What Lies Beneath
Exploration involves unlocking existential answers to essential questions
Despite the best laid plans, organizations,
projects, and people can get stuck in
psychological systems and patterns.
At best, getting stuck is just a delay, but even
delays can cost hundreds of thousands if not
millions of dollars each year.
At worst, getting stuck can result in complete
and utter destruction of wealth and legacy…
particularly when the issue is business
transition, succession, and/or exit.
The identified reason for delay
or failure is often not the real
issue - it is only a symptom.
Not all is as it seems
Start by asking
How do you get to the real reason?
the root cause
is much harder
to identify than
“why” is usually
Why? Because our
lead to assumptions
and judgments that
are often based
on personal bias,
how people in a
deep below the
Therefore: Personal bias, experience,
judgments and assumptions need to be
challenged and tested.
Real Life Case Study: “Robert”, a 73-year old business owner says he wants
to sell his business, but consistently fails to execute and has left a string of
advisors stymied. He says all the right words and takes all the right steps
toward execution of the deal, but walks away just before the closing.
Start with 5 Whys…
1. Why did you walk away from the deal?
The terms weren’t right.
2. Why weren’t the terms right, they were exactly what you asked for?
Because I think I can get more money.
3. Why is getting more money the most important aspect of the deal for you?
It’s not, I also want my employees to be well cared for after I exit.
4. Why is it important that your employees are well cared for?
Because they helped me build this place and many of them are like family.
5. Why do you still want to sell if your employees are so important to you?
The root cause tells us that the deal terms are not the problem.
“Robert’s” business is meeting deep psychological needs for
autonomy, relatedness, and competency. He will need to develop
other means of satiating these needs if he is going to exit successfully.
Now that we know the real “why” we can
apply a fundamental solution for the root
cause and unstick the situation.
The Psychology of Exits
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