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The problem with INTEGRATION

[PART I]

Our view on the fundamental problem with integration is that the word does not contain the 4Cs of essential successful outcomes:

  • Communication
  • Change Management effort
  • Control and Coordination
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Effective COMMUNICATION strategies and plans
 
We know the word good or effective communication is banded around quite frequently, however, this brief analysis of the process will hopefully highlight the challenge we see in effective communication of the change effort required, in order to lead to a successful Integration project.
  1. Communication is multi-dimensional
  2. Communication is multi-channel
  3. Communication is a two way (one to one) or one to many process
  4. Communication requires time, an action plan and monitoring and control
  5. Communication requires a feedback loop mechanism to measure outcomes
The list above is by no means exhaustive, however, in the next article in this series, we will focus on each element of the communication process in turn.
Change Management effort
 
In the animal kingdom, if you stand still for too long, the chances are that some predator or other will catch and consume you.  In organisational life the same principles apply.  Those who accept the Status Quo for too long will become endangered and their organisations will suffer.  So, with change so endemic in organisational life, why are we still so bad at managing overall Change Management effort and process?
Even when we put Change Management front and centre in the INTEGRATION process; why does it still depend on a coin toss as to the likelihood of a successful outcome?
We believe that part of the answer lies in a fundamental misalignment and misunderstanding of ‘COMPETING PRIORITIES‘.
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And this comes back to the communication processes and strategies deploy in the first place.
If we do not communicate what and why the urgencies exist and what the critical drivers for and against change are; do we believe we have any hope of a positive outcome?
People in organisations are generally very busy.  They consume, process, create, oversee, manage, do, etc., etc. a lot of information and tasks, constantly shifting priorities in an ocean of decision making and information flows.
If any Change effort and Change Management specialist does not understand and compensate for this factor, is it any wonder that INTEGRATION and Change Management efforts are less than optimal?
Control and Coordination
 
Like any process, control of the process itself and coordination and monitoring of the effort (resources deployed) is an essential part of driving the INTEGRATION agenda forward.
Deming’s Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle is a useful guide in this area of control and coordination.  The two words, however, do not mean the same outcome will be achieved in the end.
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A clear distinction needs to be made between Efficiency and Effectiveness when controlling and coordinating INTEGRATION projects.
We have all heard the ‘busy fools’ analogy and if not, we have to guard against efficiently doing the wrong thing.  Sometimes decision-making is carried out in an environment where information is lacking and if the ‘gut feel’ is not followed in favour of imperfect information, then sub-optimal decisions can be perpetuated by continuing to justify the original decision point.
We are reminded here of a phrase in a stanza from Felix Dennis’ poem, ‘How to Get Rich’:
 “Never be late 
to quit or cut bait
 
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In our next article on the topic of INTEGRATION management, we will continue the conversation regarding COMMUNICATION and continue to delve down deeper into analysis and commentary on the 4Cs of the Integration effort, namely

Communication

Change Management effort

Control and Coordination 

 ….to be continued in part II

© theMarketSoul 2015

Tax and morality? The two should never meet…

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The language, or rather political language de jour, is for the canvassing potential members of the next parliament (Parliamentary candidates in the UK) to merge two very different concepts into one, in the public’s mind. Those words are tax evasion and tax avoidance. We (at the theMarketSoul) believe we potentially know why, but the consequences might not yet be clearly understood.

Economic principle of creative destruction - joseph schumpeter
My PRECIOUS…!

At a recent televised debate attended by potential next Business Secretary representatives (politicians who would be in charge of the Business, Innovation and Skills [BIS] department) from the three major political parties, one of the candidates challenged the audience thus:

“You (tax advisers) know the difference between aggressive tax avoidance on the the one hand and tax planning on the other.”  No the question was actually this: “Please raise your hand in the audience if you do not know what aggressive tax avoidance is.” From the podium the verdict came that about half the audience raised their hands. And therein lies the problem: Are you making this a moral question now? Because until someone is able to clearly define and explain how morality and tax planning are linked; we at theMarketSoul cannot help but think:  Where next in this one sided ‘supposed’ quasi debate?

It really depends on how you ask the question:

Is taxation moral? Is paying tax moral? What level of taxation is moral? Is being moral, paying your taxes?  If you don’t pay taxes, are you immoral?

Hopefully, you get our drift…?

© theMarketSoul 2015 skelet

Taxes, Tobacco, and the Laffer Curve

As the economic credentials of the political parties in the UK 2015 election get scrutinised, it is worth bearing in mind the ‘Laffer Curve’ effects on fiscal policy. Don’t increase our overall taxation burden and tax rates, please…from Dan Mitchell at the Centre for Freedom and Prosperity at the Cato Institute, lessons from the other side of the pond.

International Liberty

What’s the Laffer Curve?

It’s the simple, common-sense observation that there’s not a linear relationship between tax rates and tax revenue.

Folks in the private sector understand this principle. No restaurant owner, for instance, would double meal prices and assume that revenues would climb by 100 percent.

Yet that’s basically the methodology used by the Joint Committee on Taxation when estimating the revenue impact of changes in tax rates.

Which helps to explain why Washington is so often wrong about revenue implications of personal tax rates and corporate tax rates.

The Laffer Curve also applies to tobacco taxation.

Patrick Gleason of Americans for Tax Reform points out in the Wall Street Journal that greedy politicians in New York have pushed cigarette taxes so high that the main beneficiaries are smugglers.

Rampant cigarette smuggling isn’t the problem in New York. It’s a symptom of the problem: sky high tobacco…

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Wake up Britain. You are a #TAX Haven too!!!

Let’s just pause for a moment: #Tax avoidance talk is all the rage at the moment…

In order to redress the balance of negative sentiment, combined with a political(ly) charged environment with electioneering by all major political UK parties posturing new populist policies (say that fast a few times); we thought it a good idea to put a little perspective on the matter of #Tax avoidance (tax planning we prefer to call it).  Remember this is #Election2015 coming up on 7 May 2015.

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So HSBC bank (more specifically the Swiss subsidiary of their Private Banking arm) got themselves into difficulty over the past couple of weeks with the BBC Panorama programme revelations as reported by Richard Bilton.
Accused of large scale collusion on tax avoidance or even evasion practices, the liberal and politically left leaning media in the UK have quite rightly got themselves embroiled in a multi-layered debate from both tax avoidance and the morals thereof to standards of editorial judgement, when corporate advertisers are the subject of negative headlines (the Daily Telegraph).
However, to grab a headline back for ourselves (and balance the debate):
Britain, wake-up, you are a corporate TAX Haven” and to cap it off, you are not that popular with other higher taxing G8 jurisdictions.
The overall corporation tax environment in the UK has significantly improved if you are considering a Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) route into the UK over the life-time of this last Conservative-Liberal Democrat led parliament.
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With corporate tax rates for both small and large enterprises almost aligned at 20% and 21% respectively from April 2014 onwards, for net profits assessable to corporation tax, the UK is one of the lowest corporate tax regimes in the G20 club.
What are the implications of this?
More FDI is attracted to the UK and therefore the potential to create more jobs and reduce the dependency on government handouts reduced.
What has not yet happened though, is that the tax receipts from corporations subjected to corporation tax in the UK increased significantly.  This is partly due to timing issues; Capital and Investment allowances reducing the overall tax take and further aggressive tax avoidance activities by these Multi-National Corporations (MNC).
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Tax rates around the world: VAT rate/G&S Tax rate (the highest rate) by countries (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
On the whole the average effective corporation tax rate actually paid in the UK is therefore less than the 21% head line rate for large businesses with profits over £300,000.  This is due to the cash tax rate paid by corporations being reduced by capital allowances and research and development credits bringing down the effective rate paid as a percentage of the net profit assessable to corporation tax to well below 21%.  These legitimate reductions are known as reliefs.
For a fuller and official explanation of the UK corporate tax system and reliefs available, we suggest a quick glimpse at HMRC site at this address:  https://www.gov.uk/corporation-tax-rates/rates
PwC put together a league table of effective (most attractive to least attractive jurisdictions on that is called “international tax competitiveness”.  In 2014 the UK ranked 16th, with only Ireland and Denmark, (two fellow EU member states) beating the UK from the EU member state block.
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We will continue to develop this theme over the next few weeks leading up to the general election in the UK.
theMarketSoul © 2015
Please take our anonymous poll below:
 
PS. To balance our views, please refer to some of these articles for your further reading:

Expectations: Mis-sold

We are picking up on a theme we have been experiencing and confirmed by this HBR article  published in 2012:

Job and Career seeker’s unfulfilled EXPECTATIONS

 

The word expectation has several meanings, amongst them words like hope, belief, prospect and even probability.  It is interesting that if you were to consider these four other words it is almost a continuum, stretching from the vague hope frontier and uncertainty right through to probability which is calculus driven and at least more certain statistically then mere hope…

However, the real focus of our analysis today is the mis-sold or rather mis-aligned expectations gap.

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Factors driving the Expectation Gap in our opinion include:

We will begin to unpick each one of these factors or drivers (reasons why) in a multi-part series of articles to see how, why and if we can help ‘plug the Expectations Gap’.

Today we will begin to briefly cover the top item on our list:

Economic principle of creative destruction - joseph schumpeter

Disruptive Technologies versus Organisational Structure and Strategies

Agile and Adaptive seem to be the new buzzwords in the corporate planning landscape and lexicon.  But how do we change entrenched processes and ways of working to align to an agile and adaptive mindset?

Let us turn to certain inhibitors first.  Processes like preferred supplier lists, supply chain or other framework procurement agreements, Service Level Agreements and other longer-term contractual arrangement all help create the illusion of certainty and stability; yet are they?  Sometimes this flies in the face of agile and adaptive planning and operational processes.

Maybe the gap exists between a process reality and a mindset aspiration.  Flexible organisational structures, including resource pools like labour still have a long way to “move” in order to create the conditions in which agile planning and aligned to adaptive process realities.

How are our own personal aspirations and understanding of the current market aligned to the Shamrock Organisation mindset?

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theMarketSoul ©2015

Cre8ing #Context – A reflection on #Marketing

Reflections on marketing

What is marketing all about? How often do we ponder this question and enter into a circular debate abut the analysis part, the tactical bits, the execution or the philosophy and strategy behind it?

But is this all there is to it?

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Once you have created the context and back drop to the ‘what marketing is supposed to do’ element, what is is all about in the end?

We’ll briefly lay out an argument supporting the fact that we believe marketing exists within a context of ‘noise’ all around us and that the skilled artisans of the marketing world are the masters of translation. Translating the disparate voices, messages and content into a language the target audience can understand and make sense of.

Of course this is only a small facet of the entire marketing delivery platform, yet, one facet we must not forget. Whether pull or push is the preferred mechanism of creating the desired effect, the critical item to get right is the physical presence of mind and being in order to ensure the recipient had the correct message ‘translated’ in an understandable, action-oriented and galvanising manner to ensure they get up and do something slightly different from what they did a few moments ago.

The following internal marketing “Think Differently” Apple (Steve Jobs) video we believe sums up or rather expands more eloquently on our thoughts:

The rest, is just plain noise…

theMarketSoul ©2015

The “Harsh” Market

In light of the UK #Election2015 and the build up to May 2015; we review a thought piece on actions required during the period following the May 2010 election. How did the government do and are the three hard choices faced then still as pressing in the lead to to May 2015?

theMarketSoul ©1999 - 2017

It is true.  This is not a playground, kinder-garden experience…

As we don’t live a purely Command and Control or 100% Free Market environment we have to constantly adjust our actions and interactions with the market around us based on factors such as:

Geography

Jurisdiction and cultural norms

Experiences

Sophistication levels

Access points

Openness

English: A tag cloud of the 2010 UK Budget Sta...

There are many other factors to add to the list above, but we are referring to the behavioural aspects inherent in any market interaction.

One of the greatest challenges facing the political class in the UK at the moment is the Truth or Dare conundrum.

We are specifically referring to the urgent need to cut public sector spending, yet the painful reality that it is:

a)      Very difficult and not politically expedient to admit the ‘Truth as seen by any politician’ (see the ‘Forces of Hell’reference uttered by Alistair Darling on trying to speak…

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