As I reflected on the principles of leadership and critical decision making that have helped me throughout my career, I kept coming back to a very simple premise – flexibility. The mergers and acquisitions world is very fluid. It’s been important to stay flexible and to listen to what is being said (and not said), how those communications are being made, and from whom. Staying in tune with all of the players involved in the deal and their actions has allowed me to anticipate and deffuse issues before they happen and to prepare for challenges that may arise. In my world, speed and agility make a huge difference in whether a deal gets done or not.
Roles I’ve held throughout my law and finance career have required me to operate through many competing priorities and navigate diverse personalities. It’s been important as a leader to be very rigorous and tough minded, but it’s been equally important not to be afraid to use my emotional quotient or “EQ.” I often find that my instincts have helped as much as the facts at hand in shaping the most effective approach.
Leadership and good deal-making requires more than just knowing what to do; it requires great judgment in evaluating a situation and estimating what risks are worth taking when balanced with their estimated rewards. The same is true for any business role. I’ve learned not to be afraid to take risks, but to always act with prudence. Wellcalculated risks often lead to the biggest wins.
Similarly, adopting a flexible approach both in leading those who report to me and in supporting my own leaders has helped me enable them to make the best decisions they can in support of our company’s growth objectives. This approach is working. At Honeywell we’ve led approximately 69 acquisitions and 45 divestitures since 2003. I’m proud to say that a vast majority of transactions have been successful, added to our company’s portfolio of intellectual property, expanded our global footprint and contributed to our strong financial performance.
Having flexibility both in approach and professional style can allow you to adapt to a wide variety of situations. Remember to always remain calm in any business interaction, act with a sense of urgency, and never operate with a mindset that what you say or do doesn’t matter. It always matters.