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The Hygienist vs Root Canal

I used to visit the hygienist twice a year. We indulged ourselves in bi-annual small talk and then she cleaned my teeth with military precision and sent me on my way for another six months. However, I have lucky twegs and have never had a filling so after I while I stopped going, as I didn’t see the need. 


Recently I had a very interesting conversation with Eddie Lawson who is a trusted member of our Interim community about stopping my hygienist visits and about my lucky twegs.

That’s right, we talked teeth… he asked me how I would react if I had to have a filling or worse - if I needed the dreaded “root canal treatment”.

The thought of root canal is enough to keep me awake at night, firstly the pain, ouch.. but more importantly the cost, double ouch.

Eddie explained that the 40 odd quid it costs to have my teeth scrubbed was a drop in the ocean compared to the alternative. It’s a no brainer in terms of “opportunity cost” he said.

So why talk teeth…

Well, he went on to explain to me that his biggest challenge is educating his clients and the wider marketplace that using his services should be like going to the dentist….and that he has written a blog “Why can’t lawyers be more like dentists” 

Eddie wears a number of hats.

He is a lawyer by profession, and has spent many years in-house supporting large and small businesses on their compliance issues. He often finds that businesses see compliance as an emergency service, only calling upon the services of a professional when there is a real problem. By which time, the experience is going to be painful and expensive.

“If a company has a regular check-up, potential problems can be identified early, leading to simple solutions, and avoiding the root canal later. This is especially true of private equity investors, who focus on hiring good MDs and FDs, and only hire lawyers when they need them. But even experienced MDs don’t always know when they are storing up a problem for the future.”

Eddie is also a seasoned Mergers & Acquisitions (M&A) professional and has travelled the globe supporting complex M&A transactions as well as joint ventures. He is just as comfortable getting into a discussion on the financial health of a business, or its future strategic direction, as he is about ethics, compliance and corporate governance. His approach to M&A is to make sure that not only the acquisition is properly documented, but that the business is in great shape for the future.

Eddie strongly believes that the way a business behaves in the marketplace can have a profound impact on its brand value as well as its business strength. More and more consumers are drawn to businesses that behave well. In 2009, when the UK Bribery Bill was first published, Eddie designed and rolled out an anti-corruption compliance programme for a major international pharmaceuticals business, getting senior management buy-in, designing the training programmes, drafting the global policy and making sure the message was understood at all levels.

He has also integrated compliance and ethics into his M&A due diligence. If you are getting into a long-term business relationship with a company, you need to make sure you share the same values when it comes to ethical business, whether it be zero tolerance of corruption, treating staff ethically, or avoiding testing on animals.

My next Hygenist visit is now booked, hey I think I’ll go the whole hog and see the dentist twice a year too. Thanks to Eddie I now understand that my lucky twegs might not be lucky forever…

Whether your business is hurting or whether it needs a quick “check-up” the moral of the story is that prevention is way more painless and a lot cheaper than cure.

Please get in touch with me if you'd like to discuss how Eddie can help you with your business needs .


Joel Kirkland is the Senior Consultant at Interim Partners specialising in Pharmaceuticals and Technology

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