Why A ‘Pre-Mortem’ Is A Useful Tool In Dealmaking

“When it comes to dealmaking, the best course of action is to do a “pre-mortem” on the transaction you’re exploring. 

In other words, how could this end up being a bad deal? Think of all of the ways after the closing it can go sideways.

A lot of times, that’s a checklist for what you should be doing up front.”


I was recently interviewed by Mark Scott at Smart Business Dealmakers Detroit about my perspectives on the importance of a specific part of the dealmaking process—the pre-mortem.

Unlike the post-mortem, where the objective is to reflect on a completed project or deal for the purpose of learning and improving, the pre-mortem serves as an exercise in critical thinking ahead of the deal, in order to ensure a smooth transaction and to avoid the not-so-obvious pitfalls in the short and long term.

My clients repeatedly call on me to facilitate pre-mortems in advance of big legal and business decisions, and in their lives, and through my career, I’ve come to see that asking oneself and one’s team these strategic questions upfront, pays lasting dividends.

Check out the article in Smart Business Dealmakers Detroit to read their interview with me.

And let me know: Do you conduct pre-mortem exercises? How do you approach them? Have they helped you?

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