In a breakthrough 2011 edition of the Harvard Business Review, authors Teresa Amabile and Steven Kramer (Amabile et al, 2010) provided ground-breaking insights to validate and rank the components, which are necessary for employees to have a “good workday”. The sense of “moving the dial” and making “progress” was the key finding and so creating workplaces where this can happen is their logical conclusion.
Routinely, teams that work with Margin Partners experience an increased number of “good workdays”.
The Power of Small Wins
In recent years, multi-national companies have been very focused on materially upskilling and leveraging their global procurement capabilities and functions. This has been a source of significant value—usually at the cost of the suppliers.
I first came across Paul Allen when squaring up with him to renegotiate a billion-dollar bottle supply agreement. My business had recently acquired Carlton & United Breweries in Australia, and there was an expectation of massive price reductions from the suppliers—particularly glass bottle makers.
Paul brought a new approach to the table—unpacking the true value that was being delivered free of charge. His approach held a mirror up to the customer, showing how our behaviour was creating cost and uncertainty in their operations. Adopting a multidisciplinary approach, new channels of communication and collaboration were established between all levels in our respective organisations. Paul’s approach and methods uncovered a multitude of those unclaimed $50 notes that he refers to in this book.
Through his approach and insights, both sides were able to deliver the value that their respective companies demanded. A more connected and better-articulated relationship was built—laying the foundation for a more robust global alliance.
As a highly experienced procurement expert who has worked globally in the FMCG environment, I can recommend Paul’s innovative approach for unlocking sources of untapped value for both sides of the negotiation table. This book is a must-read for buyers and sellers in any B2B context.Richard van Breda
True innovation in efficiency is not gained through the systemisation of innovation. As in all human endeavours, innovation occurs by a meeting of minds. It starts in its simplest form with one person deciding to search for a way to do things differently. They build a coalition to problem solve and then persuade and activate for change. It is a very simple human behaviour that is hard to replicate in a system. At its core are coffee, whiteboards, and communication.
The person who taught me this was Paul Allen. I first met Paul 15 years ago. I remember less about the content of our first meeting and more about his style and energy, as well as his insight and clarity as a communicator. I have been lucky enough to be a spectator to his stellar career, achieving results that for most are unattainable. The volume of work he has done in distilling his experience into easily consumable information that can be readily implemented is testament to both his expertise and insights. His ideas and techniques are real, simple and they work. I implore you to read this book, implement what he suggests and drive better value through your organisation.Jason Smith
Margin erosion continues to be a key challenge for family businesses as they gain scale and engage with large corporate customers.
Take Back Your Margin offers powerful insights for all FBA Members and highlights how they can guard against the costly issue of margin erosion, whilst keeping their client relationships intact.Greg Griffith
Paul’s book Take Back Your Margin brings to life the concepts that he has displayed in his time as chair of our college’s board.
He has led our engagements with politicians and education leaders in a manner that respects diversity whilst demanding mutual accountability from all stakeholders.
Paul’s commercial experience has awakened many in the education sector to the opportunities for creating value, whilst managing funding uncertainty.Antony Hirst
Take Back Your Margin is the book Paul Allen was destined to write. Over many years, I have seen him courageously initiate tough conversations with professionalism and sensitivity. He has an innate sense for deciphering where value can be lost and found. More importantly, Paul’s approach to value recovery engenders respect, empowerment and unity amongst those he works with.Paul Corrigan
Over many years I’ve witnessed Paul create value across multiple sectors. He dives deep into organisations to capture the voice and insights of staff operating at the frontline of customer engagement.
Paul’s key strength is his adeptness at distilling the ‘complex’ into focused recommendations and ultimately great outcomes for his clients. He has the ability to develop a unique and compelling ‘cut through’ message.David DiPilla
I have known Paul for over 10 years as a client and now as a friend and fellow business owner. His energy and positive belief are infectious.
Paul doesn’t take “no” at face value. He questions and pushes teams and individuals to be better. He asks the right questions. He brings to light new insights. Most importantly, he uncovers value-creating opportunities.
His work in building Envi, a carbon neutral brand for Australian Paper in the ultimate commodity category, was disruptive and ahead of its time.
At Australian Paper, Paul and his team challenged the status quo by successfully engaging with end users in the corporate sector that were hungry for education and advice on how to adapt their purchasing in order to become more sustainable.
He ‘jumped the supply chain’ of printers and stationers and was able to command market share leadership at a premium price.David Gaff
Paul gives frontline staff a platform and a safe environment to share their wisdom, insights and experience in managing their daily interactions with customers.
He identifies where and why value is being unintentionally given up and, most importantly, engages the same people so that they develop the means to get it back.
Paul’s approach is positively unique. I’ve witnessed him grow margin on multiple occasions.Greg Spinks
Throughout the years I have witnessed Paul routinely work towards ensuring stakeholders get what they’re after, but on terms that are agreeable to all parties. He works with a commercial tenacity and focus that is tempered by a genuine care for the wellbeing of people.
Paul consistently displays a desire to ensure that strategies enacted generated broader benefits for all stakeholders. He succeeds in his capacity to do this whilst remaining grounded and consistent with the commercial needs of whomever he represents.Sara Gipton
Companies we have worked with include: