To have an open mind and that, in the event of a sale, the purchase price is not the only determining factor. Spending the time to understand a market, to understand the industry, to select appropriate advisors and appreciate the strategy and culture of your purchaser was critical.
One thing that I have learned, no matter how many questions, interviews, meetings, communications, etc there will be items that you do not find out about until months later and there will be people who do not know the why or how things are happening. You can only lead so much and eventually the individuals, internal or external, have to take some accountability to be in the know.
My lesson learned was to provide senior leadership with trade (import/export) related questions to include as part of a due diligence process and to be come one the functional leads to be in the know prior to an M&A activity to help mitigate being informed on Day One and have to scramble to determine if there is any trade-related successor liability risk. This is important because liability is for five years post import/export activity and can result in substantial monetary penalties (per occurrence) and in some instances imprisonment.