Business: A Holistic Healing Approach For The Organism Which We Call “Business” And Whose “Cells” And Life Systems Are Its Employees And Contractors
My holistic approach to solving business problems and to seeking business opportunities for my clients is not simply “New Age Nonsense”. It is, in direct contrast, the essence of all true success in every business.
Sadly, when some prospective clients call upon me, they come bearing a defensive system of ego-clad beliefs and their own idea of what the solution is to their problems. They are merely looking for me to affirm that their suspicions are true, that they are indeed exceptionally brilliant, and that my statement of work should merely be limited to fixing a problem or taking advantage of an opportunity as they may instruct me.
They are usually wrong in their assessments (about causality and about their exceptional brilliance), and they are merely attempting to pull me into supporting their “position” as to what needs to be done. This hubris is like a cancer to any organization or business enterprise. I don’t ask the representative of the business what he thinks I should do and then do it. It is my job to observe, analyze and prescribe — and to oversee the implementation of my prescription.
Would a physician ask his or her patient for his or her diagnosis and optimal course of treatment or intervention? I would think not. The same correlates to business.
Business entails a tremendous number of multidimensional moving parts working in harmony in order to achieve the synergy we refer to as profit or earnings. One of the objects of every business must be to generate adequate re-investible profits (perhaps held in the form of retained earnings or in the form of investments in order to avoid potential double taxation, accumulated retained earnings tax, and any other threat of capital or cash deprivation) such that it can remain self-sustaining.
By using the term “holistic,” it simply means that I look at every business put before me for evaluation in totality — not only in terms of typical business P and L or Balance Sheet metrics, but in terms of the personalities, intra-company conflicts, “blind spots,”, unproductive expenditures (one time, recurring, sunk costs, and the like), bad habits, poor contractual arrangements, improper dispatching of competitors, poor tactics in dealing with monopolistic suppliers or dominant customers, and much more.
By Holistic, it means that I view the business as if it were a living organism in need of help. And to maximize my utility and contribution, I must look at the business’ history, present condition, and alternative projected futures. I have to view each of them as a complex multicellular organism with internal issues, as well as external issues within their respective industries, capital market conditions, markets and many other things.
A business is a creature with idiosyncrasies, weaknesses, strengths, vision, blindness and all of those things that afflict Human Beings. Each Business has a personality, and that personality must be dealt with on many levels.
There have been many situations where certain individuals, with their personalities and by their actions, had damaged an otherwise viable enterprise from within. Not so surprisingly, many of the persons who have held themselves out to me as being my “contact person” with the client, have had the most to hide from myself and others at the firm, and have been knowingly (or unconsciously) hurting the organization that they had professed to care about so deeply.
Most frequently, I have executives approach me to help them in obtaining financing. Yet these same people oftimes, surprisingly, can’t tell me why they are currently illiquid, and what precisely they intend to do with any new funds which I may be able to procure for them. Businesses, like individuals, sometimes have credit problems that act as impediments to their obtaining new capital, and I must be able to access the truth, in its entirety (I am not judgmental – I merely wish to assess the impediments to my client’s getting a credit facility). The more transparent and forthcoming that the executives of a client business are to me, the more I am able to select the right weaponry to wage the battle for new funds.
At the risk of sickening my readers with the term “Holistic,” I will state that if I am not permitted to know all of the truth, or if I feel that the client is concealing valuable information from me, the more inclined that I will be to reject the engagement or to withdraw from the engagement. If a business’ key executives are duplicitous or evasive, I cannot help them.
If the business is inherently viable, there is no problem or set of circumstances which cannot be overcome, and no advantage that cannot be gained over the impediments.
The twofold key is this:
1) Will the client and its executives give me full access to the truth that I need to prescribe an approach?; and
2) Will the client and its executives accept and implement my prescription?
– Douglas E Castle
More About Douglas E. Castle’s Manner Of Conducting Business, And Some Commentary On His Personal Business ‘Style’.
Douglas E. Castle
In brief, Mr. Castle has invested the bulk of his career either in cultivating and building new businesses, or in “fixing” established, but “broken” ones with serious problems.
While he is also an expert at helping rapidly-rising companies accelerate and manage their growth through strategic mergers, acquisitions, licensing, branding and supply chain or marketing joint ventures both domestically an internationally. He arranges trade financing, purchase order discounting, inventory funding, letters of credit, credit insurance and other tools and systems necessary to promote responsible, sustainable growth in revenues, reduction in the cost of goods or services sold, and an increase in profits to stakeholders. This aspect of the services which he provides is not the primary focus of this particular site.
Mr. Castle has been a senior level strategic consultant, advisor, and director to a large number of companies across a very diverse group of industries.
Mr. Castle’s approach differs from the more passive and removed approach taken by many of his colleagues in that he:
1) Only takes client engagements referred to him by professional and reliable sources including law firms, audit firms, government agencies and others who have a knowledge of the prospective client and some insight to offer with respect to the client’s circumstances;
2) Works in accordance with the terms and conditions set forth in a Letter Of Engagement with the client, which outlines the basic scope of the assignment, the parameters Mr. Castle’s role and authority, and all details only after getting a thorough “handle” on the client’s situation, circumstances and court-imposed or government-imposed constraints on the client’s options and Mr. Castle’s options for creating the most direct path to the attainment of the client’s objectives through preliminary but extensive, candid discussions with the client and the referral source;
3) Assesses the entire situation quickly once deployed but with an eye for detail, asset utilization, liabilities, risk factors, strengths, weaknesses and potential solutions. He then creates an actual written step-by-step Action Plan for undertaking the mission to be presented and discussed firstly with the client and then with both the client and counsel to arrive at a consensus (and some occasional refinement as well) before proceeding rapidly and aggressively. This may sometimes entail an amended Letter Of Engagement to accommodate a shift in focus or a changed Scope Of Work than originally anticipated;
4) Acts hands-on, directly and very personally as the client’s Chief Restructuring Officer, and not only leads the team effort (i.e., the charge) right in the field, but he will personally undertake the writing of any important correspondence or engage in oral conversation and meetings with any lessor, creditor, vendor, interfering competitor, major customer, employee, prospective hire, prospective acquiror or acquisition candidate, prospective joint venture partner, investor (existing or prospective) person-in-charge at any government agency in order to compel them, through preliminary research, conversation and negotiation, to cooperate and to play their role in the Action Plan in order to ensure its success. He’s not afraid to take charge and to lead the charge. He speaks the languages of both diplomacy and that of intense, important “gloves off” business negotiations;
5) Will communicate on a systematic basis with the client and counsel regarding all developments, progress and contemplated changes in either tactics or strategy to receive their input (for plan refinement) and reach a consensus as to the adequacy of progress. These discussions are extremely private, very candid and total transparency is encouraged on the part of all parties who treat the substance of these meetings on a strict “need-to-know” basis. Confidentiality is a crucial success component, as are collaboration and cooperation..
Mr. Castle might be described as highly reflective and studious, an avid researcher and analyst, but also an aggressive,determined and strictly results-oriented individual, with a powerful presence. He sees the entire restructuring and transformational process through, from the initial discussions, to the implementation, and ultimately, to the attainment of the client’s objective. What separates him from so many “management consultants” and “turnaround experts” is that he personally takes on the direct operational responsibility for the engagement
He has spent in excess of thirty years working with small to medium-sized businesses and Not-For-Profit organizations [both domestic and multinational] performing responsibilities from counseling start ups and high-growth profile companies (on one end of the spectrum) to dealing with well-established businesses which had developed problems which threatened either 1) their market positions (due to stagnation, technological displacement, using profitable product lines to subsidize losers, and the like) or 2) their very economic survival, with insolvency, bankruptcy, fragmentation, dissolution and the incident legal and judicial expenses and proceedings in their immediate future. [This biography is continued on the ABOUT page].
In fact, if you like, you can comment on his comments to enrich and deepen the dialog. You have an opportunity to create a dialogue or a discussion thread.
Since Scoop.It! literally provides hundreds of articles, Mr. Castle has to be most selective about the ones he chooses to curate or comment upon and post to this site.
Simply click on the image below in order to see the flood of multiple business industry sector articles sent to Mr. Castle’s attention. You may find some which are specific to either your immediate business situation or to your industry in general. The ones which are curated or which are significantly commented upon by Mr. Castle will appear on the home page in the form of mini blog posts.