliberation and drawing up a listing of considerations, it turned out to be: “What is our best option relative to a recent purchase offer: considering we have a tempting number, are too young to retire, it should be beneficial to our people,  the number is not sufficient to make investment plays, it  presents an opportunity to do something different, and due-diligence is not yet done?” These were about 50% of the key considerations listed. Both positive and less positive considerations were incorporated so as to take a balanced approach.

With this figured out, we threesome then turned to creating the least likely Yin and Yang “bookends,” which not only formed an outer framework but were far-fetched enough to stimulate our creative intuitions into producing more plausible options. “Bookends” produced by our threesome were: “We become part of the acquired executive team,” at one end, with, “Continue with building the company and hand over to the next generation” at the other. In our Latest Example you can see why the family members thought these were least likely.

 

As a threesome, we were now in the position to derive-develop at least five plausible options and, as you can see, we ended up with eight. This really stretched the possibilities that the two family members would probably  have never considered, if they hadn’t called on option solving. One of those options was: “Postpone decision with purchaser for 2 yrs to strengthen hand – give offer of 1st refusal at that time”… which was Option G, again, in our Latest Example. Which one would you have chosen in the circumstances?

 

I left them to sleep on their options. I encouraged them to look at the Latest Example pictogram before they went to sleep and then revisit it as soon as they woke up. Whichever option they were drawn to, should be up for serious consideration. If they came up with two options, then they were to discuss-debate these for some time and then sleep on those two choices again. Once more, when they awoke, they would choose between the two. From there they would probably reach a consensus.

At this point, it was key for them not to change their minds or second-guess themselves. If they were to do that, they would not only be over-riding the precious intuitive decision making gift that they have, but they will also then be back in a full, never ending quandary. Once your intuitive mind is made up, it’s important to stick with it, even if it’s far from a perfect solution. It will be one that you will learn to live with and, over time, you will feel that you made the optimum decision.

Once they reached that consensus choice, they should consider whether to “peel the onion” for further sub-options to their choice, or set about producing action steps while the exercise was very much in the forefront of their thinking?

If you have an issue example of your own, please share it with this blogger, through the COMMENTS area.

Thanks Option Solving. (NOTE: Next posting in 2 weeks: “Assuming the leadership: what should I focus on?”  We’re always interested in your COMMENTS or go to peter@ileadershipsolutions.com to connect with the blogger.)

If you have an issue example of your own, please share it with this blogger, through the COMMENTS area.

Thanks Option Solving. (NOTE: Next posting in 2 weeks: “Assuming the leadership: what should I focus on?”  We’re always interested in your COMMENTS or go to peter@ileadershipsolutions.com to connect with the blogger.)

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Peeling the Onion – How could our friends best celebrate their XX wedding anniversary at the New Jersey shore: using Option Solving?

 

Once our friends had decided to spend their anniversary at the New Jersey shore, they then had the dilemma of how to spend their time. Such a step was known as ‘Peeling the Onion;’ in other words peeling back the sub-layers of their dilemma until they had a clear game plan.

As they were now fully familiar with Option Solving, they immediately dove into articulating a new question, which turned out  to be: How could our friends best celebrate their XX wedding anniversary at the New Jersey shore, considering it’s a fairly significant milestone, tougher economic times hold back the scale,  hotel is in a pretty conservative town, and trying to make it as special as possible?” This, you can see, was pretty close to their initial question, although it was becoming even more targeted, and they chose a around 50% of their total considerations once more. Again, try not to make these more than 4 or 5, so as to not complicate things too much.

Once they had figured this out, they immediately generated two “bookends;”  to another framework for their subsequent range of options. Again, these bookends were designed to indicate extreme options; that is, ones least likely to be chosen. These two bookends turned out to be, as a “Yin” and “Yang” combination, were: “Do nothing special” at one end and “Have a raucous party with friends.” at the other. Look at our Latest Example and you will see why they weren’t chosen.

With these bookends in place, they could now figure out their range of appropriate  options. (Note: It’s always advisable to come up with a least five options, will challenge your creative brain as much as possible.)  You can see in our Latest Example “pictogram” their six alternative options. By producing this pictogram, it enabled them to use their intuitions to absorb the alternatives and then pick their optimum option. (Note: Your intuitive mind responds much better to pictures than words, when making decisions.

They then gave themselves some emotional distancing time, to think through their options and allow their intuitive minds to consider their alternatives relative to all their life’s experiences. Again, they were encouraged  to sleep on it and wake up with their choice the following morning. One of their six options was: “Local shopping and  movies “…Option D. What do you think they should have done or chosen?

We then encouraged them to spend some quiet time to work out an appropriate action initiative, while the whole issue was still fresh in their mind. That way they wouldn’t have to come back to it and wind up their thinking all over again.

If you have an example of your own, please share it with this blogger, through the COMMENTS area.  Thanks Option Solving. (NOTE: Next posting in 2 weeks: “Based upon popular interest from more than a year ago – Shall we sell our business?” Let’s have your COMMENTS or go to peter@ ileadershipsolutions.com to connect with the blogger. Also consider buying the book: “Smart Decisions: Goodbye Problems, Hello Options.”)