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Will It Be Evolutionary or Revolutionary Making Change Happen at Mobile Operators

Will It Be Evolutionary or Revolutionary Making Change Happen at Mobile Operators

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Published by: api-3708087 on Oct 14, 2008
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A majority of mobile operators today appear to
have settled for tactical optimization while
waiting to see if a major threat would emerge to
justify stronger action.

This status quo cannot suffice for much longer.
Major threats such as new data services, cut-
throat competition, fickle customers and regulatory
pressures are gathering into a perfect storm that
will force operators to take action to survive.

Accenture believes speed to reorganize will be the
main differentiator in terms of achieving higher
performance and total return to shareholders for
mobile operators. Furthermore, the reorganization

will be a painful, challenging and complicated task.

How to go about making the necessary changes is a dilemma facing every mobile operator. But, as is almost always the case, it is best to start at the top.

The impact of leadership styles

Research Accenture conducted among CEOs at
several Groupe Sp\u00e9ciale Mobile operators in major
European mobile markets enabled us to identify
four key leadership types (see Table 1 and sidebar
\u201cHow CEO leadership styles emerge\u201d):

\u2022 CEO chameleons, the largest group, have adapted
to the current environment and are waiting for
the next pick-up in the market.
\u2022 CEO captainsdifferentiate themselves from the
chameleons by focusing on sales and future
revenues rather than cutting costs.
Both the captains and chameleons take an
evolutionary approach to management.
\u2022 CEO cavaliersand CEO chainsaws, the

revolutionaries, are more limited in number within
the industry and tend to focus on revenue
enhancement rather than cost cutting.

Accenture understands that determining how fast
to change is complicated and is dictated by the
leadership style of the CEO. Our research shows
that most CEOs prefer an evolutionary approach.
But is that the one most likely to lead to higher

Evolutionary change
CEOs attempting an organizational transformation
have to select the right pace for change, and face
Will it be evolutionary or revolutionary?
Making change happen at mobile operators
By Tom Barry and Tunc Yorulmaz
Point of View
May 2004
(Increase average
revenue per user)
Captains (20 percent)
(Decrease cost base)
(Limited change at
a slower speed)
(Major change at
a high speed)
Cavaliers (25 percent)
Chameleons (45 percent)
Chainsaws (10 percent)
\u2022 Mostly external CEOs with
telco/IT experience
\u2022 New orientation for innovation
and segmentation
\u2022 Mostly external and
non-telco CEOs
\u2022 Expect to see more CEOs
taking this route in future
\u2022 Mostly, CEOs promoted internally
\u2022 Limited number of bold
moves with increments
\u2022 Limited popularity
\u2022 Avoidance from
the establishment
Table 1. Four leadership styles in European mobile industry

Source: Accenture Industry Survey, 2004. Sample size includes approximately 20 European mobile
operators from different countries and varying market positions. Note: The subjective nature of CEO
categorization and lack of relevant data on certain mobile operator performance had an impact on
statistical completeness. Therefore, the percentages used in this article should not be taken out of their
original context.

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