I am currently involved in the process of selling a bit of our company. These are always odd situations as they involve a fair bit of secret squirrel activity. Code names and half truths are the order of the day. Everyone is scared shitless that the staff in the bit being sold don’t find out. The fear is if they do, the staff will leave. Given they are usually the biggest asset in such sales, it is a real fear.

I’m joined in the process by the chap who runs the organisation in question, and a lass from finance who is coordinating the sale. I feel strongly for the man responsible for that part of the business. He has to keep it running, while maintaining an even keel with prospective buyers. All this when he has no idea of his own future. Some buyers will want to keep him, some won’t. I’m impressed by his professionalism, but then I’d do the same in similar straights.

I am not impressed by the women supposedly running the show. She clearly does not have a clue how to run a sale. Somehow she’s got herself into a strategic finance role, and is running about doing both this and a number of potential acquisitions. She is useless. I mean, in meetings with prospective buyers, where the other two of us are doing most of the talking, she does her emails, takes phone calls and dashes out of the room, and stairs at the ceiling. We’re using an external advisor to help with the paperwork, and they downed tools because the contract hadn’t been signed, nor a PO raised for them to bill against. Its criminal. One of the buyers is a close personal friend, and interested as he is, he’s been quite offended by her behaviour.

The question is, what do I do? I don’t know her relationship with the CFO very well. I could quietly complain, but it could backfire and slam back in my face. Alternatively, it could lead to her loosing, or at a minimum changing her job. Yet if I don’t, the sale will be compromised and at best we’ll get a poor price because this lady is supposed to be responsible for the price negotiation. Half of me wants to just leave it. If the CFO is so un bothered by the sale as to completely delegate with no checking up, he deserves the result. Yet my professional pride is pricked. I have no room for mediocrity around me, and this is worse than that.

What would you do?

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