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News from Linda Wolstencroft, Aerospace BizDev
Newsletter #60 – June
15th, 2016

Linda Wolstencroft’s monthly Newsletter offers business leaders insights on achieving the next big win.

Deflection as a tactic for work avoidance: what leaders should watch out for

I’m writing about this topic because the tactic of deflection is so easy to miss.

Years ago, an attractive multimillion-dollar business opportunity came into play at a company. The business development organization had qualified the opportunity. The customer relationship was good, there were no legal or contractual showstoppers, the technical and program capability existed – all the usual factors checked positive. However, the timeline was short and a lot of work needed to be done by the program office. Seeing the large amount of work ahead of him, the Program Manager convinced the CEO that this was actually not business that could be won, and the CEO shut down the project even with the protests of the business development team.

The CEO failed to see the whole picture.  He looked only at the input from his Program Manager and did not consider the facts and evidence that legitimately qualified the new business opportunity. Unfortunately, because the Program Manager was successful in stopping the pursuit, the outcome of what could have been will never be known. If they had decided to proceed with the opportunity, would that company have a better future and be struggling less today?

In another case, a sales leader had been excited for months about his next big conquest. It turned out that he had not done the work to properly qualify the opportunity and the business went to a competitor instead. At the next sales management meeting, this sales leader came up with another next big opportunity to pursue. He successfully deflected any discussion about the previous opportunity and the fact that a lot of time had been spent on it when it was destined to fail.  His focus was now on the next big one and the management team bought in to this.

There are actions that could be taken to avoid falling into the trap of deflection. Best practices are to follow a clear process for vetting new business opportunities to prevent these types of pitfalls. Credible and true facts and evidence should be used. All relevant aspects should be discussed and sober second thoughts should supersede if emotion and hype is apparent. Still, a process cannot catch all of these, so don’t rely on just “process.” Take the extra time to consider the facts before making a decision that could put the future at risk.

Be on guard for use of the deflection tactic in your business; it is dangerous to business growth.

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BUSINESS STRATEGY FOR GROWTH

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