KingChapman Blog

Larry Hoelscher

Recent Posts

Anyone Can Be A Leader

Posted by Larry Hoelscher on Jun 5, 2018 8:01:00 AM

By Larry G Hoelscher, Partner & Bob Chapman, PhD, Managing Partner of KingChapman

Leadership is the starting point for strategy, execution and transformation. Building a cadre or core of leaders is a critical success factor. Yet too often leadership is thought to be exercised only by executives and a few other chosen individuals. We say that is not only wrong, but it robs organizations of a most precious resource for executing strategic change and transformation. How then does this mistake keep occurring? 

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Topics: Leadership Accountability, Strategic Execution

Interdependence is Transformation in Action

Posted by Larry Hoelscher on Apr 23, 2018 12:46:50 PM

This article is co-authored by Bob Chapman & Larry Hoelscher

Think back over the last month. How many times have you heard any of the following statements or something close to it?

  • “We operate in silos, and that is blocking us from getting the needed improvement!”
  • “We are continually waiting on them to deliver … there is nothing we can do.”
  • “The right hand doesn’t know what the left hand is doing.”
  • “I need the organization to work together better.”

Can you see a theme present in all these statements? Even though action could be taken to improve performance in the business, it is somehow blocked. Absent that blockage, those speaking or thinking these statements would initiate the appropriate action.  

So what is stopping them? Usually, the blockage occurs because others need to agree on the actions needed and take them. There is dependence on others to take action, and for whatever reason the desired action is not occurring. The people and groups with whom the dependency exists are either unaware of the desired action or have thus far been unable or unwilling to act.

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Topics: Strategic Execution

How the Tangram Became Our Metaphor for Transformation

Posted by Larry Hoelscher on Mar 20, 2018 5:44:41 PM

We were blown away – so simple and yet so . . . perfect!

When we began working with Neos Marketing, we posed a simple request – is there a way to demonstrate “transformation”, either visually or physically? Neos took up the challenge. And the result was brilliant!

First – a brief definition for transformation (from Webster’s Dictionary):

transform, v.

Etymology: < Latin transformāre, < trans- prefix + formāre to form, < forma form. Compare French transformer (14th cent. in Godefroy Compl.), also Old French tresformer

1. a. trans. To change the form of; to change into another shape or form; to metamorphose. 

b.transf. To change in character or condition; to alter in function or nature.

2. intr. To undergo a change of form or nature; to change.

1. The action of transforming or fact of being transformed.

a. The action of changing in form, shape, or appearance; metamorphosis.

b. A changed form; a person or thing transformed.

2. transf. A complete change in character, condition, etc.

 So how we can show people a visual representation of that? By using a metaphor.

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Topics: Organizational Culture, Leadership Accountability

Five Secrets of Successful Post-Acquisition Integrations

Posted by Larry Hoelscher on Jan 5, 2018 3:19:59 PM

Success in post-acquisition integration is essential to the success of any M&A. Even if the strategy behind the acquisition is brilliant, it must also have brilliant leadership in execution to achieve success. Based on our experience and research, we have identified five critical success factors for leaders in post-acquisition integration, in implementing organizational change and integrating new organizations.

These factors are:

  1. Communication, communication, communication
  2. Maintaining stabilities
  3. Integration of management processes and systems
  4. Organization design
  5. Winning hearts and minds
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Topics: Mergers & Acquisitions

Alignment: The Never-Ending Leadership Challenge in M&A Integration

Posted by Larry Hoelscher on Dec 12, 2017 3:33:44 PM

Recently, I was picking up my car after its routine maintenance, including tire alignment. We all know the consequences of poorly aligned tires on a car: tires wear out too fast, the car will have the tendency to pull to the right or left, making driving more tiring, etc.

As I got into my car, I had an interesting insight. Once my car got fully aligned, the moment the car touched back on the ground, tire alignment automatically starts to go out. When I left the dealership, I paid more attention to the bumps in the road, potholes, and other street issues that were going to impact the tires’ alignment.

This analogy is a good one for what leaders and their teams face in business, and particularly in any M&A integration process. Creating alignment with a new leadership team, post merger or acquisition, is an absolute must for the M&A initiative to generate the value expected. Just like my tires, however, generating alignment is not only a “first thing to do” phenomenon, it is an ongoing leadership challenge. It must be continually created, generated, tended to, and fostered because alignment is an element that is always on its way out. After all, all of us in business recognize that, like the streets we drive on, market conditions are never static, and are never promoting more alignment. As I said, alignment is always on its way out.

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Topics: Mergers & Acquisitions

Leadership Lessons Learned from Hurricane Harvey

Posted by Larry Hoelscher on Sep 26, 2017 1:46:55 PM

“I am here to help you. What do you need?”, offered Becca.

True leadership is shown in the spontaneous actions of people to their circumstances. When people are inspired to make a difference, they become leaders and inspire others to take extraordinary actions. In this case, it was a generous woman reaching out to support families who could never repay the gifts that they were given. Further, the leaders in this case were inspirational and were never acknowledged for their contribution. Lastly, the evidence of inspired leadership was the amazing response of other people and organizations joining in to help. There were some important leadership lessons learned from the tragedy wrought by Hurrican Harvey.

This past Saturday evening, I had the chance to join some friends over dinner. All of the dinner guests were very fortunate in that none of us suffered any losses from Hurricane Harvey, which dumped up to 50” of rain on the Houston area in less than a week, producing unbelievable flooding all around our great city. But one person in our party – Becca – shared an amazing story about a neighborhood not far from her home that didn’t escape the flooding.

I want to repeat her story, because I found it so inspiring as I realized that her experience demonstrates the kind of true leadership that my partners and I are always attempting to foster with our clients.

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Topics: Strategic Execution

Breakthroughs in Business Development of Professional Service Firms

Posted by Larry Hoelscher on Sep 19, 2017 10:33:13 AM

Professional service firms (PSF) are an extremely important sector in western economies due to the unique contribution made to client’s businesses. Lees, Aquilla and Klyhn write:

Whether the influence comes through strategic advice, legal opinion, transaction origination and support, tax minimization, or an audit opinion, every business we know is reliant, in some form, on the opinion of a professional service firm. In addition, and at least as important given the move away from self-regulation, there is the critical regulatory role of the accountants and lawyers tasked with ensuring the probity of the world’s financial markets. All of which makes the task of ensuring that each of the firms is a role model of its profession’s expertise, values and ethics absolutely key.

The leadership of PSF’s comes from the managing partner (MP). Most MP’s are professionals whose career progression was marked with technical excellence and expertise. Most have had little background or training in leadership and management of large, complex organizations. Lees, describe this situation:

And yet, every managing partner we know admitted that they took on the role without any real understanding of what the role entailed and without being sure if they had the capabilities to do it effectively. They also described how the typical high need for achievement culture within professional service firms, with its intolerance of perceived failure, made it almost impossible for them to ask for help when they needed it and for their colleagues to offer it.

This lack of preparation is clearly present in rapid growth for a part of a practice which has been in decline for several years. Creating breakthroughs as part of executing a growth strategy is a foreign concept for most PSF partners. It was just such a setting into which KingChapman was hired.

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‘The Jolt Factor’ Effect on Organizations in M&A Integrations

Posted by Larry Hoelscher on May 2, 2017 10:42:07 AM

Having been a part of many integrations of mergers and acquisitions with different clients, we have observed numerous issues that predictably arise. These issues affect the integration project leaders, the integration teams and ultimately a broader group of employees. While there was great effort in the pursuit of an M&A deal, some of the effects of these efforts on everyone else in the organization often go unnoticed.

The Chase Begins

There are predictable dynamics that will happen as the “chase begins”. As an example, rarely do the M&A integrations go as scheduled. Rather, there is a continual speeding up and then slowing down of the process. A visual analogy to this phenomenon is what happens when a train with a heavy load of cars begins to move. There is often lurching back and forth.

This phenomenon of speeding up and slowing down is due to several factors:

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Topics: Leadership Accountability

Change Leadership: Why is Change So Hard, Even When You Want to?

Posted by Larry Hoelscher on Mar 28, 2017 7:02:00 AM

Quite a few years ago, I was hitting golf balls with my 5-iron, when Kelly, my golf instructor, asked “Larry, what do you want to get out of your lesson today?” I told him of my frustration of hitting a short 150 yard slice (ugly) and I want to hit a 175 yard shot with a slight draw (beautiful!). 
After hitting a few balls, Kelly showed me a “strong grip” – which is not about how firm to hold the club, but rather the location of the hands on the club.

I tried hitting the ball using this new grip, and I swear, I could hardly get the club face on the ball. After a number of tries, I turned and looked at Kelly and said in frustration, “Kelly, I can’t hit the ball this way. It just feels too strange. Let me go back to my old grip and show me something else!”

I will never forget the look on Kelly’s face. He said, “But Larry, it is SUPPOSED TO FEEL STRANGE! If it doesn’t feel strange, then there is no change, and if you don’t change, you will never hit a 5-iron 175 yards with a slight draw!”

What a lesson! Yes, I can still hit that shot, but that’s really not the point. The biggest lesson for me was, how change can be so difficult, even when I wanted to result of the change! Here I was, a relatively inexperienced golfer, wanting to become a much better golfer, and yet, making the change was so challenging.

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Topics: Organizational Culture, Leadership Accountability

Empowering Accountability in Leadership Communication

Posted by Larry Hoelscher on Jan 5, 2017 7:00:00 AM

There is a common misconception that effective communication is a formal activity, such as a manager conducting a town hall meeting. Further, communication is thought to be what a specific functional group does. That is, communication is what our 'communications department' is responsible for.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Communication is a primary responsibility of anyone who seeks to be a leader. Communication is how leaders accomplish their work, including creating accountability which empowers others. Leadership occurs in communication. Leadership involves engaging and inspiring others to act in ways which produce extraordinary results. Absent effective communication there is little to no leadership.

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Topics: Leadership Accountability