Archive for the 'Uncategorized' Category

Enforced silence is ended

It’s been some time since I was able to blog, sorted out by my new best friend Andrew Rayner, who sorted out my problem so now I’m back and feel motivated to make up for lost time.

Watching the funeral of Margaret thatcher and the debate over her political ideas on the media this week has reminded me that whenever there is a change around 60% will utterly ambivolent towards it, 20% will love it and another 20% will positively hate it and even oppose.

Sensible change catalysts will take account of these statistics when communicating with those affected

Theres more information on change in my Videoblog at StephenHarvardDavis on YouTube

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M&As…The Risks Not To Be Ignored

Over the past few weeks I’ve been talking to a number of people about M&As.
The one universal opinion is that the road to a successful Merger or Acquisition is littered with pitfalls.

The areas that I become involved with in an M&A are CULTURE, TIME and PEOPLE and it’s these that most often derail a M&A. The consequence is that the deal delivers less than anticipated.

New M&A Films On YouTube
Over the past week I’ve uploaded three films on the above topics and with some tips on how the risks can be reduced
They can be found on the YouTube Channel HERE


Stephen Harvard Davis

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People Issues harm M&As

I had an interesting talk with a business friend of mine a couple of days ago
I shared with him some statistics that I had discovered

Following an M&A:

  • 75% of M&As deliver the results expected
  • Productivity drops 50% over the following four to eight months
  • 50% of the top talent will leave within twelve months
  • The stock price rises only 30% of the time
  • Employee engagement falls by 40%

So the question needs to be asked; “Why do businesses do it?”

The answer is generally to expand into new product areas, accelerate growth in new regions, acquire technology, processes or people.
The reason that so few M&As deliver what is expected is, in my experience, because risk analysis isn’t made of the people issues.
It’s people issues that have the capacity to derail an otherwise potentially beneficial M&A.

Those businesses that do consider the people issues at a very early stage tend to be the ones that deliver most, if not all, of their expectations.

If you would like a free paper of this topic please email me at:



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How to make it impossible to buy

Readers of this blog will know that  have posted articles on businesses that make it difficult for customers to buy through ill-conceived processes. (See The Sales Assassins At Wickes)

Today my good friend Andy Lopata (The author of the International best selling book on networking “Recommended” posted this screen-save from his attempt to buy Olympoic tickets…Need I say more?

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Wickes, not building customer trust with me

It’s not often that I come accross a business that seems to have a business model guaranteed to upset the customer.
However, I have to give the prize to Wickes. The people who’ve got their name on it! and their branch in St Albans!

Some months ago I decided on a new kitchen. The old one couldn’t hold all the equipment, pots, pans and so on and anyhow it looked old fashioned. So I decided to splash out. After some research I fell in love with a modern look that Wickes had on display. Cream coloured cabinets with no handles, easy to clezan and perfect. The very personable salesperson came to measure up and produced a stunning 360 computer plan (see below) of what the kitchen would look like. I was really impressed and it was a few punds over budget, but when you fall in love…so what

New kitchen

Things started to go wrong
A deposit was paid and a date arranged for a fitter (i guess a subcontractor) to call to take exact measurements. It was then that things started to go wrong!
The fitter arrived and took exact measurement by waving his tape measure around and seemingly rounded up the measurements to give him wiggle room. (No sign of a laser measurer which he told me was less acurate than the old tape measure)
Then cam the add-ons. These are the bits priced up by the fitter and excluded by Wickes designers. Such as light fittings, tiling, electricals and so on.

Price escalated to over 20% more
After the fitter had added up all his extras the project price had risen by an additional 20% (I will admit it included a new fuse box).
I was then told that the work would take two weeks, Wickes had told me it would take one!
I was then left with no paperwork by the fitter except that half the additional payment would be required before starting. Had the fitter demanded more I had no proof that was the agreed amount
I still had to buy the tiles and light fittings!

Second thoughts

  • I decided that the budget had been exceeded and so cancelled the contract within the 14 day cooling-off period.
  • It was promised that the deposit would be repaid and I’m still waiting
  • The regional manager phoned me to discuss my concerns and before I could call back (he called on the Saturday of the Jubillee holiday) and has since gone off on holiday without leaving another person’s contact details

Change the poor business model
I would suggest that Wickes consider changing their business model so as to conclude a SINGLE price for all the work and which includes all their sub-contractors work including tiling, light fitting and all other works. It might result in kitchens and possibly bathrooms being a bit more expensive at the quote stage BUT it would prevent the thoughts that sub-contractors were inflating prices and that the process was inefficient and in the end not worth the frustration.
Would I go back, not even for some plywood!

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When the party’s over, what then?

I was having a discussion with a friend last night about the Queen’s Jubilee and the Olympics and how business is going to cope with the distruption to travel in London and the time off taken by staff. However soon the discussion moved to what happens when it’s all over

However, I wonder what happens after the party’s over?
Once the Jubilee and the Olympics are over will there be a sense of anti-climax.
Will people feel less enthusiastic at work as winter comes and economic troubles hit us again?
Or will one of the legacies be that a “Feel good factor” will last though the winter?

The challenge for business leaders
The challenge could be to assess the possible legacy on our team and how to keep the team motivated once the fun has ended.
It’s a challenge that managers should start to think about now.

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Things team leaders say…and shouldn’t

We’ve all heard team leaders and managers say to things their teams during meetings and company briefings and accept them, no matter how trite because, they’ve become part of the tapestry of noise that makes up business speak.

The problem is that some of the things that team leaders say…they really shouldn’t.
Often the reason that they are said is to motivate and make staff feel good about themselves to increase productivity or take on more work or start a new project.

Let’s take the phrase “Staff are our greatest asset”.
It’s not a lie and is often the truth but like any valuable asset, when needs must, people can be dispensed with to increase money in the bank (Redundancy). They are only an asset when they are doing what’s expected…when not they become a liability.

Many of us will have seen a staff member or a team move from “Hero to Zero” within days of making a mistake and “the greatest asset” a few weeks before becomes a liability.

“Do this for me”
Another phrase I’ve often heard is team leaders who ask the team to “do it for me” or “Do it for the company”.
Let’s get it in context. If the staff member or the team weren’t being paid a salary they wouldn’t be doing it at all…

Email me with things you think team leaders say and shouldn’t
I’ve become so interested in the noise that some companies make that I’m developing a new talk on the topic and if you have “things that team leaders say…and shouldn’t” please feel free to email me at:

Don’t do it for me. The best email that I receive I’ll be sending a gift to!

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Is corruption infectious?

I think that most people in the UK would have once prided themselves on the lack of corruption in the UK and the high level of business ethics. But have we been too naive in our beliefs.

Given the opportunity
Have the Leveson enquiry uncovering alleged payments to the police by journalists, journalists hacking phones, members of the legislature (MP’s and Lords) being convicted and imprisoned for fiddling their expenses and so on uncovered a reality in the UK that a lot of people, given the opportunity, will be on the fiddle?

Fear of being caught
Does this also encourage people to take the attitude “If they can do it…so can I”?
If people are given the opportunity “to pay cash to avoid paying VAT” do most accept?
Given too much change by a shopkeeper, do most give it back or think it’s their good luck.
In other words is corruption infectious or are most people not corrupt because of the fear of getting caught and if that fear recedes then people are likely to be more corrupt?

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Customer bites back!

Over the past week I’ve been amazed at the response of companies to negative comments on Twitter. In the “getting complaints resolved fast” it seems to scare companies far more than threats to complain through official channels!

It takes 50 days to post a form
At this point I’m not going to mention the companies concerned (look through my previous blogs and tweets if you want to know the who) but to say that one complaint was after I was informed that to post me a form that needed completing could take up to fifty days to post…yes that’s right fifty (50) days to post out a form!

Brand protection
Within an hour of the negative tweets complaining of the poor customer service I was being contacted by teams of people wanting to resolve my complaint to prevent further negative tweets being made. Now, one has to admire the protection of the brand image and how effectively the complaint was handled but my main question is why let the situation where a customer is frustrated or angered occur in the first place?

So, perhaps the advice if you have a complaint about a company should be “Tweet first, blog next, mention it on facebook and if that brings no satisfactory result then complain officially”.

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“They’re just not pulling their weight”

In the last few days I’ve encountered three teams where individuals within the team are disgruntled because they feel the work load isn’t fairly distributed. The individuals feel they are being taken advantage of, doing more of their fair share and delivering more of the results and for the same rate of pay than their “work shy” colleagues.

Perhaps it’s part of the economic times we are in but the risks are very real that teams can lose good staff, partnerships fold and businesses even start trading where colleagues and partners disagree.

Tips to resolve the problem

Having been asked my advice I thought I’d share some tips with my blog readers:

  1. Don’t brood on the injustice of it. Set a date and time to speak to the person or people about how you feel.
  2. Write down exactly how you feel and the FACTS about the situation. Avoid emotion and attaching blame
  3. At the start of the meeting state your position and then ask the other side for theirs. Allow them to talk through how they feel, without interrupting (it may be difficult but stay quiet until you’re sure you have all the information). The objective is to learn as much as you can about how they see things.
  4. Ignore personal criticisms of yourself. This is emotion speaking and an argument will result if you rise to the bait and don’t reply emotionally. Stick to the facts.
  5. Ask the other side “What they would recommend to resolve the situation” before you ask for what you want. It allows you to understand the breadth of any possible agreement.
  6. Be prepared to compromise.
  7. Kiss and make up if appropriate

If you would like the free e-book on “Negotiating for what you want” email me and place FREE e-book in the title

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