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If Platt stays , will the last Estate Agent to leave CountryWide Plc please turn out the lights





 The “honeymoon period”,  having made the cull of wounded  executives, who had built Countrywide [CWD] as growing listed company, to a pinnacle ,before Platt's appointment which is now a shadow, of it's former self. 

You can consistently, smell the discontent on the shop floor ,the 400 hundred or so high street retail outlets ,CWD has few middle of the road products planned for the near future and there are no real tech initiatives, to find new markets; let alone estate agency experience or tech savviness.

Furthermore, there is no new blood coming into the top ranks of organisation. Everyone sings to the CEO’s same old tune. The company has accumulated a lot of cash because top executives never had a clue , how to use it.  . She has stopped listening to other people’s ideas, with the remit feeling like routine.  Performance has been slipping since may 2014 , hello it's mid Feb 2016 ?. 

In this fast paced prop tech industry, the problems tend to become apparent quickly; declining CEOs in a unforgiving environment can't get away with it for longer.


The Kinks - Days - '69


So what needs to be done when  a CEO starts to flatline?  The best scenario, of course, is if that the the they realise what is happening, acknowledges their increasing ineffectiveness, and looks for new horizons when the going is still good.  Ideally, that is at the point ,when they are at that sweet spot of being at the peak of their performance, just before the decline. TOO late though

Many CEOs find it very hard to admit that the time has come to pass on the baton.  Paradoxically, this reluctance doesn’t mean they stay closely involved; many actually distance themselves from day-to-day operations.   The reason is that because the day-to-day job has become routine, they look elsewhere for mental stimulation.

As long as they stick to safe pursuits (social, environmental or artistic causes, say), this is OK, maybe even reinvigorating.  The danger is that they have instead looked for stimulation by involving the company in risky new ventures — typically selling the stocks in one of the main platforms that was giving you exposure to your consumer . 

This offered a quick and emotionally gratifying solution to the company’s operational non inertia (that they’re  aware of) as well as their own sense of inner unrest, anxiety, and boredom.  Deals are exciting, they impress the CEO’s city peers, and they lull the CEO into a pretense, that they're addressing the company’s Growing  Problems.

It’s precisely at this stage that the board needs to step in.   If the CEO was an exceptional performer [this did not materialise] , human instinct is to trust the track record.  During Platt's tenure, she  has filled CWD senior management team, with people indebted her, who do not really take their review function very seriously [ one of many examples - bringing in non independent , HR Kate Brown Group HR Director in March 2015 . Kate joined from Bupa where she met Alison] 


Zoopla recently announced that it was investing a total of £1m in proptech firms Trussle (an online mortgage adviser), Lindsay (a peer-to-peer online lender) and PropertyDetective (a neighbourhood information provider to online outlets) in addition to its Fixflo involvement.   

As for Platt the result is that the board takes action, only when things become really catastrophic — by which time it is often too late..

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