Thinking About Your Exit Clearly

Published on February 14, 2024

Negotiating the sale of a business is an intense and emotional experience for founders. Maintaining clear thinking throughout the process is vital to achieving the best outcome. In this expert series installment, we hear from Hasard Lee, a renowned expert in clear thinking under pressure. 

Lee is a former U.S. Air Force fighter pilot who flew over 80 combat missions in Afghanistan, piloting two different jets on the same day to provide close air support for ground troops. His aviation career culminated with his selection to fly the cutting-edge F-35 as part of the initial cadre of pilots. He went on to become Chief of Training Systems at the world's largest pilot training base, where he innovated training technology and methods for the next generation of Air Force pilots.

Drawing on his experiences, Lee wrote the international bestseller _The Art of Clear Thinking_, which translates lessons from aerial combat into principles for daily life. The book, a #2 bestseller in business, has been praised in the Wall Street Journal and translated into multiple languages. 

Today, Lee provides mental tools and techniques to help founders maintain clarity of thought amidst the emotional challenges of selling their business. In this episode, he shares specific strategies founders can use during negotiations, including:

- Leveraging the ACE Helix method to systematically evaluate decisions

- Finding your optimal "band of performance" for negotiations

- Applying power laws and visualizing negotiations through "chair flying" 

- Red teaming yourself to prepare for meetings with potential acquirers 

- Avoiding common mental traps that lead to poor decisions

With decades of experience overcoming stress and ambiguity in the cockpit, Lee is uniquely positioned to advise business leaders on achieving mission success through clear thinking, even in the "fog of war." His insights provide a powerful mental toolkit for founders to deploy at the negotiating table.

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