Leading from the Middle

Leading from the Middle

PDR's Senior Consultant Christine Mikhail, spoke at Greater Houston Partnership's Women's Business Alliance (WBA) on the topic titled "Leading from the Middle", a Lunch & Learn session for women in middle management positions. Greater Houston Partnership has been executing their vision to make Houston a great place to live, work and build a business since 1840. 

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PDR Announced in Interior Design’s 2016 Top 100 Giants

PDR is proud to be listed in Interior Design’s 2016 Top 100 Giants list. 

According to Interior Design’s research, “All Giants expect the best growth from the U.S. and Canada. The Northeast, South, and West should be strongest. In addition, a nice bump is expected below the Mason-Dixon Line. Hard data tells us a lot, of course, but anecdotal evidence reveals some trends that result from the numbers. One theme seems to be diversification—of client base, the type of work firms want to do, and geographic locations. This makes sense, as prosperity allows for expansion.”  

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Mergers + Acquisitions

Learn key takeaways from Kelly Baughman's 20 years of Business Transition experience through this webinar video on mergers, acquisitions, reorganization and consolidations. View Video and listen as Kelly explores the following:

+ Preparation for process
+ Consideration of place
+ Emphasis on people
+ Provide clarity
+ Promote stability
+ Increase efficiency

During a merger or acquisition, the impact to workplace is typically low on the priority list of considerations and is quickly dwarfed by the judicial, political, and financial impacts to the companies involved. However, the physical integration and move experience is the first organized endeavor of cultural fit and integration that employees see and feel.  It can leave a powerful positive or negative taste. In a period of high anxiety and fear, empathy and compassion will lead to happier, productive employees from the onset.

The physical integration that takes place during a merger or acquisition is, more times than not, a colossal puzzle of moving pieces. Early identification of construction limitations, real estate terms, and business pressures help to inform specific questions such as which office locations will become primary, which business units will remain while others get dismantled, which technology systems will be consolidated, and where can swing space be acquired, etc.

Data, tools, and processes are important, but scenario planning is critical. The sequencing of hundreds or thousands of moves needs to be exact and detailed, and yet dynamic and flexible to reflect the prioritization variables.  While most companies try to limit change as much as possible during this period, some are more radical and opt for taking this opportunity to change their entire organizational structures. 

In the first 100 days, the goal is simple: “Get them together in the best place possible and make it work; Fast.” By minimizing disruption, we are able to prioritize change. Below are four insights to ensure that the first 100 Days are successful:

Companies consistently overlook the complications of planning the physical space needs of the new organization and the impact of having trained transition teams. Before the rapid technological changes of the last decade, the benchmark for a successful migration was that an employee would arrive at 8 a.m. and be fully set-up and operational by noon. Today, the experience is much more of a white-glove service. Within the first hour, the employee finds their desk, unpacks a crate, confirms that things are running smoothly with a member of the support team, and signs up to participate in one of the training sessions running continuously during the first week.

A major hazard to the physical integration is not having clear, defined, and consistent rules for employees and managers.  This one-size-fits-most approach necessitates that an exception process is well defined, well known and whole-heartedly endorsed by both the leadership team and the project team. While individuals still need a forum to be heard, exceptions must only be allowed on a consistent basis.

While this may be difficult to accomplish given the speed of integration in the first few months, if the selection of space types and furniture settings are drastically different in terms of style, quality or prestige from previous experiences then change management should be introduced in order to manage expectations. 

The highest levels of leadership typically pass down decisions for implementation but that does not negate the need to engage with business and service lines to understand their unique requirements and situations.  Processes and moves can be tailored to adjust to specific timing constraints and technological requirements.

Collective PDR M&A experience
20,000+ individuals; global relocation strategy and physical moves; BP & Amoco, Exxon & Mobil, Conoco & Phillips, Conoco Phillips and Burlington Resources, Conoco & Phillips (separation)