Inarticulate ramblings of a management consultant

the day to day experiences of a consultant operating in weird and wonderful client situations

Functional Leadership

How does it look from over there? The perspective of Asian buyers / leaders on M&A in Europe and the USA

Over the next six weeks, I will be publishing a series of interviews which I and a friend of mine, Abhay Pande, conducted whilst based in Singapore. These interviews were born of a shared interest and desire to get beyond the myth and legend of Asian corporate culture and business practice and actually get some insights from Asian leaders that we have in our network. The facts are plain enough. […]

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Asian investors -dealing with a new owner?

We are living in a period of reversals….for most of our lives, decisions have been made in the West and implemented (with mixed success) in the East. From outsourcing shared services to the Philippines and South Asia, to banks developing global platforms by buying local and regional businesses across Asia, to the great manufacturing shift to China and more recently to Vietnam, the emphasis on delivery has the remit of […]

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Strategy and integration – the oil and vinegar of any deal

…no matter how much you vigorously combine them, they eventually separate out again. It’s a nice analogy but why? Why is it so hard to successfully translate strategy into integration? Why do those who lead / create strategy well struggle so badly with integration? Why does a set of activities which by their very nature are iterate, continue to be linear? One of the joys of my work is that I meet […]

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Confidence and decision making – the virtuous or vicious cycle of Mergers and Acquisitions

Let me tell you a story about a small professional services business acquisition involving two similar sized businesses operating in related ends of the market. The steering committee for the integration included anyone with a ‘C” in his / her title…the cost from an hourly charge-out rate perspective around the table was considerable as was the intellectual firepower! This was the third meeting of that group and I was somewhat […]

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Sponsorship – comes in many shapes and sizes

A few years ago when I was contemplating the opportunity to come to Asia and going through a rather tortuous International Mobility exercise (which seemed full of process but lacked any sense of progress), a colleague whispered to me the secret of all such moves….’sponsorship’. Find a sponsor, he said, one who has money and influence, and all the obstacles you’re currently facing through the ‘official’ processes will magically disappear! […]

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Fixing the irrevocably broken – creating an organisational structure which can thrive in a world of disruptive innovation

With thanks to Toby Tester and following from my blog last week (click here to read it if you’ve unwittingly stumbled upon this random collection of thoughts), here is the exam question for the week: What does an ideal organisational structure look like to cope with the challenges of today’s working environment? Let me first try and define what I envisage as an ‘ideal’ structure with a series of questions: […]

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Due diligence in an emerging market – the management interviews – lots of communication, perhaps less understanding!

Last week I explored the challenges of doing diligence on a fictitious family owned business based in Indonesia, from the perspective of the CEO (the link is here if you missed it). This week, let’s have a playful look at the next stage in the process…the management interviews, again from the perspective of the CEO of the business being acquired. This is the accumulation of a number of my experiences […]

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Leadership in transactions – staying close but not too close!

With thanks to Toby Tester who suggested that I write something on this subject. Up until now, I’ve spent a lot of time writing about the challenges of programme leadership for the post deal integration process, with all its complexities and more importantly, opacity arising from the peculiarities of the situation; lack of access to information, business case based on assumptions which cannot be validated until the deal is completed, […]

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The big myth in post acquisition integration

If there’s one consistent message that I’ve heard over the last 15 years of doing post acquisition integration, it’s this:  Big deals are more difficult to integrate than small ones  Whether it’s the investment bankers / accountants / lawyers / consultants or Heads of Corporate Strategy, this message is probably the one thing that everyone agrees on. Complexity is directly correlated with size…for the following reasons: More people requiring more effort […]

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More evidence of the link between culture and M&A success

Many of you will already be aware of my focus on culture in M&A and it seems that it’s becoming more mainstream to talk about these matters.. Note the recent commentary in the FT on Holcim and Lafarge which tries to downplay the cultural dimensions…perhaps part of the problem is a blind acceptance in the media around business case as opposed to delivery capability! http://www.ft.com/cms/s/3/d1cc9938-cbec-11e4-beca-00144feab7de.html#axzz3UcoE3fgH The article below is a […]

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Changing your organisation – using the science of ‘segmentation’

As the UK election looms, in what looks to be one of the closest elections in many years, I’m drawn to speculating what the new swing vote category is going to be called…we’ve had ‘Worcester Woman’ from Tony Blair and ‘Basildon Man’ from Margaret Thatcher some years ago so what next? ‘Portsmouth Pensioner’? The grey vote appears to be a major battleground ‘Teviot Teenager”? Does the momentum of the Scottish […]

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Your organisational structure – is it working for you or have you found a way around it?!

With a shameless reference to Gary Hamel’s interview with Peter Day which I blogged on last week (the link is at the bottom of this blog), I want to explore a different approach with regard to organisational structure: What happens if we think about organisational structure as a means of communication, and not just control? As an aside, I suspect that for most of us, the control aspect of organisational structures […]

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The changing face of the organisational structure…as defined by the new generation of employees

An interview recently conducted with Gary Hamel on the BBC World Service. Please click on the link below Peter Day; World of Business – interview with Gary Hamel This is worth 30 minutes of your time….I promise you. The key points from the interview: A call for a more dynamic approach to organisational structure and the commensurate implications for shareholders. Personal engagement of customers and shareholders in the lives of […]

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The bad news about deals….they expose structural weaknesses when everyone’s looking!

I’ve always thought about transactions as being quite different complex transformations from the ‘business as usual’ activities. There’s been a train of thought for a number of years which looks to create separate governance, resources, processes and methodology in post-acquisition integration. This is based on the requirement for different skill sets and the potential for distraction from the ongoing business. As we enter a period of increased M&A activity again, […]

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Lets stop talking about winners and losers in deals

I’m working on a couple of integration projects at the moment in various parts of Asia and, as often happens when you’re immersed in something, a sudden moment of clarity arises which is worth capturing and sharing.  One of the challenges for an aspiring CEO and his / her integration director is a recognition that M&A is not like some kind of military battle or occupation! Thinking of M&A in […]

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The three things that will determine success or failure in your deal

I was asked this question by a client this week and it caused me to think carefully. In many ways, the question is a little anodyne…as we all know, post merger integration rates amongst the most complex of transformation projects and coming up with a three part solution does not reflect that complexity.. But for what it’s worth, here are mine: (In terms of context, I’ve positioned this from the […]

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Motivation is, by it’s very nature, personal!

We’ve just come back from climbing up to the crater rim at Mount Rinjani, on the island of Lombok, Indonesia. At 2671 metres, it’s a serious walk / scrabble and with the different weather challenges of tropical rainforest at the bottom and relatively cold at the top(at least for us thin blooded tropics dwellers), challenging for all of us on different levels. It was a great family experience and one […]

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Staying relevant – the challenge of getting older in a workplace

Time for a little reflection perhaps. As I look at my parents’ generation, what strikes me is not their inability to deal with life both in the mundane (financials / insurance / pension / health) and the extraordinary (global travel, societal change etc) – these things are completely within their reach and interest. No, what they seem to struggle with is the intermediary / channel / device that required these […]

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The death (…and reincarnation?) of HR

To say that there’s been a diatribe on the subject of HR on these pages is perhaps an understatement…and my reassurances that some of my best relationships are with HR professionals has probably fallen upon deaf ears, despite the truth of that statement. You know who you are, my HR friends. Like many aspects of life, it’s the things about which that we are most passionate, that we are equally […]

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What we can learn from the creative arts….!

With thanks to Robert Bolton, it seems that the Economist and I are on the same wave length…or perhaps they saw my blog and thought it was a good concept! I can but dream!! Below is a link of the article from the Economist: http://www.economist.com/node/21629377/print And below is the link to my article! https://bendehaldevang.com/2014/09/29/think-like-a-theatre-director-and-become-an-excellent-programme-manager/ On holiday, more next week.

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