Hands On

After getting stung by a merger gone awry, Jody Tucker of CyTek Corp., in Kansas City, Mo., wanted to head off future conflicts. So now he screens potential merger partners to reveal irreconcilable differences in management philosophy and style as early as possible in the process. Some examples of the questions he poses: "What if I spent $500 without asking you first?" "Would you ever pacify angry clients by giving them extra hours at no charge?" The right answers -- "If you thought we needed to spend $500, fine; I'd trust you" and "Whatever it takes to make clients happy" -- indicate a possible business soul mate. The wrong replies -- "I'd want full input on every dime we spend" and "I don't believe in giving out freebies" -- mean that the match probably isn't meant to be.

The Whole New Business Catalog

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