Inarticulate ramblings of a management consultant

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

Communications…how and why we continue to get it wrong!

Three truths about communication which are accepted by most: Non-verbal communication constitutes 70-80% of the message (tone and body language to be precise). Human beings are extraordinarily good at perceiving that which is authentic and that which is not. Leaders lead through the power of their communication capability. Every project manager I’ve ever met, when asked about the core skill required that distinguishes the average from the exceptional in their […]

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The messy business of retention in merger integration projects

I suspect that the phrase most often heard and rarely delivered against in the transactions world is ‘people are our most important asset‘. It’s right up there with ‘there’s a natural cultural fit between our two companies‘ and ‘this acquisition will be earnings accretive in x years’! Why does the tendency to make statements based on zero knowledge and little chance of delivery continue in a market situation which has […]

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Consulting language…who comes up with these expressions!

Many years ago when I first started consulting, my wife said to me, “make sure you continue to speak English, if its your single contribution to your profession that you do this, it will have been a career worth having!” It’s an extraordinary thing that we seem to delight in, coming up with language which is so nebulous as if the sole purpose is to confuse rather than clarify! Maybe […]

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My world, your world…systems led change and why it fails

Over the last 9 months, I have been working with a client who is going through as significant a trauma as perhaps I’ve ever seen. Because of an aging population and obsolescent IT infrastructure, he is embarking on a systems led change process which will effect the entire operation. The implications of failure are not worth contemplating in terms of their knock on effect for the group as a whole. […]

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Music training boosts IQ

Originally posted on BRAIN'S IDEA:
There are more and more brain training companies popping up which promise the same deal: improved intelligence. While there are doubts about their results, another sort of brain training has existed since the beginning of humanity: music. The evidence for its effectiveness is surprisingly strong. . Brain training in the 1930’s. . Over the years, researchers have noticed that people who have taken music…

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The milestone or is it millstone of entering ones second half

Since my earliest days as a consultant, probably as some kind of unfulfilled legacy from my days as a headhunter, I have had certain types of ‘conversations’ with men and women of my age. Sometimes these are driven by an event such as redundancy or a cross road in terms of career, or a sense of lack of direction…which may be driving loss of productivity and motivation. I was struck […]

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The hangover from post merger integration

I was with a new client today to discuss a new procurement initiative for a business which spans 14 countries in Asia. The initial transaction which formed this large and very successful operation was completed in late 2008, an incredible time to make an acquisition both in terms of price and expectation management in terms of shareholders. Since then it has performed extraordinarily well both in terms of growth and […]

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Mergers and acquisitions are here to stay

It appears that with the renewed interest in deals in the UK (primarily generated by PE), we are once again embarking on a bit of deal mania. I often think that I’ve dedicated the last 23 years of my career to an activity which is entirely defined by the famous quote about madness…to paraphrase, doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. Why is this? The […]

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The 3 dimensional sales model for consulting…so different from delivery?

The continual cycle for most consultants is that of sales to delivery to sales…..hopefully with as little downtime inbetween as possible. What’s interesting is that the skill sets for sales and delivery are often perceived as fundamentally different, that somehow we have to morph into different people to be able to make this transition effectively. One of the greatest moments of resistance one gets from consulting teams is often based […]

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Innovation…or the hidden strength behind every successful enterprise

The flavour of the last few years has been innovation…across geographies, sectors and for every organisational structure from government to non-profit to corporates of any shape and size, innovation is now recognised as a critical differentiator in any successful business transformation. Despite this, almost all of the typical processes in post merger integration or transformation generate a behavioural pattern which actively discriminates against it. An example: A Spanish company that […]

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People versus Process

At the risk of antagonising a number of my close colleagues and friends who work with me currently or with whom I’ve had the pleasure of working in the past, I wanted to ask a challenging question. In 14 years of working with companies going through a post-acquisition integration process, there’s been an outstanding issue which to my mind has never been answered properly – Why is it that process […]

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There is no such thing as a ‘corporate’ buyer

For me and probably many of you, one of the key changes that I’ve experienced in the last few years has been the growth in stature and importance of the procurement function. From a situation many years ago where these were a source of information and administration around suppliers, their influence these days is significantly greater…typically helping organisations deal with the ‘tail’ of their suppliers more efficiently and through a […]

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