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What can medicine teach us to deliver successful business restructuring?

Business restructuring projects face similar challenges to those in medicine. The skills and behaviours demonstrated can be leveraged to build merger, acquisition, and divestiture strategies that drive success.

“Better is possible. It does not take genius. It takes diligence. It takes moral clarity. It takes ingenuity. And above all, it takes a willingness to try.”

Atul Gawande

The challenge

Business restructuring is a key strategy that management can follow to derive maximum shareholder value. To minimise the risk of failure, key challenges need to be managed:

  • The inherent complexity of the transaction
  • Selecting the right team
  • Time pressures and prioritisation
  • Ensuring business continuity
  • Adhering to regulations and legislation
  • High costs


Businesses are complex by nature with a high level of functional interconnectivity comparable to the functionality of the human body.

Like a surgeon, business restructuring consultants are required to open up the inner workings of a company, delicately dissect and disentangle the business processes and integrate them into the acquirer’s functions.

In medicine, the first contact is made when the patient visits with undesired symptoms to seek diagnosis and treatment. Similarly, in business restructuring, the company usually presents with some undesirable symptoms – i.e. growth challenges or increased competition. They will initiate a due diligence process and strategic analysis to diagnose the problem and select an appropriate solution to maximise shareholder value.

Careful planning and precision is a necessity in both fields to ensure that all functions are working together to execute the desired solution.

M&A Statistics


trillion spent on M&A activity per year


of M&A deals fail


billion spent on M&A's in life sciences in 2019

Selecting the right team

Patient treatment requires selecting the right care pathway and engaging with the correct highly skilled teams. The same applies to business restructuring. Empowering specialists to make decisions within their areas of expertise ensures buy-in to a shared purpose.

Close alignment between different functions is vital to ensure that workload is shared efficiently and enhanced synergies are achieved.

Time pressures and prioritisation

Like any major operation, the goal is to execute the process flawlessly and within the shortest time frame. Prioritisation in the project management process is critical to ensuring efficiencies are maximised and the expected value is delivered free of complications or additional costs.

Ensuring business continuity

In medicine, monitoring the ongoing health and wellbeing of a patient is vital to ensuring a full recovery. In any successful M&A transaction, continuous monitoring and optimisation of business processes to implement corrective actions is key to ensuring continuity is maintained.

Regulation and legislation

Healthcare professionals are required to act within the strict boundaries of regulations and legislation, designed to protect the patient and the wider community.

In business restructuring projects, a congruent approach is taken, with regulating bodies imposing tight restrictions on the processes involved in any merger or acquisition.

High costs

Patient care pathways involve a number of specialist departments with associated overheads. Early closure is imperative to ensure that costs are minimised to be redistributed to other patients.

In any restructuring project, the associated costs are significant, requiring focus throughout the project lifecycle to prevent costs escalating and requiring diversion of investment from other worthwhile activities.

Helixr’s strengths

Our professionals have led a significant number of global merger, acquisition, and divestiture projects for our clients. We will partner with you through your journey to provide:

  • A team of specialists who will embed within your organisation throughout the process
  • Expert knowledge of business restructuring programs to direct the process to success
  • Focussed project management and governance
  • Thorough experience in the integration of ERP systems and business processes to minimise disruption and accelerate your synergies

Our experts

To speak to one of our experts and find out more about this topic and how Helixr can help your business, please get in touch via our Contact form.

Neil Littlejohn

Business Restructuring Director

Anjna Patel

Operations Director

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HELIXR is a business restructuring and ERP services consultancy, based in the UK, with a global reach, expertise and experience that focuses on the Life Sciences sector.

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