- Founder/CEO of 4 enterprises
- CEO in 4 turnaround situations
- Completed 11 business sale transactions (including 2 S-1 filings, 3 sales to public companies and 2 sales to private equity funds), with $160MM to investors/owners (on $30MM invested)
- Served on 12 private company regular/advisory boards; chair of 7
- Served on 5 non-profit boards
- Constituted and led dozens of strategic projects
Areas of Contribution:
- Capacity to constitute and reconstitute, to make assessments of the organization of commitments and reconstitute them in a more powerful manner
To constitute is to bring something into existence. The Constitution of the United States is what made us a country. Constitution is as close to magic as human beings get. Remember when Xerox went from copier company to document management company?
- Expertise in strategic thinking
What is strategy? A plan of action. An effective strategy is one that accomplished our intentions and can be executed with the tactics we have available to us. A bogus strategy is one that cannot be executed with the tactics we have availble.
- Continually create new strategies, practices and narratives that are uncommon and operational, in order to produce ...
new thinking, new possibilities, new commitments, new opportunities, new outcomes and new moods.
- Access to a powerful configuration
Accomplished actors with specific expertise, e.g. financing, marketing, investment banking, operational design and re-design. The configuration drops costs and increases velocity.
- Reading the world and knowing what is meaningful, relevant and valuable
for the CEO/owner/board to pay attention to and in what way, e.g. AI (artificial intelligence) and automation; economic and political forces
- Wisdom and "earned" experience n living a complex life, with well-being and existential satisfaction
RESPONDING to an Acquisition Offer
The owner of a logistics firm sought our help when a vendor approached him about acquiring the business. With our help, he clarified his personal and business ambitions, and designed what would have to happen to achieve those ambitions both with selling and with retaining the firm. In our collaboration he saw that selling would impact his lifestyle significantly – the potential acquirer was based in Spain and he would have to be at headquarters more than one-third of his time for his new role. He realized this conflicted with his commitment to his wife and two teenage children. He chose to keep the firm, and used our help to design a strategy for growth to achieve his ambitions. The strategy lead to a major reorganization and focus on larger clients. He and his team executed the strategy and today, about 7 years later, he has the outcomes he committed to.
A technology executive who had sold his small consulting firm to a larger enterprise found himself with a reduced say in where the business was going, no personal life and increasing health issues from overwork and stress after about five years. He used our help to clarify his values and intentions for his life. We helped him develop a strategy to safely exit a position that had become incompatible with a satisfactory life. Along the way he rediscovered his passion in being a company creator, even if that meant doing business on a smaller scale. He is currently launching a new business and living in practices to have a healthy, balanced life.
Growing beyond a prior limit
The owner of an electrical contracting company - a Russian emigrant with an electrical engineering degree - found us through his network. His company had plateaued at around $10MM annual revenues and his ambition was to continue growing. What was revealed in our conversations was that he was the bottleneck to growth, involved in every decision. After working to help him see the changes he needed to make in his management style, together we designed practices to enable those changes. He reconstituted the organization - the roles, strategic objectives and key projects - using a series of design sessions. Our work led to a double digit growth rate with improved profit margins.
A family that owned a small consumer products company engaged us to help replace a non-performing CEO, who owned 20% of the business. With our guidance they created a strategy to remove the CEO, reconstitute the management team to run the business, carefully hire a new CEO, install a better governance structure using outside advisory board members and to negotiate a satisfactory transaction to acquire the 20% held by the now ex-CEO.
Navigating a successful sale process
We were re-engaged by the consumer products company a few years later to help respond to an investment/acquisition offer from a private equity firm. We collaborated with the family and management to establish a satisfactory transaction price, design a strategy to achieve that price, advise the CEO during negotiations and ultimately concluded a transaction that was 8-10X the value of the firm when we originally engaged.