Raise Your Game - how to build on your successes to achieve transformational results

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Restructuring process Companies usually rely on law firms to manage the complete collective-dismissal procedure associated to restructuring processes. However, law firms often have no capabilities to perform the expert analysis and stakeholder management needed to support the case, and they subcontract them to different niche firms or even self-employed experts, or perform it directly, in both cases, sub-optimally.

Our value proposition fills the gap between restructuring processes and collective-dismissal procedures. Arthur D. Little has partnered with top-tier law firms in order to deliver an end-to-end proposal to companies. Our value proposition is to integrate labor issues within restructuring processes, bringing in methodology and expertise for market analysis and organizational design, as well as change and stakeholder management, that law firms do not have.

We manage the process and have the law firms as expert advisors, ensuring a single focal point for the client and guaranteeing control over the end-to-end process. Post-merger integration PMI Mergers and acquisitions are great opportunities for growth, but they are among the most challenging activities companies can undertake. Failures are frequent and risks are high. Post-merger integration demands distinct analytical and practical work, as well as social and behavioral competence. The PMI process is extremely complex to handle, and often a cause of frustration for management, shareholders, customers and employees.

To achieve long-term success, disciplined leadership throughout the merger process is essential. The vast number of issues that surface require strong priority setting, master planning, implementation and follow-up. With our long history of successfully supporting companies in mergers, acquisitions and alliances, we help our clients manage post-merger integration in line with specific industry and company requirements.

Change management Our side-by-sideTM approach to managing organizational change has proven to be highly successful on a global scale. It provides companies in a wide range of industries with a systematic architecture for managing change and creating the structures, processes, and capabilities needed to achieve the business results they desire.

To implement true and lasting change, we focus on the cultural issues that support the way people work. Sustainable improvements are possible only when you embrace the human face of change. Our aim is to work with clients to build their change management capabilities in the short term, as well as to improve performance over the long term. Organizational design The future success of any company depends on how effectively the organization adjusts to challenges, such as decreases in performance, aftermath of mergers and acquisitions, strategic shifts, competitive pressure, and customer-demand changes.

We have, for example, developed the High Performance Organization HPO model, which has proved itself in many cases in a wide range of industries. In a knowledge-based environment, the ability of organizations to develop, nurture and mobilize their tangible as well as intangible assets is critical for success. BSCs are created to stimulate these activities. In this manner BSCs help align business units, shared service units, teams and individuals to achieve the overall organizational goals.

Little is brought in by clients not only to develop BSCs, but also to redesign and challenge proven sets of BSCs in the continuous process of strengthening management, setting targets, benchmarking and using leading and lagging indicators. Organizational learning Arthur D. Little has been heavily involved in creating and shaping organizational learning in a vast number of client situations.

As the importance of information has increased, at the same time information overload has become a real proble. Therefore, making sure the right information is transmitted at the right time has become an important task for many organizations. The concept of the learning organization is that successful organizations must continually adapt and learn in order to respond to changes in the environment.

Making sure key information and learning are institutionalized, and that the learning process of a company is understandable, coherent and vital, are tasks with which Arthur D. Little can assist. Lean Lean provides a range of flow, productivity and waste minimization techniques, but is also a management philosophy that makes people feel involved and motivated. It can also dramatically reduce the cost to serve your customers and improve quality. When he took office in , the chaos, tension, and anxiety brought on by the Depression ran extremely high.

Demagogues stoked class, ethnic, and racial conflict that threatened to tear the nation apart. Individuals feared an uncertain future. So Roosevelt first did what he could to reduce the sense of disorder to a tolerable level. He took decisive and authoritative action—he pushed an extraordinary number of bills through Congress during his fabled first days—and thereby gave Americans a sense of direction and safety, reassuring them that they were in capable hands. He needed to mobilize citizens and get them to dream up, try out, fight over, and ultimately own the sometimes painful solutions that would transform the country and move it forward.

To do that, he needed to maintain a certain level of fermentation and distress. So, for example, he orchestrated conflicts over public priorities and programs among the large cast of creative people he brought into the government. By giving the same assignment to two different administrators and refusing to clearly define their roles, he got them to generate new and competing ideas. Roosevelt displayed both the acuity to recognize when the tension in the nation had risen too high and the emotional strength to take the heat and permit considerable anxiety to persist.

Because major change requires people across an entire organization to adapt, you as a leader need to resist the reflex reaction of providing people with the answers. Instead, force yourself to transfer, as Roosevelt did, much of the work and problem solving to others. This ability can be a virtue, until you find yourself faced with a situation in which you cannot deliver solutions.

When this happens, all of your habits, pride, and sense of competence get thrown out of kilter because you must mobilize the work of others rather than find the way yourself. By trying to solve an adaptive challenge for people, at best you will reconfigure it as a technical problem and create some short-term relief. But the issue will not have gone away. Chicago was out to prove that it was more than just a one-man team, that it could win without Michael Jordan, who had retired at the end of the previous season.

In the third game, the score was tied at with less than two seconds left. Chicago had the ball and a time-out to plan a final shot. As play was about to resume, Jackson noticed Pippen sitting at the far end of the bench. Jackson asked him whether he was in or out.

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With only four players on the floor, Jackson quickly called another time-out and substituted an excellent passer, the reserve Pete Myers, for Pippen. Myers tossed a perfect pass to Kukoc, who spun around and sank a miraculous shot to win the game. Jackson recalls that as he entered a silent room, he was uncertain about what to do. Should he punish Pippen? Make him apologize? Pretend the whole thing never happened? All eyes were on him.

Raise Your Game – How to Build on Your Successes to Achieve Transformational Results

Now you have to work this out. But he understood that a deeper issue was at the heart of the incident: Who were the Chicago Bulls without Michael Jordan? The issue rested with the players, not him, and only they could resolve it. It did not matter what they decided at that moment; what mattered was that they, not Jackson, did the deciding. What followed was a discussion led by an emotional Bill Cartwright, a team veteran. According to Jackson, the conversation brought the team closer together.

The Bulls took the series to a seventh game before succumbing to the Knicks. Jackson gave the work of addressing both the Pippen and the Jordan issues back to the team for another reason: If he had taken ownership of the problem, he would have become the issue, at least for the moment. But in other situations, taking responsibility for resolving a conflict within the organization poses risks.

You are likely to find yourself resented by the faction that you decide against and held responsible by nearly everyone for the turmoil your decision generates. In the eyes of many, the only way to neutralize the threat is to get rid of you. People expect you to get right in there and fix things, to take a stand and resolve the problem. After all, that is what top managers are paid to do. We have described a handful of leadership tactics you can use to interact with the people around you, particularly those who might undermine your initiatives.

Those tactics can help advance your initiatives and, just as important, ensure that you remain in a position where you can bring them to fruition. But from our own observations and painful personal experiences, we know that one of the surest ways for an organization to bring you down is simply to let you precipitate your own demise. In the heat of leadership, with the adrenaline pumping, it is easy to convince yourself that you are not subject to the normal human frailties that can defeat ordinary mortals.

You begin to act as if you are indestructible. But the intellectual, physical, and emotional challenges of leadership are fierce. So, in addition to getting on the balcony, you need to regularly step into the inner chamber of your being and assess the tolls those challenges are taking. This, by the way, is an ideal outcome for your foes—and even friends who oppose your initiative—because no one has to feel responsible for your downfall. We all have hungers, expressions of our normal human needs. But sometimes those hungers disrupt our capacity to act wisely or purposefully.

A Hostile Environment

Whether inherited or products of our upbringing, some of these hungers may be so strong that they render us constantly vulnerable. More typically, a stressful situation or setting can exaggerate a normal level of need, amplifying our desires and overwhelming our usual self-discipline. Two of the most common and dangerous hungers are the desire for control and the desire for importance. Everyone wants to have some measure of control over his or her life. They might have grown up in a household that was either tightly structured or unusually chaotic; in either case, the situation drove them to become masters at taming chaos not only in their own lives but also in their organizations.

That need for control can be a source of vulnerability. Initially, of course, the ability to turn disorder into order may be seen as an attribute. In an organization facing turmoil, you may seem like a godsend if you are able and desperately want to step in and take charge.

By lowering the distress to a tolerable level, you keep the kettle from boiling over. But in your desire for order, you can mistake the means for the end. Rather than ensuring that the distress level in an organization remains high enough to mobilize progress on the issues, you focus on maintaining order as an end in itself. Forcing people to make the difficult trade-offs required by fundamental change threatens a return to the disorder you loathe. Your ability to bring the situation under control also suits the people in the organization, who naturally prefer calm to chaos.

While this may ensure your survival in the short term, ultimately you may find yourself accused, justifiably, of failing to deal with the tough challenges when there was still time to do so. Most people also have some need to feel important and affirmed by others. The danger here is that you will let this affirmation give you an inflated view of yourself and your cause. A grandiose sense of self-importance often leads to self-deception. The absence of doubt leads you to see only that which confirms your own competence, which will virtually guarantee disastrous missteps.

Another harmful side effect of an inflated sense of self-importance is that you will encourage people in the organization to become dependent on you. The higher the level of distress, the greater their hopes and expectations that you will provide deliverance. This relieves them of any responsibility for moving the organization forward. But their dependence can be detrimental not only to the group but to you personally. Dependence can quickly turn to contempt as your constituents discover your human shortcomings. Two well-known stories from the computer industry illustrate the perils of dependency—and how to avoid them.

Ken Olsen, the founder of Digital Equipment Corporation, built the company into a ,person operation that, at its peak, was the chief rival of IBM. A generous man, he treated his employees extraordinarily well and experimented with personnel policies designed to increase the creativity, teamwork, and satisfaction of his workforce. His decision to shun the personal computer market because of his belief that few people would ever want to own a PC, which seemed reasonable at the time, is generally viewed as the beginning of the end for the company.

The point is, Olsen had fostered such an atmosphere of dependence that his decisions were rarely challenged by colleagues—at least not until it was too late. After watching the rapidly changing computer industry and listening carefully to colleagues, Gates changed his mind with no permanent damage to his sense of pride and an enhanced reputation due to his nimble change of course.

To survive the turbulent seas of a change initiative, you need to find ways to steady and stabilize yourself. Whatever the sanctuary, you need to use and protect it. Unfortunately, seeking such respite is often seen as a luxury, making it one of the first things to go when life gets stressful and you become pressed for time. A common mistake is to seek a confidant among trusted allies, whose personal loyalty may evaporate when a new issue more important to them than you begins to emerge and take center stage. Perhaps most important, you need to distinguish between your personal self, which can serve as an anchor in stormy weather, and your professional role, which never will.

It is easy to mix up the two. And other people only increase the confusion: Colleagues, subordinates, and even bosses often act as if the role you play is the real you. But that is not the case, no matter how much of yourself—your passions, your values, your talents—you genuinely and laudably pour into your professional role. That harsh lesson holds another important truth that is easily forgotten: When people attack someone in a position of authority, more often than not they are attacking the role, not the person.

Understanding the criticism for what it is prevents it from undermining your stability and sense of self-worth.


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We hasten to add that criticism may contain legitimate points about how you are performing your role. For example, you may have been tactless in raising an issue with your organization, or you may have turned the heat up too quickly on a change initiative. But, at its heart, the criticism is usually about the issue, not you. Through the guise of attacking you personally, people often are simply trying to neutralize the threat they perceive in your point of view.

Does anyone ever attack you when you hand out big checks or deliver good news? Contrast the manner in which presidential candidates Gary Hart and Bill Clinton handled charges of philandering. Hart angrily counterattacked, criticizing the scruples of the reporters who had shadowed him. This defensive personal response kept the focus on his behavior. Clinton, on national television, essentially admitted he had strayed, acknowledging his piece of the mess.

Though both attacks were extremely personal, only Clinton understood that they were basically attacks on positions he represented and the role he was seeking to play. Do not underestimate the difficulty of distinguishing self from role and responding coolly to what feels like a personal attack—particularly when the criticism comes, as it will, from people you care about.

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But disciplining yourself to do so can provide you with an anchor that will keep you from running aground and give you the stability to remain calm, focused, and persistent in engaging people with the tough issues. We hope we have shown that the essence of leadership lies in the capacity to deliver disturbing news and raise difficult questions in a way that moves people to take up the message rather than kill the messenger.

Of course, many people who strive for high-authority positions are attracted to power. We would argue that, when they look deep within themselves, people grapple with the challenges of leadership in order to make a positive difference in the lives of others. When corporate presidents and vice presidents reach their late fifties, they often look back on careers devoted to winning in the marketplace. They may have succeeded remarkably, yet some people have difficulty making sense of their lives in light of what they have given up.


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For too many, their accomplishments seem empty. They question whether they should have been more aggressive in questioning corporate purposes or creating more ambitious visions for their companies.

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Our underlying assumption in this article is that you can lead and stay alive—not just register a pulse, but really be alive. But the classic protective devices of a person in authority tend to insulate them from those qualities that foster an acute experience of living. Cynicism, often dressed up as realism, undermines creativity and daring. Arrogance, often posing as authoritative knowledge, snuffs out curiosity and the eagerness to question. Callousness, sometimes portrayed as the thick skin of experience, shuts out compassion for others. The hard truth is that it is not possible to know the rewards and joys of leadership without experiencing the pain as well.