Monday, December 20, 2010

The Power of Being Grateful

The more grateful we are the more of the good things come to our direction. Even to you personally. Not just during the Christmas time when you aim to give your family or friends something back. It starts with two simple words – THANK YOU, said in silence or out loud, meant with all your heart.
I myself realized I have a bunch of things I can be grateful for. However the positive effect of transforming my mind from complaining about situations I got into, to finding something positive I can be grateful for, brought the first fruits only when I have intentionally started to practice it. Every spare time. Every night before falling asleep. It took a while but soon it started to work. I have attracted in my life more positive things, situations and people than ever before.
I have met great leaders who eventually transformed to my core clients. They have one same thing in common; they thrive to improve things for the better, not just for themselves, but for their entire companies. They have the courage to drive changes to bring their companies to be the best in class. They care about their people. They are true professionals and pleasure to work with.
THANK YOU! I would personally like to thank Jarda Rasa from ABRA Software, Renata Stastna from Axial, Bohuslav Bohunek from Trend Marketing, Dita Stejskalova from Ogilvy PR and Jarda Jira from GfK for being such a great clients!

THANK YOU ALL who read this blog which aims to inspire and provoke thoughts. I really appreciate your regular visits. I am very encouraged and grateful to see the growing viewership from all over the world. THANK YOU SO MUCH!

Merry Christmas and a Happy, Healthy and Successful Year 2011!

P.S. Rhonda Byrne (the author of The Secret, and The Power) on Gratitude:

"Do not worry at all about negative thoughts, and do not try to control them. All you have to do is begin to think good thoughts each day. Plant as many good thoughts as you can in each day. As you begin to think good thoughts you will attract more and more good thoughts, and eventually the good thoughts will wipe out the negative thoughts altogether."

"Remember, if you are criticizing, you are not being grateful. If you are blaming, you are not being grateful. If you are complaining, you are not being grateful. If you are feeling tension, you are not being grateful. If you are rushing, you are not being grateful. If you are in a bad mood, you are not being grateful. Gratitude can transform your life. Are you allowing minor things to get in the way of your transformation and the life you deserve?"

Friday, December 10, 2010

Why Is The CEO Role Not Always Attractive?

This may surprise you. Or may be not. Depending on your personal desires.  It was definitely an eye-opener for me, when I have recently started my lecture to Top Students at the University.  “I do not want to be a CEO, I really do not want that role”, said many students in one voice. “Because it is so much stressful to lead others. Because you do not have your work-life-balance. Because being a CEO you lose yourself. You lose your comfort“.

For a second I have stopped breathing. So what do you like to do? This should be a group of future leaders, how come they do not give themselves stretched targets? How come they dismiss the opportunity without at least considering it? Why they do not want to pretend they have the CEO hat for about four hours ?
The mood in the room changed the more I have talked about the art of business strategy and creativity needed in its implementation, the more I have honestly answered their questions related to personal journey towards the CEO job. I have shared my failures and victories. I have talked about my determination, courage and perseverance, never giving up. I have stood there - in front of the students’ eyes wide open - talking about the need to stay honest and true to self, true to own values and principles, not minding to be different , with a strong need for improving the world for the better.  
The students’ desire to achieve something meaningful in life has suddenly increased. The personally built obstacles in the minds of students have been one by one dissolved.
“WOW, I do not have to be a born CEO, I can work my way towards it”. Or “I have realized as CEO I can have emotions. I can stay myself,” the other student said. “Maybe it is not a bad idea in few years to come to be a CEO, to have the chance to influence others“.
The students’ eyes started to be filled with hope and vision. They started to understand that there is no solution for them to be served on a silver plate. They have to create THEIR future. They have to start to be in charge. They have to fill in themselves the white sheet of paper I gave them in sealed envelopes.
For sure we all cannot be the CEOs, but we should have our goals, where we want to grow. We should put ourselves up on a journey of constant learning. We should allow ourselves to have our desires. We should stop blocking or sabotaging ourselves. The fact that we consistently and positively dream about something means that we have the capacity to make it happen. We should enable our personal potential to be elevated to the next level. To be able to creatively “fly in the sky”, full of new energy and comfort, achieving personal satisfaction.
And my final message to the students? Only those who search will find. Keep looking!
P.S.: “There is nothing honorable on being better than others. The grandeur lays in being better than ourselves yesterday.” Robin S. Sharma

Monday, December 6, 2010

The Invisible Hurdles of Acquisitions

You must have heard about it or you have lived through it yourself. The selected Company is a target for acquisition. Financials are calculated. Consultants and lawyers are paid huge fees. The acquisitions is completed. Now what?

The reality comes into question. The details are not thought through. Synergies from the paper do not materialize. Employees live in uncertainty for many months. Nobody is sure about the future vision, strategy or structure. Original top management is no better off, as the information embargo continues towards them as well. The conquerors do not trust the "old guard". They better exchange them. New management team comes to rule. Neglecting all the good and bad things from previous leaders. Links to customers, consumers and brands heritage are broken. Uncertainty and unclarity begins to prevail.
Why the top leaders did not properly think about the people and cultures involved? Why they did not value the experience and roots of the target company? Why only the "hard" financial risks have been considered?

According to official data up to 70% of all mergers and acquisitions do not meet financial expectations because of people factor. Either the key employees leave and keep the knowledge to themselves or different company cultures stop them to utilize their knowledge and experience. Many top people do not manage to accept the new management style or they struggle with conflicting management objectives. The pain begins. 2+2 equals just 3.

Fortunately there are leaders who put the consumers, customers and employees first. Like Mars acquiring Wrigley or P&G acquiring Gillette. These belong to a small group of about 17% of all transactions that bring ROI back to shareholders. They can be happy not only that the stock price grows, but the brand equities are further built, customers are kept satisfied. The drivers of success of  the successful cases lay not just in their high professional know-how in business and people side. "Gillette and P&G had similar cultures and complementary core strengths in branding, innovation, scale and go-to-market capabilities, making it a terrific fit,"as P&G chief executive A.G. Lafley summarized in 2005. Last but not least they benefited also from the fact that one American Company acquired another. Americans understand their own business language.

It will be interesting now to observe the outcome of PepsiCo acquisition of Russia's Wimm-Bill-Dann Dairy and Juice Company from Dec.2nd at $ 3.8 billion.Will it belong also to the successful 17%? Yes, looking gorgeous on the paper. PepsiCo becomes the largest food-and-beverage business in Russia, and it also strengthens its position in fast growing Eastern European and Central Asian Markets. But how will American direct and transparent, quarterly results driven PepsiCo culture cope with Russian hierarchical, relationships to government based Company mentality?

The value and volume of M&A transaction is much lower nowadays during crisis, however the successful companies continue to look for their targets. Procter&Gamble's CEO Bob McDonald during his September 2010 visit of Romania proclaimed that he is interested in acquisition of Beiersdorf if the price is right (Beiersdorf market capitalization estimated at $ 14.7 - 15.3 billion). Steve Jobs's Apple has according to official declaration from this October available $ 51 billion for acquisition of another company. Knowing Steve's art of making things happen right we will learn soon about the target. He is known for his PR announcements for things to come.

Successful companies understand that if they want to keep the momentum, organic growth is not enough. If they want to further build their competencies and competitive advantage in technology, if they want to expand geographically or just capitalize on synergies, they have to keep looking for their targets. But only if they manage the people side well, they can hope to achieve the desired 2+2=5 effect.