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merger aquisition

Mergers and Acquisitions – Putting People before Numbers for Success

According to various research and a Harvard Business Review report, the failure rate for mergers and acquisitions (M&A) sits between 70 percent and 90 percent.

Marc Lore President & CEO, Walmart.com | Founder & CEO, Jet.com in his LinkedIn article Empowerment after Acquisition makes this observation: Often after one company buys another, you hear leaders talk about how they’re going to empower the executives of the acquired firm, we’re going to leave them alone, we’re not going to mess with their culture, I just want them to keep doing what they’re doing. If you simply tell them to keep doing what you’ve been doing, you take away the exciting part of their careers – the part where they face new challenges and experience the sense of accomplishment that comes with finding inventive solutions.

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Mergers and acquisitions are tough – that’s why so many fail; not because on paper they were not a sound business move, but because little or no attention was paid to the people involved in the M&A.

Case Study 1: Some years ago, a major financial organization relocated its back-end functions to a superb new site 100s of kilometers away. Families were relocated, tempted by significant financial incentives. The rumor mill was in overdrive suggesting this was part one of an inevitable M&A. The relocated staff couldn’t settle, families were splitting, staffers were not performing as well as in the past and the business was suffering.
As an independent consultancy, we were brought in to work with the relocated teams. My first question to senior management was is the business to be sold the response was no. I suggested the CEO speak directly to the staff via video link to assure them.

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A few days after this assuring video link took place, the headlines announced that the business had been sold. Maybe there were sound business reasons for this – but no one was thinking about the impact this breakdown in trust would have with the employees.

For years after this the company floundered. Lessons were learned but at the cost of family breakups, loss of trust and the failure of senior management to put people before numbers.

Case Study 2: When approached by a major airline to facilitate a merger, they explained that they wanted to use an independent third party to be the buffer between the various parties. They determined that this would remove any emotion from the merger and subsequently declared how valuable this approach had been. Further, they requested every team leader, manager, and senior decision maker complete the DNA Behavior Natural Discovery process. They needed to understand the impact such a merger would have on their people. Armed with this knowledge they could make plans that ensured their people migrated successfully and that the business of the airline continued without a hiccup. Not only did this build significant trust it also encouraged the other parties to the merger to complete the same process. All parties now understood their people and could manage the merger more effectively.

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There is nothing more empowering to any business than to demonstrate trust and transparency. People are smart, just set out a vision and point them in the right direction and they will be successful. Sometimes the path they take might be different from what you expected, but that’s the nature of individuals. There is nothing more rewarding than watching a group of talented people all with different personalities come together to resolve a situation.

This kind of releasing and empowerment is made more effective when individual personalities, communication styles and behaviors are known.

Tips

  1. Communication: messages need to be relevant to the audience. During periods of uncertainty, people want to know whats going to happen to them. Further, knowing in advance how people wish to be communicated with, ensures messaging is heard and understood.
  2. People react differently under pressure. Knowing this up front makes managing any potential hot spots easier.
  3. Some people thrive on change, this awareness could help leadership identify useful ambassadors to support the messaging.
  4. Leadership that is weak (or who absent themselves from the process) lose credibility very quickly. A leader who projects energy, is honest and clear in keeping the people informed, is far more likely to hold the teams together.
  5. People before numbers as a mantra is more likely to bring success to any complex change such as M & A.

To learn more, please speak with one of our DNA Behavior Specialists (LiveChat), email inquiries@dnabehavior.com, or visit DNA Behavior.

We Cant Agree on Anything.

We Can’t Agree On Anything

Nothing is more exasperating than watching a group of smart, qualified, intelligent executives deliberate about a key strategy, and fail to reach an agreement. In frustration, the team turns to the CEO to make the decision. Yet this is counterproductive, as whatever the CEO decides, some of the team will resent – and that resentment leads to a lack of a commitment to delivering an outcome.

It’s even more frustrating when attempting to reach a forward-thinking strategic plan for the business.

How you might ask, can this be so? These people are our leaders. They set the direction of the organization. We rely on them to make sensible decisions that can impact our careers. So, how come they are in disarray?

The CEO, after a few attempts to reach an agreement, called in a DNA Behavior facilitator to oversee the discussions.

These are just a few questions that went through my head as I watched, incredulous, as a significant group of executives began the process of planning for the next stage of the company’s direction.

As I sat to one side and observed their interaction, it was clear the room was heavy with bias, one-upmanship, egotism, and overconfidence pitched against compliance, indifference, and timidity. The assertive ones held their ground. The more vocal got louder. And the reflective and thoughtful seemed to be brooding.

Nothing was being resolved. Every stake put in the ground took the team further away from making decisions.

The DNA Behavior Solution

Each member of the team completed the Communication DNA Discovery Process, an assessment predominantly focused on revealing individual communication styles. Patterns quickly emerged showing the relationship gaps and areas where communication was breaking down, and why.

Independent research shows that Communication DNA leads to solving 87% of business issues, which are hidden as they are communication-related.

Once the team understood how their communication style was getting in the way of bringing their talent and behavioral smarts to the table, outcomes began to change.

As the Goal Setting individuals encouraged input from the Information and Stability individuals and the Lifestyle individuals used their approach to encourage everyone of the importance to reach a solution – suddenly everyone felt they had a voice. And rather than chaos, a solid structure began to take shape.

The team was then able to focus on their task. Egos, bias, and intolerance were replaced with listening, acknowledging input, and intelligent suggestions – a lively, but meaningful debate.

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As the task proceeded, the Lifestyle individuals suggested a flow chart to capture ideas. The Information individuals populated the flow chart, carefully catching ideas and suggestions. And the Goal Setters captured the key milestones for taking the organization into the next season and all agreed that it was a job well done.

From my perspective, the lesson learned for them as a strategic planning team of executives was the importance of understanding how to communicate with each other. Without the Communication DNA Discovery Process, this team would have failed to meet its obligations to set out the strategic plan for the next season. Important skills and talents would not have been brought to the table. Individuals would have left frustrated, and the business would have suffered without a cohesive sense of direction.

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To learn more, please speak with one of our DNA Behavior Specialists (LiveChat), email inquiries@dnabehavior.com, or visit DNA Behavior.

Robo police feature blog image

Financial Advisors under Scrutiny from the RoboPolice

Financial Advisors are already under the most intense scrutiny. Never have their every move, decision, interaction with clients been analyzed to this degree. And it’s going to get worse.

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Photo Cred: The Protection Booth Podcast

 

Regulatory authorities are now considering the use of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning tools to enforce regulatory compliance.

 

Writing for CNBC Ryan Browne discusses UK regulator use of A.I., machine-learning to enforce financial compliance. Further commenting… Experts believe it could drastically reduce the cost of regulatory compliance, currently estimated to be around $80 billion globally.

And referencing. A report published last October by the University of Hong Kong identified the RegTech industry as a field capable of addressing risk in “real time” and increasing the efficiency of compliance.

 

Whilst the financial industry worldwide has taken a big hit in terms of its questionable practices, I wonder if AI is a step too far? Financial Advisors, like many businesses, are already bogged down in regulatory red tape. This next level scrutiny could put significant pressure on them to perform.

 

DNA Behavior has been across these regulatory issues for some time now. They know the importance of having a person complete a process of self-discovery. They understand the significance of revealing natural and instinctive behavior risks, and how they provide the firm assurance, they Know the Client at the deepest level to mitigate compliance risks.

 

AI is limited, it provides prompts and signposting after the event. The DNA Behavior Discovery process uncovers behavioral biases, risk patterns, decision-making approach and reactionary market movement pressure points in advance. This insight gives financial advisors access to the personality of their clients. It helps advisors use independently validated behavioral data to transform their role to the Wealth Mentor by:

  1. Putting their clients at the center of the financial planning process.
  2. Matching their advisory teams, clients, goals, and solutions.
  3. Using customized communication at all stages of the client lifecycle.
  4. Building tailored portfolios.
  5. Behaviorally managing client emotions.
  6. Enhancing compliance and reducing complaints.

 

To learn more, please speak with one of our DNA Behavior Specialists (LiveChat), email inquiries@dnabehavior.com, or visit DNA Behavior

 

taking ownership

Taking Ownership Of Your Behavior

The more we understand our own personality and behavioral responses, the better able we are, both as individuals and teams, to work together effectively and avoid the blame game when things go wrong.

In his recent article, The Blame Game, Marc Corsini observes, When salespeople, professionals or executives are underperforming, they usually complain about others first.

Taking ownership of behavior

We all have our strengths and struggles. But those who understand and take responsibility for their behavior, will gain respect from others and have a healthy respect for themselves. Accepting personal responsibility is one of the most important factors in defining a person’s true character.

There is something liberating about being behaviorally aware. DNA Behavior’s Natural Behavior Discovery process offers significant insights into our “go to” behavior – our default reaction when under pressure, or when we make a mistake or lose focus among life events.

Sometimes, when we’re struggling or lose confidence, rather than asking for help, we blame others for our lack of performance or our mistakes. On occasion, we are the ones being blamed and fail to stand up to the accuser. But the reality is that such a response is immature. We need to take responsibility for our own behaviors and responses. Becoming behaviorally smart is as simple as completing a highly-validated psychometric questionnaire and receiving detailed personality insight, together with detailed information on how to build on our strengths and manage our struggles.

Further, becoming behaviorally smart through completing the DNA Behavior Natural Discovery process will also reveal other areas where it is important to take responsibility for our behavior. For example:

  1. How we lead others.
  2. How we communicate and wish to be communicated with.
  3. The environment within which we are more likely to flourish.
  4. How we perform on a consistent basis
  5. Our reaction to the financial markets when they fluctuate.
  6. How we approach decision making.
  7. How willing we are to take risk or not.
  8. Our biases (we all have them, but the key is knowing what they are and how to manage them).

In leadership, it’s likely that people will work more effectively if leaders understand them. Sounds simple! But without insight into personality, communication, strengths, and struggles, leaders can’t be successful.

When a leader is self-aware and has gained insights into how to manage others through understanding and managing behavior – success is the outcome.

To learn more, please speak with one of our DNA Behavior Specialists (LiveChat), email inquiries@dnabehavior.com, or visit DNA Behavior

 

facial recognition

Identity Hacked From Just Your Picture

Facial Recognition software tools marketed by businesses such as Faception and Decipher claim to be able to identify an individual’s personality and behavior. They state that from a photo they are able to determine if the person could be a terrorists or pedophile. Further, their claim is that photos can identify likely poker or bingo winners. Mattersight goes one step further and makes the same claims using both video facial recognition and voice. (Photo Credit: Shriver Claes/Penn State)

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The individuals categorized in this way have likely played no part in providing in-depth information about themselves. They will not have completed a validated and sophisticated discovery process. They simply had their photo taken.

I’ve watched movies portray how law enforcement uses facial recognition to identify/locate a person already in their data base, but to randomly take photos from which a personality and behavior can be determined? Seems like science fiction. It could also be argued – it is discriminatory. In their 2016 article, The Underlying Bias of Facial Recognition systems, Clare Garvie and Jonathan Frankle at the Center on Privacy & Technology at Georgetown Law, outline the potential issues of bias around facial-recognition software. They state that depending on how algorithms are trained, they could be more accurate when identifying white faces than African American ones.

Of course, there will always be a place in society for tools that keep us safe. Maybe facial recognition will one day play its part. But along with Big Data gathering, if one under scrutiny is not involved in the process and have not completed a validated questionnaire, there is no way a tool such as this can uncover a person’s personality.

Cetera Financial Group CEO Robert Moore believes that facial recognition software (referring to Decipher) will provide a faster and more accurate read of a client’s risk tolerance and financial behavior than any questionnaire ever could.

Some questions to consider:

1. How will facial recognition tools predict individual’s reaction under pressure?
2. How will they predict the degree to which they will tolerate risk?
3. How will they understand their communication style?
4. What will be revealed about the individual’s ability to build relationships?
5. Are they more likely to be a loner/reclusive or the life of the party?
6. How will facial recognition determine my approach to wealth creation?

None of these facets can be revealed through facial recognition. Some through Big Data, but ALL with a robust highly validated process such as DNA Behavior Natural Discovery.

I’m all for innovation and new technology. I’m part of it. Our DNA Behavior platform is the world’s only all-in-one cloud-based behavioral analytics platform to know, engage and grow both employees and clients using all the dimensions of a person’s personality.

But facial recognition cannot reveal the true me. Yesterday I had a tooth extraction, my face was very swollen. I wonder what a photo of me would have predicted? Further, think of twins, I have a few twins and indeed triplets in my world and, as a behavioral analyst, I can tell you that neither group has the same personality or behavior.
This is me, this is my personality. My face won’t reveal this.

 

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We all make judgments when first we meet someone – often based on appearance. We then get to know them, and on some occasions don’t like what we see – or vice versa.

 

As Pedro Domingos, a professor of computer science at the University of Washington, said to the Washington Post, Can I predict that you’re an axe murderer by looking at your face and therefore should I arrest you? You can see how this would be controversial.

Princeton psychology professor Alexander Todorov told the Washington Post, The evidence that there is accuracy in these judgments (referring specifically to Faception) is extremely weak.

 

In conclusion – you’ll get to know more about me through a robust questionnaire than taking my photo.

To learn more, please speak with one of our DNA Behavior Specialists (LiveChat), email inquiries@dnabehavior.com, or visit DNA Behavior

Data Mining2

Behaviorally Smart Data Mining – for Financial Advisors

The explosion of available information from social media, together with significant techniques for capturing this data, now provides financial advisors with a gold mine of information to help them identify and connect with clients.

Big Data gathering is only a starting point in terms of capturing user behavior. It delivers a glimpse of the client but leaves a significant gap and won’t offer enough insight to be able to advise or offer solutions to clients based upon their life goals.

DNA Behavior International fills the gap. With the use of behavioral psychological insights, revealed through a validated questionnaire, their powerful DNA behavioral intelligence, partnered with their Big Data Optimization program enriches firms employee and client data.

IBM in their Big Data and Analytics Hub ask these questions: Are you (financial advisor) generating targeted personalized offers for your clients? Do you know your customers and provide them with timely, relevant and optimized offers based on data-driven insights? By leveraging information about your clients’ behaviors, needs, and preferences, you can encourage high response rates from clients and enhanced relationships with them.

Client Insight for Wealth Management

When financial advisors use Big Data to enhance their service offering – what are they extracting from the data? How are they interpreting it? What is it saying about potential clients? Will clients be concerned that they are being advised based on their social media accounts alone?

Financial advisors who mine social media to serve client’s life events should know this does not reveal personality or bias. It doesn’t uncover decision making styles. It won’t predict a reaction to market mood. It won’t reveal influencing life events.

Advisors who are behaviorally smart understand there is a gap in Big Data mining. They know the importance of guiding clients with wisdom to self-discover who they are and their priorities to achieve financial wholeness. Financial DNA discovery delivers this self-discovery process. This strong, validated, structured approach reveals all dimensions of a client’s financial personality.
A partnership between behavioral analytics that reveal personality and big data offers financial advisors a significant key to identifying clients and delivering accurate advice.

As quickly as Big Data mining was the key to understanding customers now the added requirement is for financial advisors to be able to use cognitive and analytics to understand their clients.

Gauthier Vincent head of Deloitte’s US Wealth management consulting business is quoted in the Financial Times: Tools that help manage interactions with clients will soon be able to analyze data such as a client’s social media activity to work out their investment goals and advisers are thinking. There’s a lot of info out there I would love to have to create rich profiles of prospects so I can increase the odds of success when I [contact] them.

Hugh Massie

Well said – but Big Data will only ever become a significant tool for financial advisors when it shares its platform with a financial personality discovery process such as Financial DNA.

To learn more, please speak with one of our DNA Behavior Specialists (LiveChat), email inquiries@dnabehavior.com, or visit DNA Behavior.