Spoken of as “The World’s Foremost Expert on Hiring,” Brad is a prolific author, speaker, and consultant with an A-list clientele. His landmark book, Topgrading—a Wall Street Journal and New York Times bestseller—has been Amazon’s #1 selling book on selection interviewing.

Brad assesses executive teams in acquired companies, giving M&A clients an outside, professional opinion on who should stay, who should go, and how best to position the people they keep.

He says, “Due diligence should look hardest at who’s running the show. Your most piercing analysis should focus on the top people.”

“Sure, the target company’s financials are fundamentally important, and most acquirers look at that first. But you have to get behind the numbers, because numbers can be misleading. A very promising deal might be hidden by bad financials that are caused by lousy leaders. Likewise, a company with good-looking numbers might actually be at great risk because of some key executives’ shortcomings.”

Brad explains, “The target company’s executive team owns all of the due diligence data. It’s theirs—they’re accountable. The best way to make sense of that data is to look at it through the lens of incumbent leaders’ talents and potential. It’s hard to accurately interpret due diligence information without keen insights into who produced those conditions.”

Lessons From 1,000 Deals