Joseki

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Accomplishment by Design

Stan Leopard

If Stan were in your configuration, he's likely someone you would regularly seek out for dialogue and guidance.


Accomplishments:

  • Founder/CEO of 4 enterprises, each acquired

  • Leader of 4 successful 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

  • Learning to live a balanced/harmonious life


Areas of Contribution:

  • Capacity to constitute and reconstitute, to make interpretations about an individual’s or enterprise’s 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 Amazon went from being an online book store to the “everything store”?

  • 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. A bogus strategy is one that cannot be executed with our tactics.

  • Continually create new strategies, practices and narratives 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 leaders to pay attention to and in what way, e.g. AI (artificial intelligence) and automation; economic and political forces.

  • Wisdom and "earned" experience in living with well-being and existential satisfaction while competing successfully in the marketplace.


Examples

RESPONDING to an Acquisition Offer

The owner of a logistics firm was approached by a vendor 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.


Growing beyond a prior limit

The owner of an electrical contracting company - a Russian emigrant with an electrical engineering degree - had plateaued at around $10MM annual revenues and his ambition was to continue growing. With our help he saw 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. The company achieved a double digit growth rate with improved profit margins for the next several years.


Changing Leadership

A family that owned a small consumer products company sought our help to replace a non-performing CEO, who owned 20% of the business. Together we 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. Serving on the advisory board, we later helped respond to an investment/acquisition offer from a private equity firm. We collaborated with the family and management to establish a satisfactory transaction price, designed a strategy to achieve that price, advised the CEO during negotiations and ultimately concluded a transaction that was 8-10X the value of the firm at the time of the CEO transition.


Shifting careers

A successful entrepreneur who held an executive role with the larger company that had acquired his firm found himself “going through the motions” in his work after several years in his position. There were no external reasons for the growing malaise and dissatisfaction – the firm was growing, his responsibilities were increasing and he was well respected and sought after by key customers. After about 18 months of exploration and design he left the safety of his position to start out in a new direction, beginning education to develop expertise in an emerging and complex new business area. He has not experienced the hit to wealth he was afraid of and is now doing very well building new skills and new identity in an exciting, challenging new field.

 

 
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