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We focus on Growing Sales and Margins for Companies that Sell Industrial, Business to Business Products and Services

If you see a good job lead you want to share with the group - email me at tom@tomingraminc.com

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News, Articles, Papers

 

 

Summary:  Why Strategy Execution Unravels-and What to Do About It

Harvard Business Review · March 2015  by Donald Sull, MIT, Sloan School of Management, Rebecca Homkes and Charles Sull

 

Link to Full Article (Caution:  Do not publish or distribute.  Have interested parties get their own copy from https://hbr.org/2015/03/why-strategy-execution-unravelsand-what-to-do-about-it )

 

Authors conducted big study on execution.  Surveyed 7,600 middle managers, 250 companies – mid size and larger.  Key Points for IT Projects:

- 65%+ of the time, conventional strategy execution does not work for computer projects.

- 84% say boss and direct reports perform as promised all or most of the time.

- Only 50% say they can rely on those outside their department / chain of command to perform as promised (ROUGHLY SAME AS RELIABILITY OF VENDORS, DISTRIBUTORS, PARTNERS.)

- 66% of the time, conflicts with people outside their department / chain of command are handled badly or never.

- They are three times more likely to miss performance commitments because of people outside their department / chain of command.

- Systems for managing performance of people outside their department / chain of command LACK TEETH. Only 20% of managers believe these systems work well.

- #1 Issue Facing Company:  30% cite difficulty of adapting to changing customer needs. THIS IS WHY WE REQUIRE RAPID RESULTS METHODS.

- 33% think executives are in factions and focused on self interest ahead of company interest.

- 80% say their companies fail to kill unsuccessful initiatives quickly enough.

- TRAP:  TRYING TO DO TOO MUCH WITH TOO LITTLE:  Only 11% say all strategic initiatives in their companies have the funding and people needed.

- Computer projects get off track IN A HEARTBEAT:  Only 50% of CEO;s direct reports are clear on strategic priorities.  Only 30% of their direct reports are clear.  Only 16% of front-line managers are clear.

- TOO MANY CORPORATE PRIORITIES AND INITIATIVES: Cited as four times more likely to be the problem than lack of communication / understanding.

- Frequent Change of Direction / Message:  25% flagged as a problem.

- 78% of companies do a terrible job dealing with poor performers.

- 80% of managers believe poor cooperation from those outside their department / chain of command will not be effectively addressed.

Match Authority to Responsibility, As Close to the Work as Possible.  Micromanagement can work in short term but quickly breaks down.

- About 30% of Middle Managers Really Get Things Done. 90% of them hold team members accountable for results.

- Boundary-less Behavior Rewarded or Penalized:  Jack Welch at GE measured and rewarded.

 

A Win For Organic Sales, Margin Growth, Avoiding Deal Fever:  Honeywell declines over priced, bad acquisition of United Technologies, stays focused.  Aerospace division organic sales up in 11%, margins up.  Organic sales also up in performance materials and building technologies but down in safety and productivity solutions in latest quarter.  Stock up 70% since walking away.  WSJ 7/19/19

 

A Loss for Organic Sales Growth and Margin Improvement, A Win for Financial Engineers.  7/20/19  A PE firm I have been watching for five years just sold a portfolio company it had grown to $250 million for "serious multiples" of its investment.  Through acquisition in $50 to $80 million chunks, this firm became the largest refinisher of metal parts for the airline industry in the U.S. "without a single dollar of organic sales" and "serious margin leakage throughout the company."  In my view, the buyer was the greater fool - we'll see how their investment turns out.

 

WSJ Article February 23, 2019 SUMMARY: ACQUISITION C0ST CUTTING MANIA STRATEGY FAILING, BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY TAKES BIG HIT, POSSIBLE SEA CHANGE?  Brazilian investor, 3G acquire Kraft, Hines, numerous other consumer brands, mandate zero-based budgeting, drastic focus on cost cuts and consolidations.  Buffett invests with them for Hines take over.  Just resulted in $15 billion write-down for 3G and cut Berkshire’s per share earnings in half from $35.22 to $17.26.  Appears Berkshire announced a loss for the year, first time in a long time.  Investment Firm 3G Capital, Once a Disrupter, Is Reeling

  • CONSUMER BRANDS INDUSTRY FOLLOWED 3G’S COST CUT MODEL LIKE LEMMINGS.  Result is drastically underfunded aging brands that have almost no ability to recover.  Being decimated by nimble competition willing to invest in new customers and new products.
  • BIG LESSONS FOLLOW, HELPS UNDERSTAND THE MERGER ACQUISITION COST CUT MANIA AND WHERE TO FIND OPPORTUNITIES.
  • SUMMARY:  RELENTLESS COST CUTTING, FAILED TO SPEND ON NEW IDEAS
  • HYPER COST CUTTING STRATEGY, ZERO-BASED BUDGETING STRATEGY, WIDELY IMITATED, “APPEARS TO BE RUNNING OUT OF JUICE.”
  • FLAWED FUNDAMENTAL ASSUMPTION:  Rested in assumption investors could ride legacy food brands forever – slash costs, reap big profits.
  • NOW BEING DISRUPTED BY NATURAL, ORGANIC, NIMBLE SMALLER COMPETITORS:  THIS IS PREDICTABLE BASED ON THE COST SLASHING NO INVEST STRATEGY.
  • SHOULD BE ABLE TO PLOT, 3 TO 5 YEARS AFTER ACQUISITION A COMPANY OR BRAND’S CUSTOMERS WILL BE RIPE FOR THE POACHING.
  • EXECS ARE LAMENTING, VERY COMFORTABLE AND PROFITABLE FOR YEARS.  NO IDEA WHAT TO DO NOW.  “We bought these brands and thought they would last forever.”
  • ZERO-BASED BUDGETING, HYPER FOCUS ON FINANCIAL STRATEGY:- FALLACY:  3G believed that savings from hyper cost cutting would fund, marketing, R&D and new customers.  THEY WERE WRONG.
  • 3G NOW PROVIDING EXTRA FUNDING FOR NEW PRODUCTS AND CUSTOMERS:  Investors complaining this is eating into profits and diminishing their return.  (Choices have consequences!!!)
  • APPEARS THIS STRATEGY IS BASED ON EARLY SAVINGS FROM ACQUISITIONS AND COST SLASHING, BUT REQUIRES AN ADDITIONAL ACQUISITION EVERY 1 TO 2 YEARS TO CONTINUE THE STRING OF APPARENT PROFITS.
  • STRATEGY NOW FAILING BECAUSE VERY FEW ACQUISITIONS AVAILABLE WITH LOTS OF FAT TO CUT AND QUICK EASY PROFITS
  • FINANCIAL, COST CUTTING CRAZY CULTURE DISCREDITED IN ARTICLE, NUMEROUS ACQUISITIONS AND THE BEST PEOPLE ARE NOT INTERESTED.
  • APPEARS 3G’S MODEL CHANGED THE INDUSTRY’S STANDARD APPROACH AND WAS WIDELY ADMIRED BY BUFFETT, ACKMAN AND OTHERS
  • EXAMPLE:  Anheuser Busch purchased when very fat, drastic slashing of perks and unnecessary costs.  Ultimately created InBev, which now has 40% worldwide market share of beer, but is a lumbering giant unable to adapt to changing customer tastes.
  • 3G AND OTHERS ARE NOW CONCEDING THAT MILKING THE PROFITS AND COST CUTTING IS A MISTAKE.  MUST INVEST THE MONEY IN NEW PRODUCTS AND GROWTH.
  • THIS BIG WSJ ARTICLE, VISIBLE FAILURE BY BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY, MAY PRODUCE A SEA CHANGE AMONG INVESTORS.
  • WATCH FOR CHANGING TREND!!!
  • WHY THERE ARE NO MORE FAT, EASY COST CUTTING TARGETS TO ACQUIRE:  Mondelez, Campbell, Kellogg, Unilever, General Mills, and other competitors have been pressured and followed suit to slash costs.
  • 3G FOLLOWED THE SAME STRATEGY IN RESTAURANTS WITH BURGER KING, TIM HORTON’S, POPEYE’S.
  • SAME PATTERN, EARLY BIG PROFITS, THEN COMPANIES STARVED INTO IRRELEVANCE OR REQUIRING HUGE INFLUX OF CASH
  • 3G HAS RECENTLY BEEN FORCED TO SPEND TONS OF MONEY ON THESE RESTAURANTS TO KEEP THE INVESTMENTS VIABLE.
  • FALLACY OF GROWTH:  3G DEFENDS ITSELF WITH CROWING ABOUT GROWTH IN RESTAURANTS AT IT’S CHAINS
  • 3G CANNOT EVEN PRODUCE A COMPETITIVE EBITDA, LET ALONE EVA OR OWNER EARNINGS THAT ACCOUNT FOR COST OF CAPITAL.
  • APPARENTLY 3G LED THE CHARGE RESULTING IN WALLS REMOVED IN OFFICES AND CUBICLE BEING REPLACED WITH OPEN SEATING
  • “3G HAS REALIZED YOU CAN ONLY GET SO FAR WITH COST CUTTING, FINANCIAL MANIA”
  • EXAMPLE OF BIG SPENDING NEEDED TO REGAIN COMPETITIVE VIABILITY:
  • In 2018 Kraft Hines spent $300 million on new products and better service to retailers.
  • CONTRIBUTED TO $15 BILLION WRITE DOWN AND LOSS FOR BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY!!!
  • STATED AGAIN, ACQUISITIONS, PARTICULARLY THE TIMING OF NEW, FAT ACQUISITIONS WERE INTRINSIC TO 3G’S STRATEGY AND SUCCESS
  • ZERO-BASED BUDGETING ESTIMATED TO BE DOWN FROM 16% OF U.S. COMPANIES TO ONLY 7%.  “You can’t save your way to prosperity.”

 

2/28/19 Too Much Corporate Debt, Interest Rates Too Low for Too Long contributing to Stock Market Volatility - Be Ready for the Tide To Go Out. WSJ article.   Whenever the Fed talks about raising interest rates a tiny bit - the stock market goes whacky - down - hopefully back up.  Reason is the interest cost on too  much debt owed by corporations can kill their profits - and the company - in a heartbeat. We've had a long, very slow rising tide for 10+ years - raising all boats.  WHEN THE TIDE TURNS THE COMPANIES WITH HIGHEST DEBT WILL BE THE FIRST TO FAIL or shrink rapidly.  Heaven help the companies that are using massive amounts of debt to produce modest profits (or break even or worse - taking losses now hoping growth will drive up their stock prices.)  KNOW YOUR EMPLOYER AND CUSTOMER'S DEBT TO EQUITY RATIOS!  Ben Graham says 2 to 1 max.  Most agree no more than 3 to 1.  Get some help to penetrate the financial engineering that most public companies use to make statements look good.  Make hay now, while the sun shines - but don't be surprised by how fast and hard the tide goes out.

 

2/7/19  Huge Trend, Outside Sales Becoming "Hybrid with Inside Sales".  Pure outside sales almost extinct.  Outside sales now spends 50% of their time selling "remotely".  "Remote Sales / Inside Sales growing 15%/year - 800,000 new jobs last year. It is NOT customer service.   NOT telemarketing.  Best to call it "Remote Selling"  Full Article

 

2/7/19 WSJ Article "Good Riddance to Low Margin Industries"   Courageous article by Andy Kessler  Tom Summary:  Indicators of persistent low margin industries: Price, price, price – only element of deals

- Tariffs, international trade, allegations of unfair competition take center stage

- Easy, simple for analysts, investors, competitors to understand

- No / low barriers to competition

- Profitable, better run businesses exit the segment (e.g. Intel and AT&T exited memory chips)

   o Over time, the Japanese lost market share to Korea, especially Samsung. China is now taking share.

- EXITING BAD INDUSTRY FORCES FOCUS ON HIGHER MARGIN SEGMENTS

   o Intel focused instead on high-margin microprocessors—the 386, 486 and Pentium

   o “Designed by Apple in California. Assembled in China” label.

- Who cares? Good riddance to low-margin businesses, awful uses of capital. The U.S. invests up the margin chain.

- The fallacy of today’s tariff war with China: It is meant to save jobs but ends up destroying better ones.  Click for Detail

 

12/8/18 WSJ Interview with Bill Easterly CLICK  HUGE parallels between failures of fashionable philanthropic approach to helping 3rd world countries (Bill Gates, et. al.) and IT industry's history of poor project results.  ROOT ROOT ROOT issue is "how do you get the people with power to give up control so right things get done?"  ANSWER:  You can't. Find another approach to desired outcome.

 

10/13/18  WSJ Article Lampert's Non-Strategy to Save Sears.  CLICK

  • SUMMARY – NON PERFORMANCE ROOTS, OPPORTUNITIES
    • STRATEGY
      • Certainly not effective
      • Acknowledged "no grand strategy", except SPEND LESS THAN COMPETITORS, CONSOLIDATE, CUT COSTS
    • FGIC WEAKNESS, BAD ASSUMPTIONS
      • Strictly a hedge fund / financial guy
      • Assumed competitors were bloated over spenders
      • Rejected IT investments in online shopping, loyalty programs
      • Rejected store upgrade investment
      • Rejected plan to turn Kmarts into ecommerce pickup points (working for Best Buy)
      • Thought he was smarter that ALL RETAIL COMPETITORS – DID IT HIS WAY – CHEAP – DESPITE BIG EVIDENCE TO CONTRARY
        • Knew nothing about retail but HAD THE POWER – COULD NOT RESIST USING IT
      • SHAREHOLDER VALUE ASSUMPTION – turned into severe under investing, resist all spending, underfund initiatives, "PROVE THE MATH BEFORE ANY MAJOR INVESTMENT"
  • CIGAR BUTT INVESTING
    • Bought Kmart and Sears at bargain prices
    • SEARS STORES WERE RUN DOWN, INEFFICIENT, RESULT OF YEARS OF NON-SPENDING, BEING ON THE BLOCK TO BE SOLD
  • INVESTMENTS, NON-SPENDING, FINANCIAL ENGINEERING
    • WalMart spent $2 billion on ecommerce over 10 years where Sears spent 1/10 of this???
    • Attempted cheap initiatives, abandoned quickly
    • Capital Investments:  spent ¼ of what Target and Macy's spent over 10 years
    • SHARE BUYBACKS + NO INVESTMENT:  Spent $6 billion but minimal capital investing while Target spent $23 billion on buy backs + $32 billion on capital investments for same period
  • LOST SIGHT OF CUSTOMER
    • "When customer pulls up to store they don't see investor ROI.  They see lightbulbs out, potholes, banged up doors"
    • Ecommerce sales were 17% of Macy's ecommerce sales

 

 

10/8/2018  ANOTHER REASON FOR ALL THE ACQUISITIONS / M&A: GIVES OWNERS THE CHANCE TO BREAK COVENANT WITH EMPLOYEES - CONSISTENTLY REMOVE HIGHER PAID PEOPLE

  • Big opportunity for TIA, FOLLOWING M&A, AT 18 MONTHS - NON PERFORMANCE BECOMES UNDENIABLE
    • THREE REASONS FOR ACQUISITION - LOOK INARGUABLE ON PAPER / IN STRATEGY - 70-80% FALL APART IN EXECUTION
      1. LOOK BIGGER THAN YOU ARE - APPEAR FAST GROWING
      2. REMOVE A COMPETITOR
      3. BREAK COVENANT - REMOVE HIGHLY PAID EMPLOYEES

 

 

7/2/2018  Understanding Wacky Decisions Made by Financial Guys, Stock Market, Investors, WHY THEY WON'T PAY FOR NEEDED IT PROJECTS (a beginning).  I call this the "FINANCIAL GUYS IN CHARGE" PROBLEMClick for wsj article and more notes.

 

CONCLUSIONS / SOLUTIONS FOR MY PRACTICE:  Focus where

  • Paid for with OPEX – Not CAPEX
  • Management can resist SHORT TERMISM (how separate hype and reality?)
  • Clearly moved needle in 12 months
  • Financial guys like to spend vs. don't like (new CEOs, acquisitions…)
  • IDEAL:  Able to negotiate CEO jobs where free from short termism, interference

 

- CLASSES OF SPENDING VERY DIFFERENT.

  • R&D (some sectors rewarded, spending in vogue, some punished for spending e.g. mfg, pharma)
  • Capital Spending (Plant & Equipment.  Falling world-wide, trend here to stay)
  • Business Investment (headwinds increasing, see below)

 

- SHORT TERM QUARTERLY FINANCIALS FOCUS

  • Here to stay.  Avg hold period steady at 12-15 months
  • Mgmt's ability to resist short termism is critical.  E.g. Amazon strong enough to spend on long term
  • MGMT HAS RESORTED TO FINANCIAL ENGINEERING to fund R&D, capex, projects
  • NOTE:  Some companies need quarterly leash to stay in check, some barely affected.  Art form is knowing difference

 

- HISTORY, STUDIES SHOW INVESTORS BETTER OFF NOT SPENDING ON CAPEX, BUSINESS INVESTMENT

  • Mgmt track record on projects stinks, will run wild if not on very short leash
  • Prefer to acquire companies with systems / stuff in place – they understand better
  • Investing in R&D PAYS OFF MUCH BETTER

 

- PRESSURE, TREND TO TURN CAPEX INTO OPERATING COST CONTINUES: Big opportunity for no-code!

 

- SECTORS IN VOGUE CAUTION: Insanity can prevail for a while.  E.g. dot com bubble, current tech sector fad, big R&D spending, not likely to pay off

 

- LOW INTEREST RATE / HIGH DEBT:  Always a concern – WATCH OUT WHEN RATES RISE

 

- SHAREHOLDER BUYBACKS: Much debate, competes with IT projects for cash.  Interest rate / debt risk

 

 

7/2/2018  Why Good New Product / Service Initiatives Don't Get Funded, Are Underfunded, Plug Gets Pulled.  GOOD MONEY / BAD MONEY CONCEPT.  Click for summary from Innovator's Solution by Clayton Christenson, et. al.  GOOD MONEY is patient for growth but impatient for profit (demands rapid proof that a new product / service is viable.)  BAD MONEY demands rapid growth but is patient for profits.  Look for good money - but beware - it can turn bad in a heartbeat when company takes a downturn.  I think we need contracts guaranteeing funding... easy to say...

 

 

7/2/2018  Optimism is Respectable Again Click for WSJ article   I benefited greatly from the "positive thinking" fad of the 1970s and early 80s - though the advocates went a bit too far.  I am glad to see optimism is fashionable again - it encourages me.

 

7/2/2018  Two Tough/Bad Projects Recently, Got My Head Handed to Me. I recently landed dream projects for Boeing and for a Private Equity firm.  Both looked outstanding at the start - turned to mush - nothing I could have done about it.  Don't let me give you the impression that I've got this all figured out...  We need each other's help to understand and navigate the evolving landscape.

 

 

1/27/2018  High-end sales jobs decreasing as companies push to reduce labor costs.  DOWNSIDE:  Commoditization, low barriers to entry, low margins.  Relationship selling declining, only 7% of high performers.  Customers, spread too thin, no time, consequence is Problem (Non-performance) / Solution / Urgent Compelling Need selling is best way - by far.  Sales people controlling, driving sale through UCN solution/expertise is growing and expected by buyers.  Sales technology will continue to explode. Article on Sales Trends, 2017 by Jim Keena, Philip Petersen  Click

 

 

1/13/2017  CAPITAL AND CORPORATIONS ARE HURTLING AWAY FROM BEING PUBLIC. TOWARD PRIVATE EQUITY.  Becoming easier to raise private money than public - even $1 bb+.  U.S. listed public companies declined from  7,000 to 4,000 (42%) since 1997, largely through M&A.  Remaining public firms are bigger, more bureaucratic, BECOMING COMMODITY, LOW PERFORMANCE PLACES TO WORK, LOW RETURNS FOR INVESTORS.  No real upside to being public, much downside. PE now has tools to compensate high performing people with marketable securities - not just payouts after exit. Short term investors in public companies are driving talent to PE.  IPOs are down from 9,300/year high to an average of 200 per year, largely because the Public investors will not invest long enough to bring critical new tech and concepts to market.   Click for WSJ article

 

 

1/7/2017  Buffett, Other Models for "Fee for Performance" instead of paying flat fees, hourly rates, salaries.  In the 1960s Buffett charged no fee for managing investments until they produced a 6% return.  Above 6% he got 25% of the overage.  If the return was below 6% in future years he gave back the difference.  Currently Orbis charges a base fee of 0.45% annually and 25% of the performance over a benchmark of similar companies.  AJO charges "fulcrum fees" (fees increase in high performance years but decrease / giveback in low performance years.  See WSJ article by Jason Zwieg.  NOTE ON HOW BUFFETT PAYS HIS CEOS:  Near as I can tell, he establishes a target Return on Invested Capital for the company and pays the CEO between 15% and 25% of any overage.

 

 

12/7/2016  The "Effectiveness Movement Away from Public Company Dumb Stuff" Now Creates 30 to 50% of All Return On Invested Capital" (Tom's guess.) Buffett and Berkshire Hathaway Demonstrate Effectiveness of "PE-Like" Management and are now the 4th most valuable company (at $400 Billion). Rational management, rigorous cost containment, picking right CEO, not interfering, barriers to competition, capital invested only where total return is competitive and dozens of other points of excellence are growing and dominating.  Let's compare Return On Invested Capital for Private Equity + Berkshire Hathaway vs. all other public companies.  I think you will find PE + Berkshire account for 30-50% of total ROIC.  (Remember that public companies are often unprofitable and operating with huge capital producing marginal returns.)  Berkshire alone paid 10% of all corporate income taxes in 2010 according to Buffett's letter. See WSJ Article

 

 

12/2/2016 Why U.S. Explosion of Manufacturing in 1950s, 1960s cannot recur (rest of world's manufacturing capacity was devastated by WWII, U.S. held near monopoly for 1/4 of a century), cautions for boom times, viewing current manufacturing opportunities, returns realistically, implications for low skill workers.  WSJ article by Phil Gramm.  CLICK

 

 

11/30/16  Dumb Stuff In Public Companies:  Activist Elliot letter aiming at Cisco and Cognizant non-performance.  Pushing to increase operating margins from18% to 23%, DISPOSE of non-performing assets (don't waste energy selling them.)  Cisco took action, stock up 30%+ in 18 months.  Cognizant response pending.  I worked for Cognizant.  I have seen the non-performance there and at dozens of other public companies.  This is why I like Private Equity. See WSJ Article

 

 

11/1/16  Mike Fariburn, President of Latin America, eight countries, four plants, 2200 employees, used and improved SQP (Sales Quotation Process for Complex Product and Service Sales.) Resulted in dramatic improvements in margin, forecast accuracy, change order payments.  Big reduction in legal risks, "surprise costs" over 10 years.  Average Order $2.4-$7 million.  Average 500+ Orders Per Year.  30% Close Rate.  Click for details ***

 

 

9/3/2016  De-Mistifying IT:  I want to be the "John C. Bogle of Big IT":   As head of Vanguard Investments he changed an industry with competition, transparency, stewardship for owners and cost minimization.  Said "No.  We can do better." to self-firsters, big egos, razzle dazzle of complex investing and high profits at investor expense.  Stood up to those preying on fear, ignorance, desire for get rich quick, laziness and inattention.  Hard work, discipline resulted in indexed (low cost) mutual funds rising from near 0% to 25% of all investments (Almost $1 trillion since 2008.)  I'd like your help making big IT and big software transparent and accountable for serving owners - not self.  Julia Child did the same thing for French cooking - made it understandable for all. See WSJ Article

 

 

8/1/16  Make Growth an INTENTIONAL PROCESS, Chapter 10 Key Points.  From Jeff Imelt and the New GE Way, 2009.  BREAKTHROUGH THINKING.  Most growth hopes are based the happy byproduct of operating excellence, e.g. Quality or Customer Service.

 

  • Growth record under Imelt:  Between 2001 and 2007 grew revenues from $107 billion to $179 billion, profit from $14 billion to $22 billion (60%)
  • Growth as mandated, disciplined process!!!
    • NOT the happy byproduct of operating excellence, e.g. Quality or Customer Service
    • Dominate culture at GE Medical was cost cutting.  HAD TO CHANGE - INCOMPATIBLE WITH GROWTH
  • Welch drove profit growth mostly through cost control!!!
  • MAY BE ABLE TO FORECAST A LIFE CYCLE:  Acquisition - cost cutting happiness - cost cutting not enough + cannot grow by acquisition -> ORGANIC GROWTH OPPORTUNITY, willing to do what is needed
    • Standard GE Growth Tools:
  • Technology enhancement
  • Becoming as good at marketing and sales as GE is at productivity and cost control
  • Real customer focus:  Customer-driven solutions, more listening sessions
  • Geographic (global) expansion
    • Easy to get comfortable in US only.  Hard work, big rewards to grow globally
  • Boundary-less
  • Bundling services with profits
  • Linking with outside contributors (whole product solution.  Improve things for partners)
  • "Owning Spaces" (niche dominance)
  • New products
  • Develop growth leadership
    • UNDERSTANDING NICHE BEFORE ACQUISITION! - e.g. Amersham purchase by GE Medical
    • Growth Leader Selection based on:
  • External focus, success in market terms
  • Clear thinking, reduce strategy to action, make decisions, communicate priorities
  • Imagination, courage, take risks on people and ideas
  • Inclusiveness build loyalty, commitment
  • Function or industry personal expertise leading to confidence to drive change
    • Net Promoter Score:  Customers who would recommend GE minus those who would not
    • Customer 'dreaming" sessions
  • He viewed as adding disciplined growth to existing strengths of risk management, cost control and productivity
  • Items he did not mention but key from my experience
    • Queue of test market initiatives, best targeted niches, ready to go
    • Cadence - Qtrly Plan vs. Results:  "here is how I did against planned growth targets last quarter, here are my targets for next quarter"

 

 

WSJ Article 7/28/2016  Discusses Private Equity history, trends, where opportunities are for Organic Sales growth by Matt Jarzemsky

  • PE was hot, 2000-2009ish, many sustained 20%+ annual returns
  • NO LONGER ABLE TO DELIVER THESE RETURNS DUE TO
    • Rising valuations
    • Competition from corporate buyers and other PE firms “we are constantly outbid”
    • Low growth, low equity market growth (from cheap money, et. al.) reduces sale price
    • OLD FORMULA NO LONGER WORKING (buy underperformer at a bargain, improve performance, leverage with debt and sell)
      • CAN’T FIND THE BARGAINS
      • MOST DON’T UNDERSTAND BEYOND FINANCIAL ENGINEERING
  • Differentiates between PE and LBO firms
    • LBO overreach + 2008/2009 recession created BUNCH of bargains for PE.  Now gone
  • Blackstone and Apollo down 15% for the year
  • KKR and Carlyle down 35% for the year
  • PE STRATEGY CHANGES:
    • Have moved beyond just LBO / financial engineering
    • expanding into real estate, credit, public company stakes
    • AMASSING SMALLER COMPANIES IN FRAGMENTED INDUSTRIES – OPPORTUNITY!!!

 

 

7/29/16  Understand why the Fed, many economists believe U.S. has permanently down shifted to about 2.1% annual GDP growth.  WSJ chart shows average growth declining from 7% per year after WWII. Click Here

 

 

6/2/16  Understand the Upside of Wall Street, Financial Engineering to Help Manage the Downside:  Excellent WSJ article by Nitin Nohira, dean of Harvard Business School shows India as example of what U.S. would be like without financial services:  Can't buy a home until can pay in cash, no capital available for starting businesses except when controlled by wealthy families...  Click Here for article

 

 

5/16/16  Mike Grimes, GE and Private Equity Heavy Hitter speaks to Institute of Management Consultants Talk May 16, 2016 Click Here for recording, *** other materials to help understand Private Equity

 

 

5/16/16  BEST INFO, LEARNING RAMP UP TO UNDERSTAND PRIVATE EQUITY: Mike Grimes, Tom Ferguson, Doug Staab, Damian Thomas, Bob Alexander, Mike Lorrelli and other Private Equity veterans provide their insights, tips and stories for navigation the opaque, difficult world of PE.  Click Here for recordings, notes, summaries ***

 

5/3/16  Financial Engineering Shows Its Downside, Opportunities for Those Focused on Growing Happy Customers instead of finance.  Click for WSJ article

 

 

3/4/16, "Financial Economy Out of Gas..." Financial type's lack of understanding creating opportunities for those who can grow happy customers and profitable operations. Bill Gross, head of Janus Capital, says the "financialization of the economy" that created endless growth [for the financial engineers] over the last 25 years has run out of fuel.  Many of us who care about the fundamentals of happy customers and profits have been frustrated as the financial types have come to rule the planet.  The Fed, the Wall Street Journal and nearly everything I read from the financial types moan about a permanent shift to lower national growth (about 2.2%) and whining that they can only earn 1% or 2% on their cash investments.  I think opportunities are returning for those of us who understand the hard, diligent work required to grow happy customers and deliver profitable products and services.  The financial types have never understood this - and the cycle of opportunity is coming back to favor us.  Look for situations where the financial guys can no longer hide their failure to grow profitable businesses - especially in Private Equity.  Click Here for Wall Street Journal article  Join the "Stay Connected, Help a Buddy" network as we help each other grow organic sales. [Help a Buddy Link Deleted]

 

 

12/19/15  The Death of God is Greatly Exaggerated, Wall Street Journal article by Kate Bacheldor on Eric Metaxas, Manhattan based "happy warrior for Muscular Christianity."  An author and talk show host that prizes civility but insists on speaking out for Christian principles...  Click for Article

 

 

2/22/15  "Show Up With Your First 20 Plays Ready" to avoid common mistakes with mergers and integration (Bill Walsh). Quick-Starts shorten the cycle time for IT systems needed for process improvement. Click here for WSJ article.  Part of our Rapid Results approach with SharePoint and other tools is using "Quick-Starts" (templates / solutions I have built before where I have about 18 pieces of the puzzle ready to go.  E.g. screens, workflows, process drawings, database designs, outcomes and priorities, etc.)  Currently we  have about 15 of these Quick-Starts.

 

 

12/20/2014 God Is Not Dead In Gotham, Wall Street Journal,  Click for article by Kate Bacheldor.  Regarding pastor Tim Keller

  1. Church has grown to 5500 people in 25 years IN DOWNTOWN MANHATTAN, helped with 300 Church Plants in 45 cities around the world
  2. Keller asks questions in personal meetings.  (Finds out what people worship – what is their “god” at the moment, Plus showing interest, Plus generating relationship.)
  3. “Everyone has a god, everyone has a way of salvation, we just don’t use the term…they are putting their hopes in something and they are living for it.”
  4. “The only reason you are laying yourself out like this is because you’re not really just working.  This is very much your religion.”
  5. Hard part: “Coming under God’s authority because you have to find your identity in Christ – not in just fulfilling yourself.”  THIS COMPLETELY COLLIDES WITH WHAT OUR CULTURE IS TELLING PEOPLE.
  6. Professionals are often attracted to the idea of sacrificial love.
  7. Golden Rule is USE PLAIN ENGLISH.  Stay away from Tribe Lingo like ‘Blessing’, etc.
  8. Part of the Presbyterian Church of America, a Conservative Presbyterian Denomination (these guys regularly surprise me!)
  9. “God is not under any obligation to make me succeed.”  AGAIN, FLIES IN THE FACE OF WHAT OUR CULTURE TELLS US.

 

 

12/12/2013  Muscular Christianity (championed by Teddy Roosevelt, though his Christian record is mixed...))  Historical Basis – Turns out this has been a topic since the Victorian era.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muscular_Christianity  Wall Street Journal Article by Stephen Prothero

 

 

12/12/2013, "A Cage-Fighting Christ for Our Time" on Seattle pastor championing the concept, going a bit too far?  Wall Street Journal article

 

 

4/10/2013 High Character Leaders Produced 9.35% Return on Assets while Low Character Leader's ROA averaged 1.93%.  Study by KRW Intl, Minneapolis, MN, published in Harvard Business Review.  Study covered two years, has some rigor, some flaws and sample size is too small (84 firms).  Measured through employee surveys on leader integrity, responsibility, forgiveness, compassion.  Should have measured additional items including effective strategy, the pursuit of excellence and willingness to do the right things - even when hard.  Caution regarding things we want to hear and fuzzy, subjective hr/staff focus.    Click for summary.

 

 

3/10/2019:  Buffett On IBM Purchase:  “I’ve revalued it downward…  their projections ran into big strong competitors… [paid too much]… tech is littered with areas when you can create high growth and make no money.  That’s not us.  ”  IBM Revenues still declining, 20 quarters in a row, growth in Watson, Cloud, other new areas not offsetting shrinkage, IBM’s competitive advantages have deteriorated, Buffett no longer willing to wait,  WSJ Article

 

12/9/17 Why SharePoint / Microsoft Declining, Salesforce Ascending for No-Code Solutions  See Tom's analysis and career switch

 

12/9/17:  For IT Jobs, Shift Your Career to Application Software, No and Low-Code Solutions If Possible:  The stampede to the Cloud is creating a dramatic reduction in infrastructure jobs.  (These jobs are being automated and consolidated to Amazon, Microsoft Azure, other cloud providers.)   I am seeing a big uptick in business side-driven, cloud based applications with no and low code solutions.  (In cloud applications, we usually do not have access to make server side, heavy code development.  This is creating big growth in no code / low code solutions driven by business units (not IT.)  See link for Salesforce Admin Training Jumpstart by DFWJLT.

 

12/9/17:  Tom switching to Salesforce after 14 years and 35 projects in SharePoint / Microsoft world:  I believe SharePoint / Microsoft are declining as both good "no-code solutions" options for clients and places to invest my career in.  My last 3-4 projects have been badly hurt because the "infrastructure side of SharePoint sucks up all the oxygen in the room".  See links Why SharePoint Microsoft Declining and Why and How Tom picked Salesforce.

 

10/3/17  Microsoft just laid off 2000+ sales people.  Is exiting the business of selling package software.  Hurtling toward being a cloud-based software and services provider only.  Per Mike Mainard who recently joined MS's Digital Transformation practice.  WHAT ARE IMPLICATIONS FOR US?

 

9/11/17  Reality of Working Later In Life, WSJ Article:  38% expect to work to age 70 and beyond but only 4% actually have jobs at age 70.   Causes:  Health, layoffs, care for family member, layoffs, age discrimination, lack of jobs in your field...  I SUSPECT PROBLEMS WITH THE DATA - e.g. does not account for "gig economy", those with contract / consulting / non traditional employment.   But, message is clear, NOT AN EASY ROAD and reason why Help A Buddy, Stay Connected exists.

 

8/17/17  Recession Causes, NOT LIKELY Anytime Soon, WSJ Article:  by Alan Blinder.  Strong case that the expansion will continue until something derails it.  Recessions have known causes.  Primary causes:  Federal Reserve tightens money and credit supply to fight inflation and inflation is not likely.   (primary cause of Great Depression but mistakes now understood - unlikely to repeat.)  Oil shocks:  Difficult to predict but unlikely for now.  Stock market crash:  Takes very large crash to create recession all by itself.  Lesser crashes recover quickly.  Not likely soon.  Credit Markets (household, business, banks):  Very healthy, less leveraged than have been in a long time.  The Unexpected:  At present, North Korea or a White House investigation are only things on horizon... but unexpected by definition...  e.g.  North Korea war could devastate Asia supply chains... or create opportunities...

 

8/28/17  Warren Buffett and IBM Struggling with the Landscape We Face:  It makes me feel better to realize that the best and most accomplished - Buffett and IBM - are struggling to understand and profit from the current IT environment.  IBM just had its 20th successive quarter of annual revenue declines...  Buffett had purchased 8.4% of IBM through 2015 and in May of 2017 sold 33% of this stake.  I admire Buffett greatly - but I think he got tired of sitting on the tech sidelines, violated his own rule and invested in something he did not understand.  Six years later he is exiting because "IBM has strong competitors" and "progress in new markets... (cloud)... but not enough to offset declines in other businesses..."  He is famous for admitting mistakes and correcting them - looks like this is one.  TOM'S TAKE:  The march to the cloud is about infrastructure becoming commoditized and the value of applications ascending.  We (the IT industry) have failed to consistently produce 5 to 1 or better paybacks on the money entrusted to us.  Competition and the evolution of our industry are sending money to places producing the best paybacks - APPLICATIONS in the cloud.  Note that the cloud is a politically acceptable way for business unit executives to get out from under in-house IT's monopoly.  CLICK FOR DETAILS

 

​8/20/17  A way to stand up to executives who put personal interest ahead of the good of the project.  ​Supreme court affirms executives have duty to put profits and shareholder gain first, ahead of politics and self interest.  Click for WSJ article  Article notes landmark case in 1919, Ford vs. Dodge (Michigan Supreme court).  Article discusses CEO activism (e.g. transgender bathrooms resulting in 40% drop in Target's stock price.)  We need to stand up to political, self-serving conduct that damages projects - costing hundreds of millions of dollars.  For years I have kept a "captain's log" on my projects - including documenting self-serving conduct (especially for executives.)  I now include "bringing all conduct into the light... transparency... an open record of conduct" as part of my engagements.  This article points out that shareholders have the option of a class action lawsuit (unlikely) or a shareholder derivative lawsuit where executives are sued on behalf of all shareholders.  In my 35 years of documenting computer horror story projects I have seen numerous situations that I might handle differently now.  In the post Enron, SOX, post 2008/09 recession climate we have now, executive accountability for misconduct is much higher.  It might be possible to have a quiet word with the head of the client's audit committee... "here is the log of this executive's conduct... here is how it is hurting shareholder interests... do you have a duty to remove this person before a shareholder gets wind...?"

 

8/19/17  Vishal Sikka Resigns as Infosys CEO.  Click for WSJ article  Former SAP heavy hitter TRIED TO MOVE TO COMPETING ON VALUE OVER COST.  QUIT AFTER 3 YEAR STRUGGLE.  STOCK LOWEST IN THREE YEARS.  His public statements were pretty strong - "old guard, management, not willing to change, do what is necessary... resistance to hiring outsiders who know how..."  Reminds me of my efforts to do this.  I have had 3 gigs to help IT staffing / consulting firms grow higher margin, higher value sales.  Two clear failures and a draw...  Stan Feighny, long time colleague said it best.  "The easy revenue from staffing is like heroine.  Getting a staffing company to spend what is necessary to compete on high value is as hard as breaking an addiction.  They mean well, sometimes get off to a good start - but the moment there is a tough quarter they fall back to the easy money of staffing.  The DNA of company built on easy revenues like staffing is almost impossible to change."

 

7/17/17:  Help A Buddy Network is now refocused on IT opportunities only.

 

7/13/17  WSJ article on good CEOs that didn't deserve the boot.  (13 of the largest companies have replaced CEOs in first 6 months of 2017.  UNPRECEDENTED.)

•Most attributed to quarterly earnings pressure from hedge funds, actvists, minority investors

•Supports Tom's thesis:  "Volatility, Low Growth, Low Returns, Commodity Pressures will continue to make it difficult to find good work.  WHAT CAN WE DO ABOUT IT?"

 

3/27/17 Hard Truths, Some Help, Techniques for Working Into Your 60s and Beyond, WSJ Article

•Hard truth is that getting laid off after 50 is likely to result in long, hard job search, less pay, possibly never returning to work force

•44% of people are still working at 65 (no data on why, nature of work, necessity vs. optional)

•Changing careers / field / job in 50s increases probability of working past 65 by 20% (forcing ourselves to change, learn new skills, be competitive for jobs in other arena helps.)

1.Most common reason, 41%, was to reduce stress

2.Meaningful work, flexibility more important than big paycheck

•Low debt, mortgage paid off really matters.  Need to fight current trend to more debt later in life - or face MUST work situation -  regardless of type of work

•HARD AS IT IS, SWITCHING TO GIG ECONOMY may significantly increase work longevity, enjoyment, quality of life

 

3/15/17 Update

•GREAT call with Damian Thomas, former head of sales for GE.  We discussed Revenue Side opportunities with Private Equity - CAME TO A SURPRISE CONCLUSION:  PRIVATE EQUITY FIRMS ARE NOT A GOOD PROSPECT!  Look somewhere else...  CLICK to listen to the call

•Full Membership Criteria and Benefits Have Changed.  Click for Details  Summary:

1.We have decided there will be no cost associated with the Help A Buddy, Stay Connected group

2.Providing Substantive Job Leads or introductions for other members is the price of ongoing membership.

3.Everyone must contribute an average of three substantive job leads or introductions per quarter to retain full member benefits.

4.First cutoff date for members unable to contribute will June 30, 2017 - so you have plenty of time.

•Keep sending Tom those retained recruiter job leads - this is the easiest way to contribute your "3 good jobs leads".

 

3/9/17  Recent Wins, Congratulations

•Congratulations to Julie Moran, former GE, Safety-Kleen exec on new role as President of emergency service and transportation company with HQ in Louisville, KY. Serves 5 states, approx 1000 employees.  She is moving from Dallas to Louisville this week.  Stay in touch and congratulate her at jamoran@icloud.com

•Mike Mainard received an offer to join a consulting firm - but turned it down - for the right reasons

•Tom closed a PE company recently (thanks to Fabian Mamia).  Project started well but PE firm abruptly changed direction and brought the project in house.  Good news / bad news about working with PE.

•Greg Whitmore closed some IT Outsourcing work in Nov / Dec 2016

•Darren McKnight has picked up additional work from M&A Partners

 

Tom's Work Search Action Recommendations:

 

1.Focus your efforts on sectors / industries that are growing.  Hiring is best leading indicator.  Full members have access to Tom's Economic Indicator report at left.

 

2.Make hay now, while stock market and economy doing well, good time to take risks, make investments, but be ready for hard recession.

 

3.February hiring may feel down, but this is normal.  Hiring will be strong in March.

 

4.Mike Mainard reports that activity and good leads are up with "Expert Service Provider" web sites.  These companies pay well for 2-3 hour engagements to provide your expertise by phone.  Tom is aggravated with GLG, one of the leading firms.  Click for our summary of notes

  • These sites may be our best leading indicator for "what consulting services are being bought."  See notes.

 

5.Become a Full Member of the Help A Buddy network.  Contribute one substantive job lead or introduction for another member per month.  Click for details

 

12/1/16  DFW Help A Buddy Chapter's Consensus Economic Forecast for Contract, Consulting, PE, Full Time work:  (Tom, Mike Mainard, Dwight Moore, Bill Chase, GENERAL CONSENSUS)

  • Trump has enormous weaknesses
  • Will have 3 to 6 month honeymoon, economy up
  • Something will happen, we will have a hard recession
  • Trump will get little to nothing of substance done
  • EXCEPTIONS TO CONSENSUS:
    1. Companies need certainty before committing to substantive investment.  Uncertainty may settle in 6 months and economy will pick up

 

  • SOME SECTORS ARE BENEFITING, GROWING (from regulation rollback, spending increases)
    1. Defense industry
    2. Auto industry, e.g. CAFÉ standards being rolled back
    3. Midwest, rust belt, all manufacturing up (environmental regs rollback)
    4. Coal industry will come back (environmental regs rollback)
    5. Oil & Gas Mfrs, South Central US, up from Exxon $2 bb US investment
    6. Keystone pipeline will trickle down
    7. Financial Services, Fintech, Wealth Management, Payments Services Exploding (regs being reduced, capital freed up)
    8. Construction will boom on infrastructure projects, will trickle down, help main street

 

 

12/28/16  Michael Porter, 1996 Update on Strategy,  BIG implications for keeping pipeline full of new opportunities - Click

 

11/8/2016

- McKinsey Paper / Interview with Don Gogel on How PE is Evolving http://www.tia4.tiainc.net/HelpABuddy/TipsHelpDetailsFAQMisc/How-private-equity-adapts-a-discussion-with-Don-Gogel.pdf

 

- LinkedIn Steps to Take To Protect Your Contacts and Profile  http://www.tia4.tiainc.net/HelpABuddy/TipsHelpDetailsFAQMisc/LinkedIn%20Changes%20Microsoft%20Acquisition%20Protect%20Yourself.docx

 

10/5/16

- Bob Alexander talk on Opportunities in Private Equity:  Tuesday, October 11, 7 pm Central Time.  Call in number:  1-712-432-0175 code 1094590#

 

- Our Dallas group of people has started a weekly networking / lead sharing meeting.  Going well.  We help each other find good work, especially past age 50:  Full Time, Contract, Consulting, Board Positions, Selling Services, Projects and Products.  I'll let you know how it works out - hopefully we can get a group going in each city.

 

===============================

 

Additional PE Info, Consolidated from Skinny IT for PE News (decommissioned 4/8/17)

 

 

 

Tom's Best Stuff:  What Has Helped Me Most at Finding Good Work Quickly

 

1.  GET RIGHT WITH GOD to GET PAST THE INSULT, THE GRIEF, THE UNFAIRNESS, THE BAD LUCK:. He is a rewarder of those who seek him.  He will get you through this tough time.  After will be better than before.

 

2.  YOU MUST BE PREPARED TO FIND NEW WORK EVERY 2-3 YEARS. After age 50 or 55, this probably means CONTRACT or CONSULTING work.  SOME GET LUCKY AND DON'T NEED IT - BUT CAN  YOU TAKE THE CHANCE?

 

- FOCUS ON CREATING VALUE, SOLVING PROBLEMS, PRODUCING RESULTS rather than "I just need a job where I can retire..."  - employers can smell this attitude.    Remember the Harvard Alumni Placement Concept:  EXECUTIVES HIRE PEOPLE WHO HAVE SOLVED THE PROBLEM IN HAND BEFORE.

 

3.  HOW TO FIND YOUR FOCUS, FIGURE OUT EXECUTIVES / HIRING MANAGERS WILL PAY YOU TO DO - Tom's Breakthroughs:

 

a.  The Problem, Solution, Results Method: During a recession when I was struggling to find work I learned a disciplined approach to going back through my work history and summarizing the problem, solution and results from my best accomplishments ESPECIALLY THE RESULTS.

First Attempt:  see /TomResultsResumeWithProblemSolution.pdf    (ignore formatting and pictures.  Problem/Solution/Results are what matter.

Second Attempt and Breakthrough:  Summary of Results Only in Word Table.  Categorizing best results led to breakthrough to focus on Sales Side Systems.   /ResultsResume.pdf

 

b.  How to get Market Validation on Your Skills from the Employers:  Narrow your focus to 2-3 specialties and create a resume version for each.  In my case it was "Technical PM, Business / Process Analyst or SharePoint Guy."  You will need a unique email for each resume (gmail is easiest to get and keep.)  Create three accounts on Dice or Career Builder - one for each specialty.  Conduct a two month test.  Re-upload your resume daily during the test (puts you on top of the recruiter's list.)  Track how many emails / inquiries / phone calls you get for each.  I stopped my test in just three weeks.  I was getting 10 times the job leads from SharePoint - changed my life!!!  I have now done 33 SharePoint projects!.  KEY IS THE MARKET IS VALIDATING THE SERVICES YOU THINK EMPLOYERS WILL PAY YOU FOR - keeps us from fooling ourselves - thinking we are great - they will beat a path to our door.

 

- BEST BOOK, ADVANCED CONCEPTS, CALL RECORDING FROM CEO OF DOCUMENTUM on how to find your focus:  /DocumentumConferenceCall.htm

 

4.  GET GOOD AT NETWORKING INSTEAD OF APPLYING FOR JOBS ONLINE:  I have stopped applying online completely and the best job finders I know limit time applying online to less than 20%.  Even so, 1/2 of all the time I spend networking is wasted!  (and I am good at it.)  Just do it, learn all you can.  Yes, it is hard for introverts but you will quickly stop with the time wasters and focus on the right things.

 

- PREP:  MAKE IT EASY FOR YOUR NETWORKING PARTNER TO HELP YOU:

 

(a)  TOP 20:  Have a list of 20 target companies with you. This is the best technique I have ever found - it paints a picture in their mind of the company / hiring manager you are looking for.

 

(b)  Ideal Prospect Profile:  Paint a picture of what a good lead looks like:  Company size, industry, location, Urgent, Compelling Needs that you solve, hiring manager title, etc.

 

(c)  At Least Three Success Stories showing Urgent, Compelling Needs and results you have delivered.

 

- BEST WAY TO LEARN NETWORKING:  GO, SEE, RECONNECT, CALL OR EMAIL EVERYONE WHO KNOWS AND TRUSTS YOUR WORK. You are not begging for a job.  SHOW THEM YOUR TOP 20 LIST, IDEAL PROSPECT and SUCCESS STORIES.  Ask for advice, suggestions, a point in the right direction.....  Use this friendly audience to learn what works and what doesn't.  50% OF MY GIGS COME FROM OR THROUGH PEOPLE I HAVE WORKED WITH BEFORE.

 

- ONE ON ONEs MATTER - SET GOAL OF ONE PER DAY: The best networkers I know focus more on one-on-ones than any other form of networking.  It forces you to help other people - you must provide them some value for them to take the time to see you.  Have coffee - even for 15 minutes.  You don't need to buy them lunch.  Make it easy for them.  Go to their office and bring Starbucks.  Don't fall into the trap of just talking to your job group buddies.  HANG OUT WITH PEOPLE WHO HAVE JOBS.  In my case, I must have the human contact - I always shoot for one meeting a day - just for my morale during tough times.

 

5.  MAKE USE OF DOWN TIME:

 

- Stuff happens.  You lose a gig unexpectedly.  Happens to me often.  God will get you through.

 

- Retool your skills, based on market-validation described above.  I invested in a couple of servers, spend $450/year for a Microsoft Action Pack, retooled myself as a hands-on SharePoint technician - Was hard but PAYBACK HAS BEEN ASTRONOMIC.

 

- Harvest emails of recruiters that contact you for your specialty (especially when you have work.)  Just create an Outlook folder and drag the emails there.  WHEN YOU NEED WORK just export the emails to Excel or your Contacts list and send recruiters a short note "I'm available."  KEEP TRACK OF GOOD RECRUITERS and ACCOUNT EXECS that sell what you do.  I have one guy / firm that has placed me four times!

 

6.  ADVANCED:  GET GOOD AT KEEPING WORK PRODUCT TO SHOW HOW YOU HAVE SOLVED KEY PROBLEMS BEFORE:  Learn how to protect or redact confidential client information (easy with Adobe Acrobat Writer).  I take the extra step of posting on a web site to make it easy to show - over the phone, quickly.  See /clientsuccessstoriesall.html

 

7.  ADVANCED:  GET GOOD AT QUANTIFYING THE VALUE OF YOUR WORK: Results of our work can almost always be quantified.  Costs down, sales up, cycle times reduced, employee retention and quality of life, quantity produced per hour, reduction in the cost of quality (not doing things right the first time), reduced rework, reduced capital invested, improved levels of service... see Results Resume examples (bottom left) and  /clientsuccessstoriesall.html for examples.

 

 

 

 

9/11/17 - The Stephen Dunham Method for Increasing Job Leads from Four Per Week to FORTY PER WEEK.  This is an outline of what we will be covering - video to follow - as Stephen explains his methods.  I DID NOT BELIEVE HIM WHEN HE FIRST TOLD ME - BUT IT WORKS.  I HAVE GOTTEN AT LEAST 10 GIGS WITH THIS METHOD.

 

PRECONDITIONS:

  • YOUR RESULTS RESUME:  Think through all your assignments and rough up the Problem, Solution and Results for each.  The "activity" based resume works poorly - if at all.  RESULTS are what matter.
  • LOW RATES MEANS BAD JOBS - FOCUS ON HIGHER RATE

 

GOALS:

•Purpose of profile is to get conversation. Less detail is better

•COMMODITY HIRES vs SPECIALTY, HARD TO FIND hire

     ◦Higher rate = better jobs

•Like flying a helicopter:  Always ready for a crash landing

 

AGENDA

 

INITIAL OVERVIEW:

 

GOALS OF THE JOB SEARCH AND TOOLS:

•Continue to be viable, competitive, value-add consultant (into 60s and beyond)

•Purpose of profile is to get conversation. Less detail is better

•COMMODITY HIRES vs SPECIALTY, HARD TO FIND hire

     ◦Higher rate = better jobs

•Like flying a helicopter:  Always ready for a crash landing

•Tactics WILL VARY with seniority, how bad you need the gig, etc.

•Tom's Live Experience - based on Stephen's Coaching

     ◦Initial Profile Decisions

          ◾(What jobs / titles to target, hiring manager profile, how much detail)

          ◾Who are you competing with?

          ◾Profile vs. Full Resume

     ◦Setting Up Monster, Dice, Career Builder Accounts

          ◾Separate gmail account for each

          ◾Profile Settings:  Cover the basics:  High vs. Low Base pay, willing to travel, open to contract and

             full time, etc.

     ◦How to Get the Most Calls and Emails:

          ◾Upload / refresh daily

          ◾Underscore / space / other special character in first position of file name

          ◾Keywords:

               ◾Technical

               ◾Industry

               ◾Functional Skills:  "Agile

     ◦Responding To Recruiter Emails and Phone Calls:

          ◾Sorting Wheat from Chaff (varies with how bad you need the gig)

               ◾Respond to emails that look good

               ◾Legitimate recruiters will telephone you immediately

               ◾Put aside some preconceptions

               ◾Non-English speaking - being patient pays off + Christ-like

          ◾Ask Questions:

               ◾How long posted?  How many candidates? What is your processor?

          ◾When Get Lead from Numerous Recruiters in Same Day:  Very unlikely.

          ◾When Asked to Revise the Resume:  How much work to put in?

     ◦Technical or HR Screen or First Interview:

          ◾Normal Interview Skills - you can take if from here.

          ◾CAUTIONS:

               ◾Linked In picture, professional - Linked In consistent with Profile / Resume

               ◾Social Media Awareness - Facebook - if controversial - even family - can cost you the gig

 

ADDITIONAL QUESTIONS / TOPICS

     •Dealing with Marginal English Speakers

          ◦Put aside some preconceptions

               ◾Non-English speaking - being patient pays off + Christ-like

          ◦Tom:  Finding that "no" gets you escalated sometimes

               ◾"No VMS / Online Submissions"

     •Linked In Vs. Dice, Monster, Career Builder

     •RESUME REWORK FOR JOB LEADS:  How Much Effort?

          ◦STEPHEN'S POLICY:  DON'T DO IT!

               ◾Makes dates available on his Linked In

               ◾ONLY EXCEPTIONS:  Somebody inside helping / coaching, know on short list, know emailing

                  directly to hiring manager, know urgent need

          ◦May vary by seniority - rate looking for

          ◦Tom has benefited from keeping a MASTER RESUME (30 pages) in Word.  It is formatted to make it

            easy to cut and paste - create tightly tuned profiles / resumes

     •SNAKEBIT / COMMODITIZED / "NEVER GOING TO GET THE JOB" EMPLOYERS:

          ◦American

          ◦Southwest Airlines

          ◦CBRE???

     •APPLYING ONLINE:  NO LEADS FROM 2500+ JOBS APPLIED TO ONLINE

     •HOW MUCH TIME TO SPEND ON RESUME POSTING TECHNIQUE vs PERSONAL NETWORKING???

     •"NO VMS SUBMISSIONS" Test by Tom

     •MARKET VALIDATION ON WHERE TO FOCUS, WHAT SKILLS ARE BEING HIRED:

 

6/1/17:  Stephen Dunham  "Don't want to brag but I can consistently find work in two weeks as Senior Agile Business Analyst when I really need it."

 

 

OVERVIEW:  Below is Tom and Stephen's best advice on this topic.  Some big concepts:

 

•COMMODITY HIRES vs SPECIALTY, HARD TO FIND,URGENT COMPELLING NEED HIRES:  Much

of what is below and the frustration we have finding work is due to employer efforts to

COMMODITIZE hiring.

 

•Tom's results, about 700 email / phone inquiries per contract job offer, show the process of sorting through commodity jobs to specialty, hard to find jobs.  (I NEVER get the commodity gigs…)

 

•At our level, our goal is to find ways to get the hiring manager when he/she has a specialty, hard to find need.

 

•MARKET VALIDATION ON WHERE TO FOCUS, WHAT SKILLS ARE BEING HIRED:  The following process has helped Stephen, me and others enormously in understanding what NOT to pursue (commodity or no demand) vs. where our skills fit hard to find, specialty hires.  I call this a market-validated UCN (Urgent Compelling Need.)

 

 

 

PRECONDITION - YOUR RESULTS RESUME: Think through all your assignments and rough up the Problem, Solution and Results for each.  The "activity" based resume works poorly - if at all.  RESULTS are what matter.

 

•Rapid hires happen when you meet a hiring manager who needs the results you have produced - you have solved his / her UCN problem before.

 

•Your best focus will emerge from the process below - recruiters contacting you because they believe you have produced results their clients are willing to pay for.  Your Results + Hiring Manager Urgent Compelling Need + Market Validation that you are competitive for the gig = GOOD FOCUS AREA.  (You get hired at an acceptable rate -multiple times.)

 

•POSSIBLE BREAKTHROUGH RESULTS RESUME for Steve McNair - NOTHING BUT JOB TITLE SOUGHT AND 1/2 PAGE LIST OF RESULTS:  Click Here  ***

 

 

None of this is easy but it can be done in one to three months (depending on where you start from.)  Our prayer and trust is that God will get you and your family through to a better way.

 

 

Advice for Each Profile You Are Testing:

     1. Define Target Hiring Manager and His/Her UCN:  Industry, company size, location, Urgent

         Compelling Need you can solve

 

     2. Define Job Title HIRING MANAGER IS LOOKING FOR.  Clear

 

     3. Profiles / Focus Niches BUZZWORDS, CONSISTENTLY STRUGGLING, FAILING.  Learn from

         other's failures.  We are not sure WHY - just know these focus areas have failed for many

         people.

            • Operations improvement, Lean,Six Sigma, Operational Metrics

            • Mentoring, Coaching

            • Workforce Management

            • Costing, Cost Modeling

            • Process Improvement, Reengineering, Workflow (mixed)

            • Back Office, Metrics

            • Project Management (mixed)

            • Agile (mixed)

 

     4. The Profile / Resume:  Confusion here - easy to waste tons of time.  Do quickly, get your

        market feedback to revise (there is no end to well intended advice that I pay no attention to…)

            a. 4-6 Second Rule, Top Half Only:  Much evidence that commodity (and some specialty

                hires) receive 100+ resumes and are screened in 4-6 seconds

            b. PROFILE or SHORT RESUME:

                 i. Defined as 1-3 pages

                 ii. SOLE  PURPOSE IS TO GET THROUGH THE SCREENS AND "GET A CONVERSATION"

                 iii. When in doubt, add a key word or competency.  Tom and Stephen used to wait until

                      strong in the competency before adding.  Now regarding this as a mistake -  a barrier

                      to"getting the conversation".  Plenty of ways to fully explain your skill level truthfully

                      later in the process.

            c. RESUME:  Tom maintains a master resume with full details for all projects.  Results below

                nine to 15 page resume (Tom is reworking and testing shorter profiles)

            d. Rough these up, key stuff only, don't waste too much time - you will get market feedback

                to fine tune

 

     5. FIND A BUDDY who fits Hiring Manager Profile, show profile, would you call this guy / gal?

         Hire them?

 

     6. Think through Your Competition:  How many people can fool the hiring manager into

         believing they can solve the UCN? (for less money…)

 

     7. Think Through Type of Hire, Your Best Channel

            a. COMMODITIZED HIRES:

                i. Think Through the "Junior Recruiter - looking for reasons to screen you out" Problem

                   1. Keyword screen out (some people add the job definition key words for every resume

                       they submit)

                   2. Unconventional Resume Screen Out (generally looking for chronological resume with

                       5 employers, keywords matching search, 15 years or less of history)

                   3. "Too Tenured" screen out

                ii. You get entered into hiring company's Online Submission (VMS) system

                iii. May not be a good channel for senior, experienced, high value people

            b. SPECIALTY / HARD TO FIND HIRES:

                i. How can you work through recruiters who have direct access to the hiring manager?

                ii. BEST to network in to them yourself if possible

 

     8. Revise your profile and post to Career Builder, Linked In, Dice, Monster.  Move ahead, test

         market soon as you can.  It takes some time to get to clarity,focus

            a. Tom, others in IT have "key, current technologies" to anchor their profiles around

                i. REALLY helps if you can get there

            b. Tom's recent experience (after years of practice…)   DICE and Career Builder combined:

                i. About 700 inquires (emails / calls) per month

                ii. About 50 inquires worth responding to per month

                iii. About 1 offer per month (varies with economy up or down)

                iv. I am very picky - and still get burned with short, volatile contract work.

                v. Stephen Dunham, the best I know at this, can consistently get 1 offer in two weeks as a

                    Senior Agile Business Analyst

            c. Career Builder has best key word,searches, resume views feedback.  The following report

                shows on Tom's home page.  Shows results after a 30 day test

 

 

6/24/17 - REMINDER - FOUR KEY TIPS FOR BETTER NETWORKING

 

1.  HELP OTHER PEOPLE FIRST - LIFETIME HABIT - BEFORE YOU NEED HELP

 

2.  Your Know and Trust Network: Reconnect with everyone you can find that knows your work - especially former co-workers.  Call them, connect with them, meet for coffee...  Ask for advice, a point in the right direction (you are not begging for a job.)  Ask what you can do for them.

 

3.  Spend Your Time with People Who Already Have Jobs: I set the goal of one face to face per day with employed network connections.  DO NOT fall into the trap of spending all your time with the fellow unemployed.  You will notice a BIG improvement in your morale and good things will result.

 

4.  Results and Contribution Focus vs. "I just want a job." Easy to say - takes a lifetime to master.  Employers seem to read our minds - they know the difference between "I'm looking for a place where I can produce the best results, best contribution..."  vs. "I just need a paycheck..."  First step is create your RESULTS RESUME.  Get better and better at quantifying and communicating results you have accomplished, problems you have solved...

 

 

 

Tom's Tips for Finding Work Fast:

1.  YOUR MORALE MATTERS, ESPECIALLY WHEN FACING A LONG, DIFFICULT SEARCH. Here are some things that keep my morale up through tough times

- Get right with God

- HOPE (Help One Other Person Every Day)

- Get out of the house, meet people face to face, once a day if possible

- A GOOD DAY is when I get up and do my best on job search for 6 to 8 hours

- Arrange finances so you can take a short vacation, a bit of time off, get away from the pressure (especially if you are likely to have to look for new work often

 

2.  ACTIVITY MATTERS. When in doubt, GO, DO, TRY, meet with people.  You will learn quickly which activities pay off.

- Southlake Focus Group (Dallas' best job leads group) has documented a correlation between volunteering to help and rapidly finding work

- It is a numbers game.  15 quality interviews will lead to five 2nd interviews, three 3rd interviews and one offer.  (Tom's experience over a lifetime.)

 

3.  FIND PEOPLE WHO ALWAYS HAVE WORK (in your field, similar to your profile.)  Become their best friend!  (You will NOT find them at job networking groups - they are too busy working!)

 

4.  Get plugged in to the best job seeker network group possible (Southlake Focus Group is best in DFW)

 

5.  Tom has had excellent results with JOB POSTING BOARDS.  Best ones allow you to post your resume and recruiters call you.  It is easy to waste time so best to find a buddy in your field who can show you the many tips and tricks.

- FOR IT JOBS, ESPECIALLY PROJECT MANAGER, BA, Other Management - SEE SUMMARY TABLE BELOW.

- FOR INDUSTRIAL EXECUTIVE JOBS SEE  /MfgSnrExecsStayConnected/SitePages/

 

6.  ADVANCED TECHNIQUES, WHAT THE BEST JOB FINDERS DO:

- Build a network by helping other first

- Identify a job they want - get the job if at all possible

- Find a friend through your network that can get your resume to the hiring manager (Many people know the pain of extended job search and are willing to help.  Southlake Focus Group alumni are especially good at it.)

 

8.  Spend your time with people who know hiring managers - not the fellow unemployed.

 

9.  Coworkers from former employers are your best source of networking

 

10.  Go through a career transitions workshop

 

11.  Create your Results Resume, but don't get hung up on the resume - too many opinions. See examples below for your area

 

12. Some of us need an accountability partner. Meet weekly to hold each other accountable for doing what you need to do.

 

13.  Tom has had excellent results with contract work in various niches/specialties while waiting for right gig or clients

 

14.  Tom's Favorite Networking Technique:  Focus on target companies known to be hiring and healthy.

- Identify your top 20 targets and show the list to everyone you meet with.

- Focus on companies that need the kind of results you have accomplished previously

- DAILY check job postings for your target companies

- Repeat with next 20 companies until you find work!

 

15.  DON'TS, CAUTIONS

- Applying On-Line: Limit to no more than 20% of your time. Odds are not good and most of us find it to be a waste of time

- Don't try to transition to other industries / specialties while out of work - can delay getting work for months, even years.    Find a gig with your current strengths and make transition while employed.

-  Being undifferentiated is a bad place to be (especially for IT PMs).  Must find additional specializations that employers need / want / will pay for

 

16.  SOME LINKED IN COMMENTS, CAUTIONS:  While some Linked In work is necessary and helpful, Tom's results have been mixed.  Ask him for links to vidoes on how to use Linked In effectively

 

 

RESULTS RESUME EXAMPLES:  The following are before and after samples on how to transform your resume into "results-focused" resume. (Most people have an activity-focused resume.)

 

Health, Beauty and Cosmetics Industry:

 

 

Merchandising Services Industry:

 

 

Software and Technology Industry:

 

See Tom Ingram's Best Three: Combination of IT and Management Consulting focused on PROCESS + NO-CODE SOLUTIONS

 

 

 

Other General Industry and Executive Examples:

 

 

 

 

​Job Board Survey, Best

 

Update April 11, 2017, survey of 30 IT people at CSNIT meeting:

 

Career Builder: Better for IT management jobs.  (Tom is testing now for advanced business process reengineering.   Carlos Marone - has gotten good traction and is willing to help people learn.  RECRUITERS CONTACT YOU

 

Dice:  Better if you have a Technical specialty (Tom gets 30+ recruiter inquiries per week as SharePoint Architect, including BA and PM as secondary skills)  RECRUITERS CONTACT YOU

 

Indeed: Mixed results.  Lots of hype about 1 in 5 jobs filled, but YOU MUST APPLY ONLINE

 

Linked In: Mixed results.

  • Basic Linked In profile is a must.  Tom gets huge value from Inmail, 70% response rate contacting executives directly.  BIG CAUTION ON TIME WASTE, GROUPS, DISTRACTION.  Tom has also found the leads he gets for consulting / contract work through Linked In are CHEAP, LOW PRICE SEEKERS.
  • Linked In works best when you are actively networking, meeting people, helping other people first.  There is a big learning curve and much effort but it will pay off.  I prefer to post my resume and have recruiters / employers
  • SOME GET GREAT VALUE, Terry Sullivan methods, how to harvest emails of recruiters that check your site and proactively contact them:  See Terry Sullivan's  methods at https://www.linkedin.com/in/terrysullivanmba  Terry usually is doing one or two free training sessions per month - get into one of his classes.

 

=======================

 

(The following results are from an Informal Survey of Tom Ingram friends and associates.  308 emails sent, approximately  67 substantive responses. 5/20/15)

 

Best Resume-Posting Job Boards for Senior IT Project Work (Program/Project Mgr, ITIL, BA)

 

Linked In

Rank:  1

Votes:  21

  • Much less traffic/chaff in the LinkedIn community.
  • … be aggressive: build a good profile that will attract searches; … aggressively search for potential clients/employers.
  •  … work it - participate in discussion groups, post updates, just be active.
  •  …  Make sure everything is current and applicable.  …
  • I would suggest LinkedIn...(premium) / The $55.00/mo version is pretty good.
  • … play with the search terms …
  • BOOK RECOMMENDATION:  Understanding, Leveraging & Maximizing LinkedIn, by Neal Schaffer (ISBN: 978-1-4392-4705-1).

 

Indeed

Rank: 2

Votes: 12

  • set up "job alerts" by job titles or company …  Then, the filtered jobs go into his e-mail in-box.
  • The search terms are very important and some trial and error is needed. / Make sure you get the right criteria.
  • It consolidates from other boards. / It's an aggregator, so it brings together content from multiple sites.

 

Dice

Rank: 3

Votes: 7

  • In my opinion, most jobs get posted on Monday afternoons. So, I have a job agent that sweeps DICE on Monday night and I have a report in my inbox on Tuesday morning …
  • … posting your resume there does get you noticed and allows you to specify that you want contract work rather than a permanent position.

 

CareerBuilder

Rank: 4

Votes: 6

  • It's a compiler of sites ...

 

Simply Hired

Rank: 5

Votes: 5

  • search terms are important and some trial and error is needed.

 

Ladders

Rank: 6

Votes: 4

  • worth the cost / NOT worth the cost
  • lots of senior IT positions there.
  • … 90% of their jobs you can find posted someplace else by googling some portion of the exact text in the posting.

 

ZipRecruiter

Rank: 7

Votes: 3

  • search terms are very important and some trial and error is needed.

 

Monster

Rank: 8

Votes: 2

  • … create a separate, un-linked email address just for Monster.  It is a spam and scam oasis.

 

Ivy Exec

Rank: 9

Votes: 1

  • Not worth the cost

 

Other Job Boards Mentioned:  6figurejobs.com, Beyond, Experteer, GitHub, iCrunchData, Careers 2.0, TechCareers, IT JobPro, RubyNow, CrunchBoard, Mashable, freelance.com, Glassdoor, eLance, RiteSite (fee),  Grey Hair (Chicago area)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

==================ARCHIVE OF PRIVATE EQUITY ARTICLES, POSSIBLE DUPLICATES========

1/13/2017  CAPITAL AND CORPORATIONS ARE HURTLING AWAY FROM BEING PUBLIC. TOWARD PRIVATE EQUITY.  Becoming easier to raise private money than public - even $1 bb+.  U.S. listed public companies declined from  7,000 to 4,000 (42%) since 1997, largely through M&A.  Remaining public firms are bigger, more bureaucratic, BECOMING COMMODITY, LOW PERFORMANCE PLACES TO WORK, LOW RETURNS FOR INVESTORS.  No real upside to being public, much downside. PE now has tools to compensate high performing people with marketable securities - not just payouts after exit. Short term investors in public companies are driving talent to PE.  IPOs are down from 9,300/year high to an average of 200 per year, largely because the Public investors will not invest long enough to bring critical new tech and concepts to market.

Click for WSJ article

 

1/7/2017  Buffett, Other Models for "Fee for Performance" instead of paying flat fees, hourly rates, salaries.  In the 1960s Buffett charged no fee for managing investments until they produced a 6% return.  Above 6% he got 25% of the overage.  If the return was below 6% in future years he gave back the difference.  Currently Orbis charges a base fee of 0.45% annually and 25% of the performance over a benchmark of similar companies.  AJO charges "fulcrum fees" (fees increase in high performance years but decrease / giveback in low performance years.  See WSJ article by Jason Zwieg.  NOTE ON HOW BUFFETT PAYS HIS CEOS:  Near as I can tell, he establishes a target Return on Invested Capital for the company and pays the CEO between 15% and 25% of any overage.

 

12/2/2016 Why U.S. Explosion of Manufacturing in 1950s, 1960s cannot recur (rest of world's manufacturing capacity was devastated by WWII, U.S. held near monopoly for 1/4 of a century), cautions for boom times, viewing current manufacturing opportunities, returns realistically, implications for low skill workers.  WSJ article by Phil Gramm.  CLICK

 

12/7/2016  The "Effectiveness Movement Away from Public Company Dumb Stuff" Now Creates 30 to 50% of All Return On Invested Capital" (Tom's guess.) Buffett and Berkshire Hathaway Demonstrate Effectiveness of "PE-Like" Management and are now the 4th most valuable company (at $400 Billion). Rational management, rigorous cost containment, picking right CEO, not interfering, barriers to competition, capital invested only where total return is competitive and dozens of other points of excellence are growing and dominating.  Let's compare Return On Invested Capital for Private Equity + Berkshire Hathaway vs. all other public companies.  I think you will find PE + Berkshire account for 30-50% of total ROIC.  (Remember that public companies are often unprofitable and operating with huge capital producing marginal returns.)  Berkshire alone paid 10% of all corporate income taxes in 2010 according to Buffett's letter. See WSJ Article

 

 

11/30/16  Dumb Stuff In Public Companies:  Activist Elliot letter aiming at Cisco and Cognizant non-performance.  Pushing to increase operating margins from18% to 23%, DISPOSE of non-performing assets (don't waste energy selling them.)  Cisco took action, stock up 30%+ in 18 months.  Cognizant response pending.  I worked for Cognizant.  I have seen the non-performance there and at dozens of other public companies.  This is why I like Private Equity. See WSJ Article

 

9/3/2016  De-Mistifying IT:  I want to be the "John C. Bogle of Big IT":   As head of Vanguard Investments he changed an industry with competition, transparency, stewardship for owners and cost minimization.  Said "No.  We can do better." to self-firsters, big egos, razzle dazzle of complex investing and high profits at investor expense.  Stood up to those preying on fear, ignorance, desire for get rich quick, laziness and inattention.  Hard work, discipline resulted in indexed (low cost) mutual funds rising from near 0% to 25% of all investments (Almost $1 trillion since 2008.)  I'd like your help making big IT and big software transparent and accountable for serving owners - not self.  Julia Child did the same thing for French cooking - made it understandable for all. See WSJ Article

 

8/1/16  From Jeff Imelt and the New GE Way, 2009.  BREAKTHROUGH THINKING.  Most growth hopes are based the happy byproduct of operating excellence, e.g. Quality or Customer Service

 

Make Growth an INTENTIONAL PROCESS, Chapter 10 Key Points

• Growth record under Imelt:  Between 2001 and 2007 grew revenues from $107 billion to $179 billion, profit from $14 billion to $22 billion (60%)

• Growth as mandated, disciplined process!!!

o NOT the happy byproduct of operating excellence, e.g. Quality or Customer Service

o Dominate culture at GE Medical was cost cutting.  HAD TO CHANGE - INCOMPATIBLE WITH GROWTH

• Welch drove profit growth mostly through cost control!!!

• MAY BE ABLE TO FORECAST A LIFE CYCLE:  Acquisition - cost cutting happiness - cost cutting not enough + cannot grow by acquisition -> ORGANIC GROWTH OPPORTUNITY, willing to do what is needed

o Standard GE Growth Tools:

• Technology enhancement

• Becoming as good at marketing and sales as GE is at productivity and cost control

• Real customer focus:  Customer-driven solutions, more listening sessions

• Geographic (global) expansion

 Easy to get comfortable in US only.  Hard work, big rewards to grow globally

• Boundaryless

• Bundling services with profits

• Linking with outside contributors (whole product solution.  Improve things for partners)

• "Owning Spaces" (niche dominance)

• New products

• Develop growth leadership

o UNDERSTANDING NICHE BEFORE ACQUISITION! - e.g. Amersham purchase by GE Medical

o Growth Leader Selection based on:

• External focus, success in market terms

• Clear thinking, reduce strategy to action, make decisions, communicate priorities

• Imagination, courage, take risks on people and ideas

• Inclusiveness build loyalty, commitment

• Function or industry personal expertise leading to confidence to drive change

o Net Promoter Score:  Customers who would recommend GE minus those who would not

o Customer 'dreaming" sessions

• He viewed as adding disciplined growth to existing strengths of risk management, cost control and productivity

• Items he did not mention but key from my experience

o Queue of test market initiatives, best targeted niches, ready to go

o Cadence - Qtrly Plan vs. Results:  "here is how I did against planned growth targets last quarter, here are my targets for next quarter"

 

WSJ Article 7/28/2016  Discusses Private Equity history, trends, where opportunities are for Organic Sales growth by Matt Jarzemsky

- PE was hot, 2000-2009ish, many sustained 20%+ annual returns

- NO LONGER ABLE TO DELIVER THESE RETURNS DUE TO

o Rising valuations

o Competition from corporate buyers and other PE firms “we are constantly outbid”

o Low growth, low equity market growth (from cheap money, et. al.) reduces sale price

o OLD FORMULA NO LONGER WORKING (buy underperformer at a bargain, improve performance, leverage with debt and sell)

 CAN’T FIND THE BARGAINS

 MOST DON’T UNDERSTAND BEYOND FINANCIAL ENGINEERING

- Differentiates between PE and LBO firms

o LBO overreach + 2008/2009 recession created BUNCH of bargains for PE.  Now gone

- Blackstone and Apollo down 15% for the year

- KKR and Carlyle down 35% for the year

- PE STRATEGY CHANGES:

o Have moved beyond just LBO / financial engineering

o expanding into real estate, credit, public company stakes

o AMASSING SMALLER COMPANIES IN FRAGMENTED INDUSTRIES – OPPORTUNITY!!!

 

7/29/16  Understand why the Fed, many economists believe U.S. has permanently down shifted to about 2.1% annual GDP growth.  WSJ chart shows average growth declining from 7% per year after WWII. Click Here

 

6/2/16  Understand the Upside of Wall Street, Financial Engineering to Help Manage the Downside:  Excellent WSJ article by Nitin Nohira, dean of Harvard Business School shows India as example of what U.S. would be like without financial services:  Can't buy a home until can pay in cash, no capital available for starting businesses except when controlled by wealthy families...  Click Here for article

 

5/16/16  Mike Grimes, GE and Private Equity Heavy Hitter speaks to Institute of Management Consultants Talk May 16, 2016 Click Here for recording, *** other materials to help understand Private Equity

 

5/3/16  Financial Engineering Shows Its Downside, Opportunities for Those Focused on Growing Happy Customers instead of finance.  Click for WSJ article

 

2/22/15  "Show Up With Your First 20 Plays Ready" to avoid common mistakes with mergers and integration (Bill Walsh). Quick-Starts shorten the cycle time for IT systems needed for process improvement. Click here for WSJ article.  Part of our Rapid Results approach with SharePoint and other tools is using "Quick-Starts" (templates / solutions I have built before where I have about 18 pieces of the puzzle ready to go.  E.g. screens, workflows, process drawings, database designs, outcomes and priorities, etc.)  Currently we  have about 15 of these Quick-Starts.

 

3/4/16, "Financial Economy Out of Gas..." Financial type's lack of understanding creating opportunities for those who can grow happy customers and profitable operations. Bill Gross, head of Janus Capital, says the "financialization of the economy" that created endless growth [for the financial engineers] over the last 25 years has run out of fuel.  Many of us who care about the fundamentals of happy customers and profits have been frustrated as the financial types have come to rule the planet.  The Fed, the Wall Street Journal and nearly everything I read from the financial types moan about a permanent shift to lower national growth (about 2.2%) and whining that they can only earn 1% or 2% on their cash investments.  I think opportunities are returning for those of us who understand the hard, dilligent work required to grow happy customers and deliver profitable products and services.  The financial types have never understood this - and the cycle of opportunity is coming back to favor us.  Look for situations where the financial guys can no longer hide their failure to grow profitable businesses - especially in Private Equity.  Click Here for Wall Street Journal article  Join the "Stay Connected, Help a Buddy" network as we help each other grow organic sales.

 

*Contact Us in Dallas, Texas, USA at tom@tomingraminc.com or 972-394-5721.

**Success stories, client quotes, estimated costs and benefits are derived from actual projects but may have been altered for simplicity, teaching purposes or to protect confidential information.