Inarticulate ramblings of a management consultant

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

Transformation

Acquisition in an emerging market – integrating the ‘ways of working’ – an exercise in futility?

The final instalment of this series of blogs, from the perspective of a mythical CEO of a family owned business being acquired by a multinational corporate. It is based on my experience of deals across Asia and is not specific to one particular transaction. If you’d like to read the previous parts (which may make sense as they’re written in chronological order), you can access them here – Due diligence, […]

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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 uncomfortable reality for CEOs today – the ‘incremental’ growth strategy is no longer acceptable

Everywhere you look these days, seismic shifts are taking place. Whether it is in: the burgeoning M&A marketplace where whole sectors are undergoing the sort of change that used to be once in a generation, or major established organisations declaring transformational intent which is nothing short of revolutionary (for employees, shareholders and analysts) or CEOs, imbued with the private equity spirit, are embarking on radical performance improvement within companies or […]

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What’s the big deal with hostile takeovers? Employee engagement or the ‘Hedgehog’ phenomenon!

A couple of weeks ago, following the rash of hostile transactions (see this link to a good FT article on the issue), I wrote a piece on one of the key challenges behind ‘going hostile’, that of access (you can read it here). This week, my focus is Engagement. In many ways, all the problems of hostile transactions stems from this dimension (it is also, by the way, a challenge […]

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The cost of capital is less than the cost of innovation…a remarkable shift in the world of M&A

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/6aad8ebe-e9c0-11e4-b863-00144feab7de.html#axzz3YTZwnnI3 The attached article from the FT provides a good insight into a remarkable change in the levels of activity in M&A, particularly in pharmaceuticals ($468 billion of transactions announced in 2015, an almost unprecedented rise and certainly the most significant increase since before the global financial crisis). A frenzy of activity therefore, some of which may be driven by not wishing to be left out rather than a solid […]

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Collective or collaborative? What’s the best approach?

 The issues raised in a number of my recent blogs have led me to ask the question, is it better to use the power of the collective or the engagement of the collaborative in complex transformation. The nature of global corporates these days has changed with the increasing visibility, transparency and vigilance generated by regulators around the world. Each of these regulators bring different perspectives and pet requirements…but there are […]

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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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‘Practice makes perfect’ – a model of implementing change

Last week I wrote about the interesting interaction between these three dimensions as three different strategies for implementing change. This week I want to write one particular model of implementation, which I’ve called the ‘Practice makes perfect’ model. As you may remember, the traditional method (in a Western context) looks like this: Let’s now think about some variations on this theme, and in particular what to do when you come across a […]

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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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Policy, process and practice – the three dimensions of implementation (1)

I’m working with a client on a transaction in one of the larger markets in Asia. As often happens, the chance to work with some highly motivated and able individuals leads to some new ideas. Whilst in a team meeting, this model came to my mind and I wanted to share it with you. The challenge for any organisation in an acquisition is to understand what the triggers / levers […]

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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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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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The Need to Automate the Innovation Process

Good article which points to some interesting trends going on in project management at the moment…not sure this is about software but I like the methodologies and findings.. There has always been a consistent call to automate the innovation process. Now it might turn into a stampede, based on real ‘digital’ need. We have made solid progress in the use of out-of-the box software for capturing ideas at the ‘fuzzy […]

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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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The future role of HR – whose decision is it?

http://blogs.hbr.org/2014/10/its-not-hrs-job-to-be-strategic/ Interesting blog which goes to the heart of the challenge for HR going forward…how to separate the strategic from the non strategic…and probably more importantly, who is going to deliver the strategic. At the moment, the new generation of HR leaders seem to be as badly equipped as those in the last twenty years to take on this task…with some notable exceptions of course, some of whom I’ve had […]

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The subject matter expertise…of implementation

I’ve decided to dedicate this blog to the creation of a new subject matter expertise…focused on the skills and requirements of  implementation or ‘getting things done’! In every part of commercial and creative life, we are faced with a significant contradiction. There is almost universal acceptance that ‘implementation’ is where things go wrong. Yet most of the focus, attention, and resource (financial and other) in any complex transformation project seems to rest with the design and […]

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Dealing with inertia successfully – the example staring us in the face!

I wrote last week about inertia as the true killer of innovation and change. One or two of you were kind enough to comment and provide some further ammunition on the topic…which led me to try and scratch around to find examples of where the inertia of the 80% had truly be galvanised into action. Having a ginger beer or two with my friend Sanjeev Kumar in Hong Kong last […]

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Think like a theatre director – and become an excellent programme manager

It’s rare to see a connection between the world of performing arts and the world of programme and project management….until you start to look at people’s non work based cvs. At that point, you start to see an incredible richness of experience, talent and focus dedicated towards the arts. So the question for me is, are there some aspects of the performing arts which help develop or naturally lend themselves to the […]

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