Ted Santos is a man very familiar with change, chaos, and instability. In fact, he resides in it. The entrepreneur, corporate advisor, and author was for years a world traveler who was more likely to be found trekking through a Central American jungle than sitting at an office desk. Today, as the CEO of Turnaround Investment Partners, he helps companies that find themselves at a standstill to become disruptors, creating problems so they can turn around and solve them.
“For the last 20 years, I have been in the business of creating miracles,” Santos said. “I work with CEOs and other executives to develop disruptive strategies. Those strategies become the catalyst to create disruptive technology, penetrate untapped markets and do things they have not figured out how to do with existing resources. This allows them to experience a quantum leap in growth.”
In recent years, many big companies have failed, and others have struggled to grow profits and maintain the relevancy they once enjoyed during periods of greater stability. The pandemic, inflation, declining power of the U.S. dollar, the growing presence of artificial intelligence, and other new realities are forcing CEOs away from standard operating procedures, demanding a more innovative approach. Not to mention, they must adjust to societal changes that have altered the needs of both employees and consumers.
A 2022 study by Accenture found that 88% of executives believe that the needs of employees and consumers are changing faster than they can change their businesses. Some companies, like Apple, continue to be on the cutting edge of corporate culture and innovation. However, Blockbuster, Toys R Us, RadioShack, Borders, Bed Bath & Beyond, and Silicon Valley Bank represent those who failed to catch the innovation waves.
According to Harvard Business Review, since 2000, 52% of Fortune 500 companies have gone bankrupt, have been acquired, or no longer exist. By 2027, it is estimated that 75% of S&P companies will be replaced. That is precisely why Santos, who has an extensive background in operations, leadership, sales, and corporate restructuring, is a huge asset for companies seeking to thrive in this new era.
“Success requires companies to create an environment where their employees can thrive,” he said. “CEOs hire me to work with them to create breakthrough initiatives and shape corporate culture so that they can successfully execute on these breakthrough initiatives.”
Santos examines the business models of his clients, critiques leadership strategies, and then works closely with the CEO to create problems for the organization to solve while at the same time providing tools to navigate the imminent chaos that accompanies uncertainty. That becomes the platform to show them how to spark creativity and resilience within their workforce. If employees appear to be liabilities in their current positions, instead of simply firing them and carrying the burden of interviewing, hiring, and training, he encourages executives to redirect underperforming employees to areas where they can excel.
“What we experienced during COVID-19 and in the aftermath is a black swan. Things happened that we had never seen and couldn’t account for,” Santos said. “That’s why breakthrough initiatives are needed, but for most companies, breakthrough initiatives fail. Why? Because we are in a time of uncertainty and most businesses were built with the expectation of certainty and continuity.”
“For most businesses, breakthrough initiatives fail. They go over budget, over time, and people shut them down because the new project forces people out of their comfort zone. There is no part of our education system that trains and prepares people for a new world where you don’t always have a sufficient amount of answers to move forward. There is no blueprint. When you are recreating, you are inventing. I help companies to invent and shape corporate culture so their employees don’t destroy their models. What I do is needed now more than ever.”