Inarticulate ramblings of a management consultant

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

Tag Archive for ‘Complexity’

East goes West – Interview with Martin Lau, Managing Partner, First State Stewart

East Goes West is a series of podcasts focused on the challenge of Asian businesses coming to Europe and the US. Abhay Pande and conducted a series of interview with senior Asian leaders to understand a little more of the cultural complexity that exists across the Asian landscape, recognise the key differences and start to think about what an Asian owner might expect of a European and American  business. The […]

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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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The market needs certainty…really?

On the morning after the most extraordinary day in British political history, the clamour in every publicly traded market is for certainty… about the timing of the triggering of Article 50, about the new leadership of the Conservative Party (and the Labour Party), about the terms of the agreement with the EU, about the position of the rest of the UK (in particular Scotland and Northern Ireland) etc! As an […]

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You want effective communications in an acquisition? Recognise your employees’ perceptions as the actual baseline and own it…simple really!

Anyone you know who hasn’t been through a deal of some kind? I thought not…even those who work in the public sector will have had some strategic transformation thrust upon them. It’s a part of corporate life, whether you’re a senior stakeholder or an entry level employee.…and what has their experience been like, do you think? Positive…’I’ve learned from the experience and my career has been enhanced’ Neutral…’It’s only affected […]

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Where does effective post acquisition integration start? In the boardroom or on the office floor…

One of my reading obsessions for the last couple of years has been the subject of behavioural economics. A key finding (from the psychology arm of the science) is the concept of ‘unconscious bias’;  the idea that despite the contention from a rational perspective that we are not biased, the evidence suggests that we are influenced by colour and race in our decisions and inclinations. There’s a good short video on […]

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Revenue synergies – the last great hope in the justification of paying too much for too little

The announcement this morning of the acquisition of Baxalta by Shire suggests that the wave of pharmaceutical acquisitions is still ongoing. The current market fluctuation may help others to continue their quest in what is probably the largest sector consolidation we’ve seen in a decade or two. The Shire share price reaction is also interesting…a fall of 8% suggests that investors are increasingly concerned that for this specific deal, and […]

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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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The real impact of disruptive innovation – fundamentally changing the future structure of organisations

Disruption is the new buzz word in business these days. There are still some organisations and sectors which resist the concept that, somewhere, in the minds of a consumer or an employee, there is an idea which will change their industry for ever….but largely, there is a surface level of acceptance. The real change behind disruption however is much more subtle, disturbing and has the potential to change the corporate […]

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How would you approach change if employees were given a vote?

A few years ago I was involved in the merger of two UK law firms, one with a focus on London as its main operating base, the other more regional in its operations.  One of the conditions for the deal to go through was 100% approval by the partners. In terms of numbers, we were talking about 124 people. Imagine having a hurdle in a project where, before any implementation […]

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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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Transformation constipation – the new malady for corporates engaged in an orgy of transactions

For market observers, the current M&A boom looks disconcertingly like the heady days of 2007 and 2008 in terms of volume and market optimism. The papers and the analysts are full of hope and aspiration as the pharmaceutical, technology and telco sectors indulge in increasingly extravagant claims about cost savings, market consolidation and innovation pipelines….much as they did then when the market knew only one direction of travel. There is, however, one big […]

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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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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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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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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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