merger, acquisition, synergy, time's up, blog, Toby Elwin

Time’s up for merger and acquisition synergy

The mergers and acquisitions world sprinkles potential deals with a bit of pixie dust called synergy. Synergy is neither rational, functional, nor logical.

If HR used the word synergy in an accounting meeting? Laughed out of the room. If HR or human capital used the word synergy in a corporate finance discussion? The time value of money, that is rational. What will it cost? What return will it realize? When will it realize that return? All rational.

Synergy? Synergy is more a pagan fairy than rational way to make a deal.

human capital risk, cover, Toby Elwin, blog, beta, investment

Human capital beta is investment risk beta

Human capital management is motivation management.  No matter the IQ of an individual or the collected experience of the team without motivation there is opportunity lost. Human capital risk is real, but mainly divorced from analytic and assessment rigor. There is something missing in how to evaluate a a firm opportunity risk. To maximize return on investment you need to maximize return on involvement. I’ve worked in post-merger integration environments for more than 15 years and until you account for the talent you acquire, you have not accounted for risk. Starting in 2007 I began to think about how to evaluate talent and human capital risk in initial assessment.  This deck was a working draft of my thoughts with the objective to sit in a room and deliver a true, front-end human capital assessment to an investor. You can download Adobe Acrobat or PowerPoint version just …

ostrich, appreciative inquiry, change management, Toby Elwin, blog

Highlight change management — an introduction to Appreciative Inquiry

The ability to change comes from the desire to change. The key to positive change is a person’s intrinsic motivation to change. Appreciative Inquiry works around a premise that we move and change in the direction we inquire.

Inquiries into problems will find problems.

Inquiries into what is working or what is best shines a light onto what works and possibilities of how it could work. Almost anyone can appreciate a switch that turns on a highlight of possibilities.

industry, myopia, asteroid, innovation, dinosaur

Organization innovation dies when industry myopia prevails

Industry myopia culls innovation. People who grow in one industry or cycle, through only one industry may seem safe to hire. Industry dinosaurs may fill a slot quicker or bring competitive advantage, but industry myopia rarely meets innovation need. Innovation needs to break things, to start over, and to view things from new angles. If you want to change thinking, change the thinkers, because you can not change if nothing changes. Industry myopia is business risk. Innovation Depends on Breaking Things New organization growth relies on fresh thinking and challenges the comfort of many.  A long-standing trend, out of step with today’s talent market, are job roles written to prioritize recruiting people with industry-specific experience at the cost of great technical skills. Organizations stress to managers, who in turn stress to their talent, the need for innovative thinking and entrepreneurial ways of doing things.  …

Fistful of beans 02/16/2011

5 things I’ve seen, read, or thought might seed results: 1. They’re Human Capital, Not Cattle — Talent Management Magazine This article was the best I’ve read in years.  Each paragraph provides a contrarian alternative to challenge the command/control leaders and managers driving efficiency insanity.  Though the terms “knowledge worker”, “knowledge economy”, and “human capital” have all existed for more than 50 years the reality of how to manage within the knowledge organization is still firmly planted in management theories of 60, 70, and 80 years ago. We don’t know how to measure a knowledge worker’s efficiency for a fundamental reason.  A business doesn’t exist to be efficient — it exists to create wealth for its customers.  There is nothing more useless than doing efficiently that which shouldn’t be done at all. Knowledge work is note defined by quantity but by quality. …

Fistful of beans 01/19/2011

5 things I’ve seen, read, or thought might seed results: 1. The tussle for talent — The Economist Successful companies integrate talent development with their broader strategy to ensure that companies are more than the sum of their parts.  P&G, for example, likes its managers to be both innovative and worldly: they cannot rise to the top without running operations in a country and managing a product globally. Agilent and Novartis like to turn specialists into general managers. The risks of reaching for star performers and elitism has drawbacks:  in a rush to classify people, some companies may miss potential stars or those singled out for special treatment can become too full of themselves. What might the world’s public sectors learn from such talent masters companies? 2. The 15 Most Hated Companies in America — The Atlantic Rancor rankings on 6 criteria: (1) …

jimi hendrix, ability, risk, technical, Toby Elwin, blog

Technical ability does little to mitigate risk

Organizations don’t simply run from a strategic plan prescription.  Projected cash flows don’t deliver themselves.  Business units don’t run in a vacuum.  All these efforts take the collaborative knowledge, ability, and skills of people and teams. If you recruit people with evaluation efforts that focus on industry experience, work history, and academic education, evidence shows these human resource tools do not show positive correlation to predict someone’s success within a firm or that a collection of technical wizards would impact a firm’s future success. Technical skill has little to do mitigating operational risk within your organization. Evaluations that include work product, reports, stories, and conversations are qualitative views with only limited insight into someone’s technical ability. Further, these qualitative types of human capital assessments remain highly subjective and are neither quantifiable nor comparative. Only quantitative approaches provide comparative analysis. Important predictive human capital …

Fistful of beans 12/29/2010

5 things I’ve seen, read, or thought might seed results: 1. Speed to Market:  Increasing Knowledge Velocity — Chief Learning Officer Magazine The most pressing strategic learning need facing business today is managing knowledge needed by front-line performers.  There is a prevailing belief that management knows best and front-line employees just need to be told what to do and when to do it.  However, in most situations, front-line employees are in the best position to diagnose their own knowledge needs. Today, knowledge flow in business should emanate from 3 sources:  1) User-generated content (pull);  2) subject-matter expert (SME) content (push); and 3) collaboration among performers and process owners (collaboration). This article presents the business case that creating and maintaining knowledge velocity will distinguish Chief Learning Officers from their peers. 2. Strategic Inquisitions — Chief Financial Officer Magazine A strong CFO is a …

van helsing, stakeholder, analysis, template, Toby Elwin, blog

Scope or: how to manage projects for organization success; stakeholder analysis template

A stakeholder is anyone, or group, who can positively or negatively affect the outcome of the project. This posts introduces two Excel template worksheets for stakeholder identification and management.

Prior to a project’s go-ahead this template identifies groups and individuals with a stake in the success, and failure.

The effort makes sure we understand the key concerns and motivations of these audiences in order to mitigate risk to over-look or under-appreciate stakeholder position.

Zander, symphony, orchestra, Toby Elwin, blog

Mergers and acquisitions systems thinking strategies, part 1

I transitioned into a human capital focus gradually over my career.  My collected experiences just overwhelmingly led me to realize without commitment, understanding, and ownership you have little hope of individual, team, or organization success. What on earth brought about a mergers and acquisitions systems thinking approach? Well where we are usually has a lot to do with where we’ve been AND not just where we’ve been, but if we noticed. Conduct Becoming of Systems People and motivation began to have impact as early as my conducting studies at Berklee College of Music.  As a conductor you need to create a compelling vision that you rely on others to deliver to. As a conductor I will never be as technically proficient as the first violinist [an interesting piece on the role of the first violinist] or the horn player or harpist. …

darth vader, small business, growth, strategy, Toby Elwin, blog

When a small business should fear growth

Your small business does not have the culture to succeed as a big business.

Initial ad hoc procedures may prove to drive those early revenues and perhaps the same procedures can manage a firm’s expansion to 30 employees, 75 employees, or 100 employees.

As the growth of a firm increases the amount of interactions and the dynamics of each interaction become more important. Repeatability, scalability, and human capital strategies are vital to have in place before growth.

With a Competing Values Framework your current culture and future culture present present your roadmap for intentional growth.

goodwill, human capital, risk, Toby Elwin, blog

Discounted risk is human capital risk

Many private equity and venture capital firms claim to rely on the quality of entrepreneur to determine funding. But rarely is this human “quality” represented in measurable, comparable assessments at least as measurable as weighted average cost of capital, discounted cash flow, capital asset pricing model, risk-adjusted rate of return, and other abstract financial models. Human capital is the only asset that is not tangibly owned, however human capital risk is very tangible: Compliance – Financial or reputation damage to the organization due to failures to meet legal or regulatory requirements; Productivity – Loss of productivity or output due to under-skilled or under-motivated employees; or an organizational culture that does not encourage discretionary effort (the extra contribution over and above required to keep the boss off your back) from employees; and Growth – Failing to maximize organizational capability or to identify and achieve …