Inarticulate ramblings of a management consultant

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

Tag Archive for ‘Performance’

Does an org structure tell you anything about influence? Think again…

I’ve posted previously on the futility of the classic organisational structure analysis when it comes to M&A (you’ll find the link here). A good friend and ex-colleague came back to me with an excellent challenge…easy to poke holes in it but what’s the solution? Let me respond and come up with some ideas on how to do this more effectively given the constraints of an M&A process pre announcement, notably:  Limited access to […]

Continue Reading →

M&A – bust as an idea or are we starting to differentiate between those who can and those who can’t?

Has the idea of growth through M&A finally been proven to be fundamentally bust or can we start to differentiate between those that are likely to fail and those that might succeed? Are there indicators which you might look for to identify potential success? I’ve been thinking about what might feature in those indicators….here’s my list: Personal track record of complex transformation (ideally in remedial situations) within the leadership and […]

Continue Reading →

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 […]

Continue Reading →

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 […]

Continue Reading →

Human capital – what does it actually mean?

With thanks to Paul Freeman for giving me the initial inspiration behind this latest blog / rant, I want to explore this concept today in a little detail. A long long time ago (in a far away land), someone thought of this phrase as a way of creating a linguistic connection between other forms of capital (financial, intellectual) and that troublesome group of costly, irrational and emotional and most importantly […]

Continue Reading →

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 […]

Continue Reading →

Think like a theatre director – and become an excellent programme manager

It’s rare to see a connection between the world of performing arts and the world of programme and project management….until you start to look at people’s non work based cvs. At that point, you start to see an incredible richness of experience, talent and focus dedicated towards the arts. So the question for me is, are there some aspects of the performing arts which help develop or naturally lend themselves to the […]

Continue Reading →

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 […]

Continue Reading →

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 […]

Continue Reading →

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. […]

Continue Reading →

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 […]

Continue Reading →

Pray for some divine intervention – M&A may be coming back!

Whisper it quietly but it seems that the M&A market is finally returning to some very decent volumes again (http://ftalphaville.ft.com/2014/04/07/1821102/ma-is-back-ish/). No doubt the headline transactions will be the ones that everyone is focused on, not least because the old scourges of government intervention in the case of Alstom (or pure protectionism by another name) plus aggressive valuation in the case of Astra Zeneca are being played out in public. The […]

Continue Reading →

People in project management – the ultimate elastic band in terms of productivity!

With thanks to Toby Tester for this topic, I wanted to explore a subject which has been close to my heart for more years than I can say. How did we get to a situation where the presumption is that human capital productivity stays constant in periods of intense change? I know this blog is supposed to be a series of incisive commentaries based on personal consulting experience but the […]

Continue Reading →

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 […]

Continue Reading →

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 […]

Continue Reading →

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 […]

Continue Reading →

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 […]

Continue Reading →

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 […]

Continue Reading →

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 […]

Continue Reading →