The Set Up: Before you set up for the swing, there are many thoughts that go through your head. A deal, complex or not, has the same evaluation that needs to be thought through before the next steps can be taken. Each decision made affects the rest of the deal or, in this case, your golf game.
The Mulligan: It is always nice to think we get a "breakfast ball" on the first tee so that if the shot is errant we can pretend it never happened and get a do-over. Well, there are no mulligans in the world of deal-making - you get one shot to make it your best and advance the deal toward a successful conclusion. Golf is a game of integrity; it can be fun and a wonderful outlet for everyone. But at the end of the day the goal is the same: play within the rules, take your best shot and advance it down the fairway.
Approaching the Ball = Approaching the Deal: When you approach the ball you have to assess the lie, the yardage, the wind, pin placement, etc. The most important part of all of this assessment is playing the ball as it lies. There is no improving its position through the obligatory "foot wedge." This would unfairly affect the outcome of the shot and the game. A deal has many of the same characteristics. You must evaluate the deal at hand on the merits of its value, who the investors would be, the management capabilities, market conditions, pier-group analysis, etc. You have to look at the deal as is to assess what needs to be done to bring it to a final success.
External Influences: These influences can be wind, weather, green speed, beer and, yes, one's own thoughts. Can we control these elements? Most of the time you can control the "beer effect" and sometimes your thoughts, but the game proceeds regardless of these external issues. Deals can be very similar because there are always external pressures that cannot be anticipated or controlled. Approach the deal like you would a round on a challenging course. Know that things will be out of your control and only try to affect the things you can control; in other words, don't get in your own way.
Have a Routine: Each round of golf, even on the same course, will present a different outcome. You can shoot an 80 one day and return the next when the slightest nuances result in a 100. Each shot presents its own set of circumstances that need to be evaluated and the outcome of each shot will be reflected in the ending score of the round. In a deal, each hurdle that appears needs to be evaluated and considered prior to effectively maneuvering a way around to its closing. In each case, if a routine or a game plan is in place it will help minimize the amount of things that can go wrong, be it in a deal or on the course.