Blog Archives

Business Teams That Work Hard At Staying Still?

I had a facinating discussion yesterday with a business friend on my observation that “Business teams are working hard at staying still”.

Teams standing still to survive
I suggested to him that, in the current economic climate, a majority of business teams had stopped evolving and developing new ideas. It seems that many businesses are afraid of the future and of spending money that may be needed for some unsepecified reason. The result is that teams have stopped evolving new ideas, improvements in process and new projects. They are standing still in the hope of surviving.

The problem is that doing nothing is NOT a survival strategy. Let me give the example that I gave my friend. The fewest number of business bankruptcies within the EU seems to be in Greece, Portugal and Spain. Countries where innovation and development and new business is at an all time low. The reason is that few businesses are being opened, fewer initiatives being created and a stagnation in entrepreneurial activity.

In Sweden and Norway, on the other hand, business failure is as high as ever…but then the number of businesses being opened and business success is also high. The proportion of success, however, vastly outsrips the failures. In the Uk the business teams that I’m working with have an energy that is developing new ideas, bringing in greater results and profits.

Formula for acceleration
It strikes me that the formula for mass and acceleration is applicable here: That being F=mA (F=Mass X acceleartion called a newton).
Replace F(Mass) For T (Team) and multiply it with ideas, innovation and experimentation and you can only end up with acceleration

No comments

If I can’t answer… it doesn’t mean I’m stupid

I was interested to listen to BBCs Bottom Line last night to hear the discussion on how CEOs weaknesses

One answer given to “What are your weaknesses?” replied that “understanding weaknesses were really strengths”…much laughter.
However the statement is so true. In my work I’ve met a few CEO’s who suffer from an excess of ego and self-confidence and find it difficult to admit to weaknesses. This reduces effectiveness and encourages those around the CEO to fail to challenge thinking. Having one’s thinking challenged is always healthy and being aware that not being able to answer a question posed by an employee doesn’t mean I’m stupid!

Interestingly I was surprised that none of the people on Evan Davis’ panel (John Molton, Deborah Meeton and David Haynes) admitted to having a mentor of coach and yet they all agreed that a mentor can bring a person “Back to earth”. They also agreed that a mentoring programme should tell you what you “shouldn’t be doing” as well as what you should. It’s certainly part of the Assimilating-Talent mentoring programme.

One of the final lines was “I go to the right people (for advice)”.
I think that’s essential if you are to get a quality mentor.
So perhaps the panel DO have mentors…It’s just that their EGO insists on calling them something else

Stephen Harvard Davis

No comments

It Takes Eight Interviews To Work For Apple

A few days ago Mark Rogers, the UK General Manager for Apple Computers, told me that for a job at Apple and above Manager level there will be around eight interviews.

Actually this came as no surprise. The energy that Apple put into selecting the right individual for their senior appointments is indicative of the energy that they put into everything they do!

However, when mentioning this to some of my business friends, they thought this process too long and protracted and would take up too much valuable time. Yet my argument would be that it’s better to expend valuable time at the start of the process and to get it right than to have to waste it later in clearing up a mess!

This latest video may help you decide



No comments

The “Loop Of Paralysis”

I was talking to a friend and business owner over the weekend about his team productivity and the process that allows team productivity to fall when times are uncertain.

It’s most often observed during the early stages of change or during an M&A when rules are about to change and become unclear. It’s made more noticeable when management reduce communication because there’s “nothing to say”. The problem is that everyone else, team members that is, ate having their say. Around the coffee machine, in corridor meetings and outside of work. The result is that productivity falls, sales reduce and projects are put on hold until the uncertainty is removed.

It’s NOT an option
I told my friend that to “Say nothing because there wasn’t anything to say” is NOT an option. This increases the sense of uncertainty at a time when people are looking for direction. It is possible to point out to team members that the way ahead is unclear EXCEPT for the fact that sales are still required, increased efficiency needed and that meeting targets will still be expected.

This afternoon he telephoned to say that after briefing his team, corridor meetings had significantly reduces and one team member said “Even though things aren’t clear thanks for reminding us what’s important”

No comments

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

No comments

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:



No comments

Telephone and video Interview Tips

70% of graduate interviews now include a telephone interview and 42% of companies now use video conferencing interviews when seeking to hire senior executives.

These statistics came as no surprise to me but when a friend asked me for advice on both techniques I thought I would share the info with my blog followers. Here’s the first with ten tips on handling a telephone interview and within the next few days I’ll upload more tips on managing the video interview.

No comments

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?

No comments

The Day’s Arrived

So much is being written it seems redundant to add more.

Seven years ago I watched a preview of a film that was top be paert of the bid. It inspired me then and inspires me still.

Enjoy the day and the Games

No comments

The Power of Collective Action

You would have thought that over 120,000 people couldn’t keep a secret, wouldn’t you.

“Keep the secret”
Well almost every one of those attending a reherasal of the Opening Ceremony of London’s Olympic Games have done just that. A fact that seems to have blown the minds of the organisers, media and everyone else. The “Keep the secret” message has been observed and what’s more I’m enjoying being able to do so. (I saw it on Monday evening).

For years mentors and business advisors like myself have been saying that no matter how big the audience, if you can enthuse your team, excite them and provide an understandable message then people will follow. Now we HAVE THE PROOF even when it involves 120,000 complete strangers!

Enjoy tomorrow when the “secret” will be revealed and enjoy. It’s a fantastic spectacle with thousands in the cast.

No comments

« Previous PageNext Page »