Inarticulate ramblings of a management consultant

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

The project based organisation

Recently I’ve had a few conversations with colleagues around the ‘projectisation’ of corporations, an ugly but appropriate phrase to explain the next stage in corporate development. This is as a result of a blog which I published last week focusing on the perfect storm convergence of a disengaged and therefore unproductive workforce, an increasing pace of change and a significant uplift in complexity. So, how to deal with this. Well, it […]

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The perfect storm which has the potential to challenge the corporate world as we see it today

I have spent the last few days at the Symex Conference in Palembang, Sumatra, speaking and listening to a bunch of bright, articulate and challenging speakers. It has lead me to a conclusion about a significant challenge that corporates around the world face over the next few years….a convergence of issues or perfect storm which have the potential to change the corporate landscape as we know it. Let me set […]

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Preparing for a mid afternoon 30 minute speaking slot at a conference – the nightmare scenario!

I’ve just been given this task…and what a nightmare it is. Many of you will have hopefully read the book ‘Pitch Anything’ by Oren Klaff. Despite its terrible title (which reminds me of the classic, ‘How to make a million bucks in 24 hours’ type books you find at your nearest international airport!), this is probably the most interesting book around sales that I’ve read for a very long time. Oren […]

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Buying the right quality at the right price – the challenge for procurement

I’ve had two conversations with clients around procurement in recent times which I wanted to share with you. The first one included a remark from a client which struck me to such a degree that I wrote it down precisely. ‘Our procurement process actively discriminates against smaller firms because of the perception that they offer limited services’ were his precise words. The second was with a procurement professional who told me that his brief was […]

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Leadership – nature or nurture?

With thanks to Roddy Millar with a comment from last week’s blog about ‘bottom up ‘ strategy implementation, I wanted to explore leadership in a little more detail. Let me start at the beginning, usually a good place. Let’s start with a group of boys and girls starting at nursery / kindergarten together: One of their first collective experiences involves working with leadership. Importantly, their leaders come from within. Whether […]

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Implementing a ‘bottom up’ strategy – part 3

Apologies for the delayed posting…I was at our place in Scotland on holiday and bizarrely, the golf course had more attraction than sitting behind a laptop, trying to find something meaningful to say around this particular challenge! So, for those of you who did not pick up on my previous posts, in the first one of this series, I discussed the typical approach of strategy implementation from a ‘top down’ […]

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Implementing strategy – from the bottom up – part 2

Last week, I tried to illustrate a classic top down implementation process in terms of the key problems that companies face. This week I’m going to try and describe how I’ve seen it work from a ‘bottom up’ approach. This is altogether more challenging for two main reasons: 1) Organisations rarely design their future strategy with the most junior members of the workforce in control or with much influence. The […]

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Top down or bottom up? Developing a strategy which actually gets implemented!

Now there’s a question! Let me say upfront that as someone who comes from a programme and project management background (and therefore implementation focus), I have an inbuilt bias to this problem but will try to put a rational and as usual, highly cynical case to this problem. By the way, I don’t mean challenge, issue, risk or distraction, but serious, business / career destroying, crisis inducing, health impacting problem. […]

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Consulting for free – really!?

As I sit in the back of a blue bird taxi in Jakarta on a Tuesday night after a day of pitches…for those of you who haven’t been here, this is likely to take some time….I’m drawn to write about the plague that is increasing impacting consultants, specialist or generalist, local or international, small or large: the ‘try before you buy’ trend You know that things have started to take […]

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Program managing post merger integration – different from other complex projects?

I’ve had a number of very heated conversations with colleagues about the nature of post merger integration in recent weeks. The two positions are easy to understand; on the one hand, there is the perspective that a deal is just another complex transformation project with all the usual challenges. On the other side of the debate, the argument goes that post merger integration represents a wholly different type of challenge […]

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Post merger integration – in every way, an oximoron!

There’s an magnificent irony to the expression ‘post merger integration’ which, as the M&A rollercoaster starts to speed up again at an alarming pace, I wanted to share with you. In fact every part of that phrase can be challenged… Post – the reality as any practitioner will tell you, is that the work starts a long time before completion and potentially announcement. Many studies have shown that if you start […]

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Right-sizing the culture…to dimensions that make sense!

Whenever we talk about culture, it’s almost always in macro economic terms…regions, nations, industries, functional areas all seem to be easily (if often wrongly!) defined by specific and identifiable cultural traits. These traits enable us to ascribe labels to groups of people which may be relevant in terms of description but in terms of achieving any kind of change add to the confusion rather reduce it. In my opinion, the […]

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Domain knowledge – the only thing that matters in consulting?!

A frequent complaint that one hears about consultants is that ‘one team sells’ but another delivers…the implication being that the more senior folk are involved in winning the work, but when it comes to delivery, it’s often handed to the less experienced with the expected consequences. Like all professions that deliver a service, the tendency is to try and win at all costs and think about delivery at a later […]

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Re-employment, not retention – that’s the name of the game these days

It is extraordinary how age creeps up on you. In thinking about and discussing this blog with a colleague recently, I was suddenly aware of how over the course of 20+ years of work, the nature of my relationship with my employer has changed and more specifically how different it is from the new generation joining the workforce. So, like many of my peers, I’m left with a dilemma. Do […]

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Do We Become Smarter? – Entity vs Incremental Intelligence

Originally posted on People-triggers:
Dr. Carol Dweck, Stanford University I’d like to introduce what is probably the most important concept I’ve every learned. In a way, I’m frustrated that I didn’t latch onto this insight until I was 35 years old, but by the same token, I’m relieved that I learned this in time to make better parenting decisions when the appropriate time comes. Does Intelligence Remain Fixed? Dr. Carol…

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Do you take enough risk?

Do you take enough risk?. Good article on the nature of leading groups through a real learning experience by Michael. All of us have that experience of throwing out the plan and doing something fresh. It’s interesting for me that often this involves someone else in the decision making process…the support of someone who running the session with you in making the decision / taking the risk is often important. Which […]

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Have pity for program leaders of a post merger integration – they need your sympathy!

Imagine the following situation: You’re given the challenge to program manage a post merger integration, carried out in the public eye, with all of the details (cost, complexity, high level strategy) broadcast to the world. After a few months, you discover that actually there were a number of other people in the frame for the work, who for one reason or another, couldn’t take up the challenge! You’re given a thousand pages of diligence, written […]

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