Lead Left Interview – Ted Bililies

This week we chat with Ted Bililies, Managing Director and Chief Talent Officer for AlixPartners. Ted is a Harvard-trained clinical psychologist with decades of experience in leadership and organization development. Though known originally as a restructuring firm, AlixPartners has grown over the last 35 years into a global consulting firm that specializes in whole company transformation.

The Lead Left: Ted, thanks for making time for us. You’ve been an expert on leadership issues, especially in investment firms, for a long time. What noteworthy trends are you seeing today?

Ted Bililies: Thanks, Randy. It’s great to have the opportunity to speak with you again. In taking the long view — meaning ten years or more — regarding the private equity and investing world, we’ve gone about as far as we can go with financial engineering to drive returns. Back then, you could do a lot of balance sheet maneuvering, but now it’s all about operational efficiencies to create value.

Smack in the middle of this operational equation is the pivotal issue of management. You need a world-class management team to get great returns. It’s all about selecting the best team and reinforcing the best culture to create the optimal organization and, hence, the best outcomes for your investment.

TLL: So people really matter.

TB: Yes, people matter. Leadership talent is critical, as is having the right kind of fit – both in terms of roles and organizational structure. To meet your goals you need to get the right alignment of the management team to those goals.