In 1983, The great American poet and musician, Paul Simon, was going through a nasty divorce with his then-wife, Carrie Fisher. He wrote and produced the album “Hearts & Bones.” While it was an ode to his personal trauma, he coined a phrase that stayed with me all these years: “Negotiations and love songs are often mistaken for one and the same.”

Succession & transition is complicated in privately-held enterprises. Even more so when Founders are still engaged. Negotiating succession and transition packages is complicated enough with new and incoming executives; but what about your current team?

Friendship, especially with close, long term employees can make negotiations especially difficult. You may think you understand what they want, and why, but often times this isn’t the case. Friendship complicates negotiations. Negotiations and love songs are often mistaken for one and the same.

It is clarity we seek. The better you understand the thoughts and feelings of the person sitting across the table from you, the more likely it is you will have a successful transaction; no matter the subject at hand.

Get help. Employ a trusted third party to help ferret things out. As my father often said, “solve the frigging problem.”