Being head of corporate development isn’t just about looking at companies and numbers. You also need to learn how to manage your internal team. Randy Tinsley, Vice President of Strategy & Corporate Development at Synopsys, successfully manages his team. In this article, he shares how he does it, how he assembles his team and sets them up for success.
“The biggest challenge is aligning everybody to make smooth, efficient decisions. At the end of the day, if you can’t make decisions, nothing gets done.” - Randy Tinsley
Internal alignment is all about process and transparency. Everyone needs to be operating in a highly collaborative and open environment. Let your team members speak their minds and make sure they know that their opinions matter. By doing so, everyone will have great experiences and value that they can add to the table.
However, having too many people wanting to add value can be a challenge. Everyone’s opinion will vary and you will disagree with some of those voices, but you still need to allow them to participate.
When it comes to strategic alignment, if someone has an eye on a company and the idea of a transaction floats, all the decision-makers gather together in a strategy meeting and study the deal thoroughly. They want to ensure that this is a legitimate deal that they can realistically pursue before giving the green light to the corp dev to approach the target company.
Randy has a lot of success working with finance and HR practitioners. In his experience, finance people typically understand the business, which makes them great at diligence. At the same time, HR employees are perfect for integration because they know how the company is run and where the skeletons are all buried.
One of the skills he is looking for is having tough conversations with executive leadership. They also need to have the ability to interact with the outside world professionally. They may not have every desired quality at the start, but Randy ultimately hires for potential. Motivation is what’s more important to him, as everything else can be developed and trained.
After pulling people from all sorts of backgrounds and skills, Randy creates an environment where everybody learns how to do all facets of the transaction. After that, clearly defining what their role is going to be is crucial. You need to put them in roles where they can be successful in inspiring confidence and motivation.
As their leader, you need to attend all the discussions and meetings to figure out what each member wants to do, how they want to do it, and then guide them on how to focus on that. Randy is a big believer of developing people through leadership and demonstration.
When managing internal dynamics, you need to make sure that your team is not overworked or underworked. There is an adrenaline rush associated with doing M&A deals, and everyone wants to be in the action. Keep your team fully engaged but not to the point of burning them out.
Randy likes to give his team members ownership of deals to keep them inspired and keep working harder. He makes sure that people get credit for their deal success and gives them the freedom to execute deals independently.