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In the U.S., roughly 50% of first marriages end in divorce. For second marriages, it’s about 66%. Third marriages, 75% or higher.

It seems that mere statistics will not deter our faith that we can succeed where others have failed.

Maybe that explains why acquisitions, despite a roughly 80% failure rate, are the preferred method of growth for most organizations.  Not just preferred, they are often deemed necessary, or even strategic.

Acquisitions are typically justified with overestimated synergies and undue confidence that improbable efficiencies will materialize.  The deleterious impact on productivity, culture, and morale are grossly underestimated or completely ignored.

The prospect of all that new revenue without all of the attendant costs proves too strong a lure.  After all, growth is growth, even the most expensive kind.

But, sustainable growth comes from winning rather than acquiring business from competitors.  Innovative and strategic organizations do this by continually introducing superior products and services. They grow economically instead of physically.  And they preserve their cultures.

So, resist the temptation to acquire growth.  The odds are simply not in your favor.

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