Inarticulate ramblings of a management consultant

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

Tag Archive for ‘Collective behaviour’

Three things to think about when preparing your company for a ‘growth by acquisition’ strategy

At the risk of sounding trite, the opportunities for successful acquirers have never been as great as they are now nor the risks higher! The market generally views with suspicion those who would target growth through deals as their primary vehicle (the Valeant and SunEddison story is another in the litany of M&A disasters…see here for my take on it) but for those who do it well, the leverage of […]

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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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The rise of China’s serial acquirers – M&A China style appears to be a ‘non-contact’ sport!

According to Dealogic, 102 outbound Chinese transactions have been announced to date worth USD 81.6 billion up from USD 11.2 billion for the same period last year… Some of them have been truly momentous:  Haier’s intention to acquire the GE Appliance business, a business which is steeped in American corporate history. ChemChina’s bid for Syngenta, the sheer size of which is eye popping at USD 48 billion. HNA Group’s bid for […]

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Buying it or developing it internally…the challenge of innovation.

  Over the past 6-9 months, we’ve seen an M&A frenzy which has been based on 2 considerations: the low cost of capital and the need to buy innovation. I’ve written about the latter before (see this link). From recent conversations with corporate strategists, the sad truth of the matter is as follows: In large corporates, disruptive innovation (not incremental) is either no longer feasible, cost effective (given the vagaries […]

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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 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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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 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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The project based organisation

Following on from my blog last week, I’ve had a few conversations with colleagues around the ‘projectisation’ of corporations, a ugly but appropriate phrase which Thomas Martin uses to explain the next stage in corporate development. If you remember, what I tried to address was the perfect storm convergence of a disengaged and therefore unproductive workforce, a increasing pace of change and a significant uplift in complexity. So, how to deal with […]

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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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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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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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How M&A destroys value – it’s all about the small things!

I’m working on a couple of transactions at the moment around the region and one of them in Indonesia led to a moment of insight which I wanted to share. As consultants, we are frequently accused of looking for the big impact change…the magic bullet which will dramatically transform the project / or open the stakeholders eyes to a new way of doing things. In the mergers and acquisitions area though, […]

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Agile – A change in methodology or something much deeper and altogether more challenging?

I’ve just spoken at an excellent conference on project management in KL. There were some truly interesting seminars on project recovery, risk, the danger of optimism in projects, and of course Agile. It is extraordinary what sort of reaction this topic generates amongst proven, seasoned project management professionals and the range was certainly on display at the conference. I saw everything there from fear and loathing, to contemptuous dismissal, to […]

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Are we always going to spend countless hours on planes to get to sit in meeting rooms with colleagues?

This morning, as I sit on yet another flight, this time from Singapore to Hong Kong, it’s ever more apparent to me that far from video conferencing and other forms of communication taking the place of international travel, planes are fuller than ever with business travellers flying short distances for a schedule of meetings, which from my own straw poll over the past 18 months, are mostly internal to their […]

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