Sustainable Business Growth Through a Strong Team
The company has been in existence for over 10 years. Five years ago, it successfully expanded, but in recent years, its growth has slowed down, and profitability has significantly declined.
The objective of the corporate project is to attain sustainable business growth by establishing a robust top team, comprising members who exhibit autonomy and proactivity in making complex decisions, and possess the ability to adapt flexibly in uncertain conditions.
- The company’s development has been guided by a focus on the efficiency of employees and processes.
- The CEO placed trust in the team’s potential.
- Together with the team, the leader embarked on a progressive journey towards their goals, adopting Agile methodologies and effectively analyzing mistakes.
- Instead of diplomatic gestures, the team experienced constructive conflicts, which top managers no longer brushed under the rug.
- Employees from different regions successfully integrated into the team, fostering mutual respect, and top managers acknowledged each other’s strengths.
- Top managers stopped assuming responsibilities on behalf of their colleagues and began seeking clarification more frequently.
- Team members learned to consider the broader impact of their actions, going beyond their own areas of work.
- Top managers enhanced their planning skills and became proficient in conducting retrospectives for tasks and projects.
- The company continues to achieve stable growth in revenue and profitability.
Prior to the first session, the consultants conducted interviews with all the top managers to acquaint themselves with the session participants and gather information about the current state of affairs in the company.
Results of Diagnostic Interviews (Team Strengths)
- The production is equipped with state-of-the-art facilities, and the employees have obtained international food safety certifications. The team takes great pride in this achievement.
- Top managers consider working for this company prestigious and enjoy sharing their affiliation with others.
- The company’s leadership actively supports self-development initiatives and allocates a budget for training.
- Team members are highly dedicated to the company and aspire to showcase their abilities to the world through the company, aiming to achieve a high European standard of business.
- The leaders have a strong understanding of each other’s moods and possess a significant amount of knowledge about each other beyond work. Within departments, employees share warm, almost familial relationships.
- Top managers hold a great deal of respect for the company’s CEO and place their trust in them.
- The company built its production from the ground up, and the team contributed their knowledge and expertise.
Results of Diagnostic Interviews (Areas Requiring Changes)
Interaction between the CEO and the team:
- The CEO is dissatisfied with the company’s slow growth and the lack of autonomy within the team.
- The CEO has established relationships with specific employees, but there is minimal interaction within the team.
- Top managers manipulate their leader. When providing information, they interpret it in favor of their own departments. The logistics and sales departments, in particular, compete for the CEO’s attention.
- A culture of fear exists within the team, as everyone is apprehensive about the CEO’s reactions. Mistakes can result in termination.
- Important decisions are made solely by the CEO. Although initiative is encouraged in words, it is not effectively promoted in practice.
Areas for Growth:
- The team is divided into two conflicting groups: local employees who grew up in the region, and specialists from the capital who display condescending attitudes towards their local counterparts, causing significant tension within the team.
- Top managers lack awareness of the company’s goals.
- The system for motivation, incentives, and training lacks transparency.
- There is no established system for providing feedback, and open discussions about problems or expressing gratitude are not commonplace.
- No one actively focuses on strategic development; everyone is consumed by operational tasks. However, there is a desire for the strategy developed during the session to succeed.
“First who, then what”
The main objective of the first session was to balance the power and authority of the CEO with the strength of the team.
The consultants helped the top managers realize that they are individuals first and foremost, and then they have their roles and functions. They initiated a dialogue on teamwork and collaboration. During the session, the participants discussed the current challenging situation, but in a different format than they were accustomed to. They focused on the essence of the matter and separated facts from interpretations.
The team began adopting a project-based approach, moving forward with clear, incremental steps and collectively addressing unresolved issues.
Following the first session, the leaders continued to structure their activities and coordinate them with other departments. This positively influenced both their work efficiency and the quality of their interactions. The CEO recognized the tasks that top managers could handle independently and delegated some of their responsibilities to them.
“Stickers or Rubles?”
The main objective of the second session was to align the team around their goals.
The consultants facilitated the integration of the owner’s, team’s, and company’s goals, and helped form project groups for their implementation.
During the session, top managers were surprised to discover their difficulty in declining new tasks for which they objectively lacked time and energy. The consultants conducted a special training process, during which department heads embraced an important rule: “By saying ‘no,’ I am rejecting a specific task, not a particular person. But when I say ‘yes,’ I am fully committed to that ‘yes.'”
With the assistance of the consultants, session participants began implementing a feedback system.
The team analyzed and adjusted their chain of interactions: who communicates what information to whom and when.
Top managers noticed a tendency to discuss the process for the sake of the process itself, rather than focusing on solving specific tasks. For instance, they might engage in debates about the proper way to place stickers on a flip chart, overlooking the content written on them. As a result, a meme was born, which has remained with the team for over a year: “Stickers or Rubles?” It helps prevent becoming fixated on a process-driven, unproductive debate and encourages them to maintain focus on the meaning and purpose of their discussions.
Following the second session’s goal alignment process, the company established an effective budgeting system. Annual goals for each department were carefully planned out.
Crisis as an Opportunity for Growth
Between the second and third sessions, the company experienced significant growth, with the EBITDA indicator rising by 40% compared to the previous year.
The main objective of the third session was to conduct a retrospective analysis of the third quarter of 2020 and make adjustments to plans and tasks for the fourth quarter.
The consultants played a crucial role in helping the top managers recognize the impact of their individual actions on the overall outcome. Through an extensive process audit, the leaders gained valuable insights into which aspects should be continued and which ones should be discontinued. They harnessed their strengths and initiated projects aimed at improving collaboration and streamlining processes.
During the session, the team analyzed the factors that contributed to the significant business growth amidst the pandemic. The top managers realized that the involvement of all departments, rather than just a single department, played a key role in tackling each task. This newfound understanding empowered them to make swift decisions, establish new processes, and seamlessly substitute for one another when needed.
“Diseases of Growth”
Following the third session, the company expanded its operations by opening several regional branches. As a result, the fourth session included a larger group of participants.
The primary objective of this session was to identify the “diseases of growth” and find remedies for them.
During the preparatory interviews, the consultants observed certain challenges associated with growth. The team had lost its ability to work cohesively towards a shared goal. Top managers found themselves dedicating a significant portion of their time to resolving localized issues. This led to an increase in the number of decisions made and a rise in the cost of mistakes. The team came to the realization that they needed to make decisions based on the collective interests rather than individual functional tasks.
Acting upon the consultants’ recommendations, the top managers conducted a comprehensive review of their areas of responsibility. The team established a shared information field and documented the current situation, including the challenges, difficulties, pressure points, and bottlenecks they faced.
Consequently, the top managers formulated a new responsibility matrix that outlined who was accountable for specific decisions and processes. They also recorded tasks for future work and topics that required further discussion and agreement. The team recognized the need for a shift in their approach to financial planning and the creation of a new financial model.
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