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Analytics in the Middle Market

“The future is already here, it is just not evenly distributed.”

William Gibson

Overview

The question of analytics, or more specifically how to deploy the tools and capabilities now broadly available for analyzing large data sets, distill actionable insights from that analysis, validate insights and implement the changes necessary to realize the potential that the analysis has uncovered, is a pressing one for the middle market. This question is pressing because the middle market is awash in data. However, the middle market lags far behind other segments of the economy in taking concerted action to seize the opportunity that analytics presents.

In 2021, analytics represents something truly rare: a broadly available but individually distinctive opportunity to improve the operations and enhance the strategic positioning of nearly every company in the middle market.

Multiple Points of Equilibrium

Experienced business transformation professionals know that organizations exist in a world of multiple points of equilibrium. A successful business transformation can be fairly described as the process of migrating an organization from one point of equilibrium to another, with the condition that the new point of equilibrium will possess superior return characteristics. Essentially, a successful business transformation results in an upward shift of the efficient frontier for a company. In 2021, analytics represents something truly rare: a broadly available but individually distinctive opportunity to improve the operations and enhance the strategic positioning of nearly every company in the middle market.

A successful business transformation requires identifying, refining, and applying levers to a business model in order to generate an outsized degree of positive change relative to the resources employed. Every business era has a go-to set of tools and capabilities to which the gaze of leaders inevitably drifts as they search for such a lever. In 2021, analytics is near the top of the list. Consequently, the development of an in-house analytics capability should be a focus for every middle market leadership team focused on value creation.

Implementation is the Goal

A depressingly easy way to stump a data scientist candidate is to ask them to map out a path from identifying a prospective avenue of inquiry through to the realization of measurable business improvement.

Generally, there is a grudging acceptance that time will be spent on data wrangling, or the process of cleaning and reformatting data for ease of analysis. There is a marked level of excitement in the discussion of the tools and techniques that can then be applied to the cleaned and reformatted data. Enthusiasm then dips when discussing the presentation of insights to those outside the data science sphere, although there may be a slight uptick when discussing data visualization.

Any discussion of the fate of analytics insights beyond the presentation stage represents something of a chasm among analytics professionals. On one side are the majority who are uninterested and unenthusiastic (they did their part), and on the other are the small minority who understand that insight without implementation has little value. This latter group works to become not just excellent technicians but able communicators and translators, helping to bridge gaps in understanding and foster the development of implementation paths for insights generated by the analytics team.

Analytics as a Lever

Marshalling the full potential of analytics in driving a successful business transformation requires a clear understanding of not only the potential but also the limits of these tools and capabilities and the organizational bottlenecks that inevitably manifest as middle market companies seek to fully exploit them. This challenge is further compounded in the middle market by resource constraints, a deficit of analytics savvy among management and leadership, and the communication challenges that are sadly persistent between analytics teams and all other members of a company.

The discrete steps that allow companies to best mitigate these challenges can be broken down into two groups: 1) Define the Problem, and 2) Path to Realization.

The challenge is that, while analysis scales, implementation does not. And results, not multivariate regressions, are the goal.

Define the Problem

Many impressive quotes have been attributed to Albert Einstein, but my favorite, perhaps, is this one: “If I had an hour to solve a problem I’d spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem and 5 minutes thinking about solutions.”

Modern analytics tools and techniques are incredibly powerful, and when deployed against the right data sets, with a clear understanding of the goal, they can and will produce impressive results in terms of insights. However, ensuring that an analytics capability results in not only insights but measurable business improvement requires the discipline to more rigorously define the problem, not only in its technical elements but the business problem as well, and to act only then, having taken the necessary steps to maximize the expected outcome of your efforts.

Data Mastery

The necessary condition for the development of an effective in-house analytics capability is a mastery of an organization’s own data. The phrase “garbage in, garbage out” has never been more apt than it is in our analytics age. The simplicity of this point belies just how profound it is. Nimble startups designed with a high level of data savvy and enormous multinational companies able to devote immense sums to digital transformation initiatives may have clear paths to data mastery, but for middle market companies, the path is anything but clear.

Target Selection

The tools now available and in wide use by data analytics staff and consultants create an illusory sense of boundless possibility when choosing targets. The challenge is that, while analysis scales, implementation does not. And results, not multivariate regressions, are the goal. The scalability of analytics tools has a tendency to blind even senior level data science practitioners to the many difficulties of implementation. The application of brute force algorithms to large data sets as a path to insights will inevitably yield results that are underwhelming. Choosing avenues of inquiry with care is essential, especially when seeking quick wins to build internal support for an in-house analytics team. Effective target selection requires that the analytics team not be siloed but be integrated into business operations. This can be as simple as including data analysts in key meetings and involving the analytics team in reviews of business unit performance. In the end, an analytics capability is meant to confer a business advantage for a company, and this will only happen if the analytics team is not walled off from the rest of the business.

 

Define the Question

After defining the data source(s) and target for an analysis, it is vital to define the question. This step is crucial in that it requires a nuanced understanding of the business. By investing the time necessary in defining the question, an analytics effort increases the likelihood that any insights generated will have a clear path to implementation.

Analysis is cheap, and implementation is a bottleneck. It is far easier, and cheaper, to test and refine the algorithms rigorously than it is to prematurely move ahead with the implementation of real-world changes in the business necessary to realize projected efficiencies.

Scrutinize

For middle market companies seeking to build an analytics capability, it can be easy to be lulled into complacency once there is a clear path to the generation of insights. This is a trap. Insights are not the proper endpoint of an effective analytics capability. Rather, insights are a stop along the way. A properly integrated analytics team will not only generate, but rigorously test and screen insights, with only the most promising being passed along for further investigation. Analysis is cheap, and implementation is a bottleneck. It is far easier, and cheaper, to test and refine the algorithms rigorously than it is to prematurely move ahead with the implementation of real-world changes in the business necessary to realize projected efficiencies.

 

Integrate

Insights that have been thoroughly vetted should be presented to leadership for review, with cross-functional implementation teams then formed to validate their real-world potential. Each insight becomes a project, with its own staffing requirements, timeline, and ROI characteristics. Resource constraints will necessitate that only the most promising insights will be acted on initially. This will ensure that only the most only high-return prospects are acted upon. Additionally, through detailed review of a targeted set of insights, company leadership will give itself much needed time to begin to integrate consideration of insights from the analytics team into the existing rhythms of company decision making, or change those rhythms, as appropriate.

 

Implement

Effective implementation will require a high level of communication between the analytics, business unit, and functional leaders in a company. This level of integration will initially feel awkward and forced for all parties, but over time it will become apparent that the returns to the company of the analytics staff having a direct line of communication with key decision makers will foster a higher level of business understanding in the initial stages of analysis, and a higher level of analytics understanding in insight review, yielding a virtuous cycle of improvement in the company’s ability to successfully transmute insights into enhanced business performance.

Conclusion

The middle market is traditionally a segment that is at best a fast follower of technology trends, and at worst a reluctant adopter of them. 2021 represents a crucible year, with broad opportunities and challenges for many middle market companies. There are few broadly applicable, high-return investment opportunities available for middle market companies, but investment in an analytics capability is one of them. Properly executed, such an investment can reset a company’s equilibrium point, permanently raising its level of profitability, with all the attendant value creation that such a shift implies. Like all business transformation opportunities, realizing this potential will not be easy, but the middle market companies that successfully pursue this path will find themselves richly rewarded.

About the Author

David Johnson (@TurnaroundDavid) is Founder and Managing Partner of Abraxas Group, a boutique advisory firm focused on providing transformational leadership to middle market companies in transition.  Over the course of his career David has served as financial advisor and interim executive to dozens of middle market companies.  David is also a recognized thought leader on the topics of business transformation, change management, interim leadership, restructuring, turnaround, and value creation.  He can be contacted at: david@abraxasgp.com.

Maximizing Profit in the Middle Market

Overview

The literal definition of margin in business is that it is an accounting metric that measures financial health. The profit margin is a ratio of profits earned to total sales over a defined period.  An internal operator of a business uses this statistic to determine financial and operational efficiency. She analyzes margin on a gross or a net basis, determining at different operating levels whether her employer is delivering goods or services economically. An outsider analyzes profit and loss statement similarly but also incorporates a broader industry analysis. This perspective can be helpful to management with determining what levers can be pulled to influence margins and what can be attributed to external market forces. When a middle market company falls under increasing scrutiny as a result of of declining or negative profits, leadership should consider bringing on an interim partner to review the business and to implement a business transformation.

Every industry will have specific dynamics impacting profitability, but in the end fixed and variable costs affect profitability whether the company in question is an airline or a metals fabricator. Understanding how each the key drivers of a business impact profitability is a crucial insight that must be present for any successful business transformation effort.

For middle market companies struggling with profitability challenges, the right interim leader, focused on driving a business transformation, is a key partner in this situation. Such a partner can serve as the catalyst a leadership team needs to foster understanding of the internal and external pressures that can lead to margin erosion while simultaneously leading the charge to develop a plan of attack to address them.

Change is Possible

Too often middle market companies view themselves as being subject to the whims of broader market forces, but even the smallest companies can develop and execute strategies to hit back at the persistent drivers of underperformance.

Helmuth von Moltke (the Elder) famously quipped: “No plan survives contact with the enemy.” This is certainly the case when seeking to execute a business transformation. Middle market change practitioners understand that versatility and the humility to seek out solutions that work, irrespective of authorship, are exactly the traits necessary to drive home a successful transformation initiative.

Identifying the drivers of weak or declining (or both) profitability requires a rigorous assessment of the present situation as well as the recent past. This process is focused on answering the questions 1) What is the situation now? 2) What is the near-term forecast? 3) What constraints is the company facing (financial, operational, supply chain, employee morale, etc.)? 4) What are the most promising avenues of change for the company? and 5) What is that impact of those change levers if the plan works?

Based on the understanding gained from a rigorous but expedited objective assessment, the focus will turn to implementation.

Value Creation Partnership

A faltering company presents a timing challenge, particularly in the middle market. The analogy of a melting ice cube is used frequently, and for good reason. Preventing value destruction relies not only on skill but also speed and focus. Turnaround specialists can implement a plan that focuses on driving profitability during good times and stopping cash bleed to stave insolvency during bad times. Affixing this financial management plan to a company dashboard can be part of a departing interim executive’s legacy.

Middle Market companies in distress are companies in dire need of partnership. Building the right advisory team, headed by a seasoned interim executive, gives shape and structure to a nascent business transformation.

Conclusion

Most companies will experience profit challenges at some point in their lifecycle. Persistent unprofitability, however, is a symptom of a larger problem, and often requires the expert help of an expert well versed in business transformation. The right partner will not only work in tandem with incumbent leadership to identify the root cause of a company’s profit challenges, but design and implement a comprehensive business transformation which will allow the company to address those persistent drags on performance and thereby enhance the level of profitability the company is capable of generating. For middle market companies struggling with profitability challenges, the right partner serves the role of teacher, mentor, and colleague, all in the service of creating value.

About the Author

Brett Ladendorf is a Managing Director at Abraxas Group, a boutique advisory firm focused on providing transformational leadership to middle market companies in transition.  He can be contacted at: brett@abraxasgp.com.

Middle Market Strategy

This is the second in a series of articles focused on understanding and implementing business transformation.  See the first article in the series here.

Overview

Strategy, particularly in the middle market, is under attack from many sides.  The pace of disruption in many industries and sub-sectors and the threat of disruption in those corners in which the status quo remains dominant, has consumed the business press, investors and board members.  As a result, executives hear a steady drumbeat suggesting that the future is unknowable and that they must do something.  Such an environment is nothing short of toxic for productive decision-making.

The zeitgeist may be inimical to the measured development and execution of strategy, but the payoff for a well-designed and expertly executed strategy for middle market companies is as robust as ever; and may actually be trending upward.  Leadership teams able to discern, bolster, and exploit areas of competitive advantage while steering away from segments in which a company has no advantage will be able to attract the capital needed to pursue their growth opportunities; while companies that muddle along will find themselves capital constrained.  Executives understand that while we live in an age of abundant capital, that abundance has come with increasingly strict accountability from operationally savvy capital providers who are interested in results, not excuses.  A robust strategy offers leadership, boards of directors, investors, and other stakeholders a framework for filtering out the noise of the moment and remaining focused on the optimal value maximization path for an individual company.

What is Strategy?

Strategy is dying in the middle market due to neglect and underinvestment, which has resulted in a vicious cycle of poor outcomes leading to further neglect and underinvestment, etc.  One of the primary drivers of the current level of underinvestment in strategy across the middle market is a fundamental misunderstanding of what strategy is, can be, and historically has been.  Many of history’s most successful strategists have embraced a view of strategy as a vehicle for offering a clear-eyed path to the realization of a well-defined end goal through the adoption (or development) of a business model that maximizes a company’s idiosyncratic strengths.  Such a strategy must, simultaneously, be developed with an eye toward resource constraints, an embrace of the reality of uncertainty and volatility, and support for the tactical flexibility that will be necessary to address immediate implementation challenges. 

Strategy is dying in the middle market due to neglect and under-investment

Strategy Embodies:

  • A Goal: Plan to achieve an objective outcome or set of outcomes that incorporates resource limitations, known obstacles (competitors, market volatility, etc.) and the likelihood of unknown challenges. 
    • Example: Alfred Sloan organizing General Motors to offer a car for every price point, leading to a century of dominance in the U.S. auto market (“a car for every purse and purpose”).
  • A Business Model: Testable hypothesis of the key drivers of a business and a commitment to foster continued improvement in those drivers. 
    • Example: Jorgen Vig Knudstorp’s turnaround of Lego Group.
  • Self-Awareness: A value creation mindset focused on an understanding of the character of a business. Having the right question while knowing that the answer is likely to change.
    • Example: Satya Nadella repositioning Microsoft for a cloud-centric future.

Today, strategy for too many middle market companies is developed in a time-constrained, under-resourced, closed process featuring too little information pertaining to market factors, competitive strengths and weaknesses, methodology and cadence for testing key assumptions, etc.  This sad state of affairs has come about because strategy has erroneously been reinterpreted into a strategic planning exercise that is invariably poorly understood or entirely unknown outside the c-suite.  Insufficient thought is given to key assumptions (both implicit and explicit) and neither leadership nor investors are well-positioned to properly assess performance as validating or invalidating any element of the plan other than the financial forecast (the review of which is of limited value without reference to key assumptions).  These plans, which often look impressive, quickly fall apart as it becomes apparent that the resulting document is neither strategic, nor a plan. A wish list of objectives followed by a 5-year projection may yield an impressive presentation, but when faced with the challenges of competing and winning in an ever-shifting market landscape, such a plan quickly becomes a millstone around the necks of leadership. 

Strategy is a process, not an endpoint, and embracing that sensibility will consistently yield superior results to those willing to make the necessary investments in time and attention.  A robust strategy will address the ambiguity and volatility inherent in any business endeavor through rigorous and systematic testing.  Variance reporting, standard for the majority of middle market companies, can be repositioned to serve dual roles: reporting on both financial performance while also serving as a running commentary on the soundness of the assumptions underlying organizational strategy.  The process of developing, reporting, testing and refining key assumptions is a pathway to a virtuous cycle of improvement, as leadership gains greater insight into a company’s unique set of capabilities and positional advantages, while also providing insight into how best to address evolving competitive dynamics.  Successful strategy is an iterative process, and today’s flawed assumptions, once tested and refined, offer the prospect of a more robust strategy tomorrow.

While strategy can begin as a shared hypothetical construct, it must ultimately be put in motion.  As a result, the challenges of implementation must be carefully considered in strategy development.  Put simply, strategy is not tactics, and tactics are not strategy.  But either one in the absence of the other will yield disappointing results over the long-term.  Strategy should guide tactics without being overly prescriptive.  When launching a new strategy, leadership should emphasize tactical flexibility as the optimal approach to addressing emerging threats and opportunities within the overall framework of a value maximizing plan.

The key decision makers in a business usually reach their positions through careers marked with far more successes than failures.  This common background can and often does blind leaders to a key facet of strategy: the model is wrong.  Financial forecasts, though robust and always striving for accuracy, are realistically going to be, at best, directionally correct.  Middle market business leaders must keep in mind that a model is simply an analytic framework for thinking about the current and future state of a business.  When viewed through this lens, the key insight can be restated as follows: models are generally wrong, but good models are useful.  Explicit assumptions and regular review of same will help drive an increasingly nuanced view of the business as actual performance is measured and assessed against the forecast (focusing not only on what was wrong, but why). 

Companies seeking to maximize value should impose on themselves the discipline of a rigorous approach to not only developing but iterating their strategy.  The strength and potential advantage to a middle market company inherent in any strategy is that its strategy represents a testable and revisable hypothesis regarding the optimal value maximizing path for that company, and that company alone.  Strategy is a company’s plan to win, and nothing about today’s market dynamics suggests any diminishment in the value of such a plan.

The Challenge of Disruption

There are few phrases more time-worn, and more likely to be proven foolish, than “This Time It’s Different”.  Change is certainly all around us, but in the embrace of change and innovation it is easy to lose sight of the things that endure.  The planes that we fly in and the cars that we drive are based on principles well-known and understood a century ago.  Equity and bond issues to fund new enterprises were familiar in the time of Isaac Newton.  Double-entry bookkeeping is over 500 years old.  Organized research and development efforts are at least as old as Archimedes’ lab, and likely far older.  And the interplay of trade with national ambition surely dates back to a time long before the advent of recorded history.  A disciplined approach to strategy embraces the insight that while we may be surrounded by change, many technological, philosophical, and organizational innovations have endured for a surprisingly long time.  The powerful force of change must be judged against a silent backdrop of an equilibrium consisting of a number of surprisingly enduring innovations. 

Disruption in the popular lexicon is often associated with technology, but more important than new technology, the pairing of technology with business model innovation is the engine that powers industry-shaking disruption.  This pairing is especially challenging to market incumbents as it often forces them to prioritize and accelerate their investment in technological acumen while simultaneously fighting a rearguard action to preserve the viability of their business models.     

Source: London School of Economics

Change is, by its very nature, Janus-faced, with new capabilities and business models on one hand, and dislocation and value destruction on the other.  While the pace is uncertain, change is inevitable; and when change does come, there are warnings.  The tragedy is that few incumbents are able to sift through the noise, overcome their skepticism, and recognize the severity of the threat before significant value destruction becomes inevitable.  An organization with a holistic approach to strategy is far better equipped to identify disruption early, assess risks objectively, and respond appropriately.

Source: Wikimedia

When an organization finds itself in the midst of disruption, it is easy for all stakeholders to lose perspective.  This is due to the fact that disruption represents very different, but equally terrifying, threats to the varying constituencies in a company:

  • Leadership: Challenges ability to achieve performance goals
  • Capital Providers: Threatens to undermine investment thesis, resulting in significantly diminished upside or outright losses
  • Employees: Endangers career prospects as opportunities for advancement shrink
  • Suppliers: Imposes significant opportunity costs through lost growth prospects
Source: McKinsey & Company

Like all boogey-men, disruption is most frightening when it is least examined.  The fear of many executives is that change will fall upon them with no warning, and considerable value will be destroyed before a response is possible.  Upon more careful examination, disruption is revealed to be a serious, though manageable, threat.  Research indicates that attentive and agile incumbents can deliver significant value to investors by identifying and being responsive to disruptive threats early.  Incumbents seeking to initiate preemptive disruption upon themselves may act with urgency, but to be effective, their efforts must be guided by a well-considered strategy.

Source: BCG Henderson Institute

Sound strategy is grounded in an understanding of one’s relative advantages and disadvantages, and as such, any discussion of disruption must be accompanied by an acknowledgment of incumbent advantage.  Technology and business model disruption is threatening to incumbents exactly because it seeks to undercut advantages built and bolstered over time, but those advantages do not give way all at once.  Rather, the example of Walmart illustrates that incumbent advantages, when coupled with prudent preemptive disruption efforts, can extend and expand the market dominance of incumbents. All strategic advantages are temporary, and no business model is perpetually viable.  In a sense, disruption should be regarded as inevitable; but that fact should not give rise to fatalism.  A robust strategy, envisioned by leadership as an evolving understanding of the business that will incorporate new insights while providing a guiding framework to maximize value, is a powerful bulwark against the challenges imposed by disruption.  Though change via disruption is inevitable, it is within the power of a leadership team to determine how an organization will face change, when and in whatever form it comes.

Strategy is a company’s plan to win, and nothing about today’s market dynamics suggests any diminishment in the value of such a plan.

Conclusion

When strategy becomes an item on the agenda for a leadership team, something crucial is lost.  Strategy should be the lifeblood of an organization, a guiding star along an idiosyncratic path of value maximization.  Moreover, strategy is best embodied in a mindset, a view of an organization that embraces the unknowable and the uncontrollable but maintains that what is known is sufficient to divine an optimal path. And while the contours of that path may change, the process by which the path has been chosen, and the tools employed to assess progress and test assumptions, is robust.  When strategy is embraced as a mindset, leaders are empowered to filter out the noise of the moment, capital providers can take comfort that value creation does not rely solely on favorable market conditions, employees understand that their organization has a view of itself and its place in the market, and suppliers and other outside partners understand that they are partnered with an organization focused on being its best self and never a pale imitation of a competitor.  This is a vision of strategy that is enduring, and one that will lead every organization down a bespoke path of optimization and value creation, regardless of the nature of the competition.

Disruption threatens in every market niche, either as a grim reality or as an overdue but fearfully expected visitor.  However, while disruption, i.e. change writ large, may be inevitable, the winners and losers are not.  Disrupters can be right but early, incumbents can accurately discern a disruptive threat and neutralize it, and/or incumbents can reposition themselves in an altered ecosystem.  When viewed through this lens, disruption is not a threat to strategy but a proof of its utility, as only a holistic view of a company’s optimal value maximizing path can permit a reasoned and objective assessment of disruptive threats and inform responses that are appropriate in size and scope.

Strategy is more than strategic planning.  Organizations that invest in a holistic and rigorous approach to strategy are positioning themselves for long-term success and value creation, regardless of threats. 

About the Author

David Johnson (@TurnaroundDavid) is Founder and Managing Partner of Abraxas Group, a boutique advisory firm focused on providing transformational leadership to middle market companies in transition.  Over the course of his career David has served as financial advisor and interim executive to dozens of middle market companies.  David is also a recognized thought leader on the topics of business transformation, change management, interim leadership, restructuring, turnaround, and value creation.  He can be contacted at: david@abraxasgp.com.

The Base of the Pyramid

This article originally appeared in Business Insider and TMA Midwest Blog

There is a palpable sense of impatience in the business press when discussing our tepid recovery.  People are anxious to start up the music and resume the party and are seemingly resentful of those who point out that however much we might wish to be done with the Great Recession it is not done with us.

One area that has been receiving too little attention is the wide divergence in outlook between large (national and multi-national) companies and those in the middle market (here defined as companies with less than 500 employees; the two sides of that divide having an approximately equal number of U.S. employees as of 2008).  Companies in the S&P 500 are enjoying historically high levels of profitability (often driven by robust sales to emerging market countries) and sitting on a veritable mountain of cash.  Meanwhile, middle market companies are hard pressed to find growth domestically and many lack the financial and managerial strength necessary to exploit growth opportunities in emerging markets.

The divergence between the upper and middle markets is not limited to growth prospects:

  • Operations: Larger companies have aggressively taken advantage of globalization to remake their organizations in the past 15 years.  They have seized on labor force arbitrage opportunities, remade their supply chains and outsourced non-core business functions.  Companies in the middle market are woefully behind the curve, and as a result have both higher costs and lower operational flexibility.  Taking full advantage of globalization to remake operations is not solely a matter of finding the lowest cost.  Issues such as order lead times, strength of native labor pool, legal environment, etc must be taken into account as well.
  • Commodities: While commodity prices received considerable attention in 2011 the reality is that broad macro factor point to upward-trending prices and considerable volatility as the new normal.  For middle market companies this will necessitate considerable effort to preserve gross margins, in particular the adoption of hedging strategies and a revamped approach to purchasing.
  • Systems: All the buzz around Big Data tends to obscure the fact that many companies have yet to implement ‘small data” initiatives such as KPI dashboards and other simple yet highly effective business intelligence tools.  I have been on numerous client engagements at companies with sales up to $1 billion that have lacked the ability to identify their most profitable product or sales channel.

The opportunities inherent in the U.S. middle market are enormous, but many of the bullish pronouncements in the general business press ignore the challenges these companies face.  Many are considerably behind their larger competitors in enjoying the fruits of globalization.  The path to profitability and growth for this sector of the economy will be a focus on basics.  Rationalizing SKUs, firing bas customers, identifying and increasing investment in high-return sales channels and shutting under-performing locations/divisions are the kind of unsexy blocking and tackling operations that will drive middle market profitability through the current decade.

About the Author

David Johnson (@TurnaroundDavid) is founder and Managing Partner of Abraxas Group, a boutique advisory firm focused on providing transformational leadership to middle market companies in transition.  Over the course of his career David has served as financial advisor and interim executive to dozens of middle market companies.  David is also a recognized thought leader on the topics of business transformation, change management, interim leadership, restructuring, turnaround, and value creation.  He can be contacted at: david@abraxasgp.com.