Your Scarcest Resource

Organizations waste too much time – see how Bain helps them manage it like money in this 10-minute video slide deck.

David Harding and Hugh MacArthur

Too many executives treat diligence as an audit to confirm what they think they know, rather than a solution to the problem of “I don’t know what I don’t know.” The focus on getting the deal done leads to reliance on conventional wisdom that flows from off-the-shelf information or standard industry research. In fact, diligence is a critical step to test and quantify what seems … [ Read more ]

Rob Markey and Fred Reichheld

Most companies work hard to determine the root causes of customer dissatisfaction. To outgrow your competition, you have to work at least as hard to determine the sources of customer delight. If it derives from product quality, then what, specifically, do customers cite as evidence? If it comes from the customer’s experience in buying from you, then what about the process most impressed them? In … [ Read more ]

The 10 Steps to Successful M&A Integration

Mergers and acquisitions-well conceived and properly executed-can deliver greater value than ever right now. And savvy acquirers are taking action, as deal activity accelerates amid signs of recovery.

Integrating Cultures After a Merger

When a merger or acquisition unexpectedly heads south, the costs are painfully clear. Morale drops. Synergies fail to materialize. Key people—those you planned to keep—start heading for the exits. But what’s really going on? Why is the system suddenly failing?

A likely cause of the trouble is culture clash. Acquirers have well-developed toolkits for managing the financial and operational aspects of a deal; they track results … [ Read more ]

Why Some Merging Companies Become Synergy Overachievers

The open secret about M&A is that most deals fail to generate the synergies companies expect when they announce a merger. In a Bain & Company survey of 352 global executives, overestimating synergies was the second most common reason for disappointing deal outcomes. We took a hard look at synergies in M&A to understand what the best companies do when estimating, announcing and pursuing them. … [ Read more ]

Stop Wasting Valuable Time!

Top management’s time is one of a company’s scarcest resources. The typical company’s senior executives spend less than three hours a month working together as a team, and usually less than three hours discussing strategic issues. The result? Constant frustration. Poorly considered decisions. Bad investments and missed opportunities. And the trouble isn’t just at the top. Managers throughout large organizations often find their days eaten … [ Read more ]

Energetic, Enthusiastic and Creative

Companies have learned a sobering truth during the past decade or so: Building a truly customer-centric culture and organization is never primarily a top-down affair, to be implemented solely with the levers of conventional management. It is always a bottom-up process, with people throughout the organization actively developing and supporting the company’s culture. Employees need to see the fundamental connection between the work they do … [ Read more ]

The Benefits of a Competitive Benchmark Net Promoter Score℠

High Net Promoter Scores are certainly better than low ones. They indicate that a company has earned more promoters than detractors. But how do we interpret the scores these companies are reporting? What is a good score? How should we set goals and targets for improvement?

To begin, we should make sure we look at the right sort of Net Promoter Score. Seasoned practitioners of the … [ Read more ]

Results Delivery: Managing the Highs and Lows of Change

Some business leaders retain their common sense and wisdom, even in the face of radical change. They recognize that mood swings occur in predictable patterns. They anticipate what’s coming, and they help others cope by counteracting the emotional fluctuations and mitigating the accompanying risks. Successfully managing the biases and effectively guiding change in this way create significant value.

Choreographing a Full Potential Transformation

Transformation is one of those overused words in business, which can mean almost anything—from a quick-and-dirty restructuring to a full-scale corporate rescue. We define Full Potential Transformation in the most literal sense: a cross-functional effort to alter the financial, operational and strategic trajectory of the business, with a stated goal of producing game-changing results.

In our experience, identifying the need for a broad transformation and implementing … [ Read more ]

Four Paths to a Focused Organization

Unchecked complexity in an organization demoralizes employees, slows innovation and raises costs. We have found that people in many companies spend 25% or more of their time on low-value or inefficient activities. If you could get rid of all that unproductive work, you could gain the equivalent of 10 hours more a week from every employee.

Focus on the Customer

Companies that seek to be the best at something may have to be only average at everything else.

Building a World-Class Global Procurement Organization

Companies have set aggressive targets to squeeze cost savings from procurement, but meeting those goals often requires a new approach.

The Five Lenses: Creating Ideas that Win

Finding new opportunities can be one of the biggest challenges for left-brained leaders of companies. That’s because many companies rely on a traditional brainstorming process that might yield hundreds of small ideas, but few that evolve into ventures worth exploring. In this brief audio presentation, Bain Partner James Allen discusses a different approach that companies are using to identify promising ideas and turn them into … [ Read more ]

The Five Pillars of Sustainable Growth

Many companies set high expectations for growth, but few manage to expand sustainably and profitably year after year. In this brief audio presentation, Partner James Allen explains how five business principles can help companies can turn fast growth into long-term value.

The Renaissance in Mergers and Acquisitions: The Surprising Lessons of the 2000s

Deal making has always been cyclical, but the historical success of M&A as a growth strategy comes into sharp relief when you look at the data. Bain & Company’s analysis strongly suggests that executives will need to focus even more on inorganic growth to meet the expectations of their investors.

Taking the Measure of Your Innovation Performance

Many executive teams still treat innovation as a black box, the serendipitous achievement of a few gifted individuals. But our survey found that innovation leaders consistently outperformed laggards on five manageable capability areas. The disparity suggests that innovators rely on a systematic approach, not just on finding people who happen to be innovative.

The New CIO’s Quick-Start Manual

Expectations are always high when a new senior executive takes up the reins of a demanding leadership job. But in today’s fast-changing business environment, few find themselves more under the gun than the newly hired chief information officer. As they step into that new role, CIOs face often conflicting challenges of daunting depth and breadth. They must labor to keep aging legacy systems running to … [ Read more ]