Inarticulate ramblings of a management consultant

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

Tag Archive for ‘Decision making’

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 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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Lets stop talking about winners and losers in deals

I’m working on a couple of integration projects at the moment in various parts of Asia and, as often happens when you’re immersed in something, a sudden moment of clarity arises which is worth capturing and sharing.  One of the challenges for an aspiring CEO and his / her integration director is a recognition that M&A is not like some kind of military battle or occupation! Thinking of M&A in […]

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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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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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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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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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Bringing project management into the mainstream

With thanks for an excellent seminar last night by Thomas Martin of Forward Intelligence Group and previously Microsoft, and also a reflection from a number of other clients and colleagues, I’ve been observing an interesting series of phenomena in the last few months. A redrawing of some of the traditional boundaries between transformation and business as usual activities, specifically when it comes to allocation of CAPEX. It seems that there […]

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Telling the truth or giving a public opinion…a political minefield!

With apologies for a slightly introverted blog, I wanted to raise an interesting issue which has been raised by three people this week who’ve somehow stumbled upon this random collection of thoughts and ideas in the last week. It appears that what people like most about this blog is the candour and openness of the commentary. Why is it so difficult these days to give an honest opinion without fear […]

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The role of a global function…adding value or merely cost?

For many of us and indeed for many of my clients, the activities of global functional leadership can be a source of frustration and occasionally extreme irritation. That’s not to say that the individuals within those functions are not performing to the best of their ability and don’t have all the right intentions for the business. Indeed one might say that to have reached that position requires talent, a strong network and […]

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Why do we let people who are fantastic at attracting votes run complex financially driven ‘corporations’?

As the referendum for Scottish independence draws closer, the crass opportunism and incompetence of those who are supposedly in charge of our economies becomes more and more apparent. I’m drawn to an analogy in the corporate world…would we let someone trained in the dark arts of public relations take the role of a CEO / CFO / COO? Would we let someone who was an excellent after dinner speaker take control […]

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Management information in projects – a meaningful source of data or post rationalised intuition?

Much of my work in recent years has been to work with senior managers who are looking for some kind of a magic bullet to give them an insight into their organisation…a data set which: They can trust where the ‘provenance’ is clear and consistent. The consistency in particular has to relate to qualitative experiences they’ve had with their employees or other relationships they have internally or externally Relates to their own experience either […]

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Working from home….management’s last bastion of control

The nature of the office workplace has changed almost beyond recognition in the last 30 years. The pace of change in terms of activity, responsibility, speed of communication, access to information and people, and complexity of the ‘transaction’ whatever the company might be engaged in, are all vastly different. Gone are vast numbers of manual tasks and with them activities and roles in the workplace. What is required these days […]

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Why bother with organisational structure?

For those of you who’ve worked with me in the deals / post merger integration environment, this rant will be very familiar and i apologise for repeating myself in this forum…but I was reminded once again of this in a conversation with an old colleague. Let me take you through the way the discussion normally goes, the participants being an HR person and me in a operational due diligence and […]

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What’s the value of a plan?

It may seem strange to those of you who know me that I’m in the profession of planning otherwise known as project / programme management. For years, my life was anything but planned, work opportunities seem to occur through a combination of chance and happy circumstance. Obviously it’s been easy to post rationalise my various moves (!) but the reality was very different. That was not however due to a […]

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Moving from Subject Matter Expert to Consultant

Two interesting moments this week: I was asked by a client to work with his team to help them understand what it is to become consultants. Interesting mandate and many might say, why on earth would you want to do that? A powerful debate with a fellow consultant around the challenge behind being both a subject matter expert and a consultant. In preparing something for the first of these challenges, […]

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