Last weekend, at the conclusion of a very intense EMBA entrepreneurship program, it was pitch time.  Teams at UNC’s Kenan-Flagler B-School were presenting their business concepts in a round robin, rapidly moving from room to room to waiting judges.

It was the culmination of months of ideation, modeling, and rigorous scrutiny.

And in this high-stakes home stretch, one of the teams I’d been coaching had an unusable deck.

It crashed.

In the first round.

You might think this not all that big a deal, but if you recall the last time you presented when it was make or break, when you wanted to demonstrate consummate credibility, when something deeply mattered, you can likely imagine the alarm.

My advice?

Dump the deck.

Don’t take up any more time trying to fix it.

Go in to every subsequent room and pitch using only a marker and the white board. 

Demonstrate that thinking on your entrepreneurial feet isn’t just a concept, it’s something you’re good at.

Illustrate in real time that you know this venture inside and out, that you can answer any question, discuss any nuance.

I wouldn’t send you in unless I thought you could do it, I told them.

Many hours later, the team accepted one of only two awards given for outstanding ventures.

Anyone can pitch with a deck.

It’s dexterity – yours and your team’s – that changes the competition.


For more on working with me directly to Build a Self-Correcting Team℠ in 2024, one that is dexterous, trusting, on time to deliver, able to pivot fluidly, and always thinking outside the box for better, contact me.

My next openings are in early December to jump start your success in Q1.  These customized team sessions include: prep work, consult between you and I in advance, debrief after each session, and my recommendations going forward.