Refreshing Strategy, Team Development and Team and Individual Coaching
It was mid-February 2020 and with the UK in pre-COVID-19-lockdown, we could still meet new potential clients in person!
From other nations, we could see a period of restrictions coming. At Rathbone Results, we had created a 7-Step Guide to help businesses mitigate the impact of COVID and prepare for when lockdown retreated. The looming crisis had to be, for as many businesses as possible, “an opportunity to do things you didn’t think you could do before.”
With that in mind, we met Nikki and Nigel Adams, joint MDs of Ad Valorem, an award-winning innovative, high-growth, edgy accountancy firm headquartered near Milton Keynes. Starting our conversation around their TeamsWork survey results (collated from our proprietary online questionnaire that seven staff-members had completed), we moved quickly to strategy and team development. With an ambition to double in size within the next six years and a buzzy, can-do attitude, the challenge was set to develop their talented team of senior managers and leaders, with an average age of 32, to be more accountable and perform at a higher level than ever before.
Fourteen days after our first meeting, contracts were signed, knowing that what we had hoped would be delivered largely in-person would probably be experienced mainly by Zoom.
How we helped address the challenge:
Over a series of four non-consecutive Zoom-days, leveraging our proprietary Strategic Scroll process, Ad Valorem’s team of 10, including Nikki and Nigel, worked with us to draft their unique strategy – which we facilitated and documented within a four-week period. One highlight was facilitating the crafting of their mission/purpose statement. At the end of two hours, one of the many extroverts asked, with a laugh: “Why have we done in two hours what we haven’t been able to do in the last three months of trying?”. The full plan includes:
- Their unique shared purpose statement and coherent strapline
- Seven SMART objectives with trackable KPIs and named accountable individuals
- Eight strategies with clear alignment to the objectives they serve, each strategy with a detailed and time-lined action plan, clear single-point ownership, named supporters and identified additional required resources
Through the six months that followed and a series of scheduled monthly Zoom meetings, we team-coached action plan owners and contributors to support implementation and adjust action plans in light of emerging reality.
Through those same six months we co-designed and rolled out a customised, action-learning team development programme for the senior management team – to equip them to step into greater accountability. The programme included a series of three one-day workshops as well as team and 1:1 coaching. Our aim: to challenge them as a team to explore and commit and to support them as individuals to personalise and adopt new ways of thinking and working.
The Results - quotes from Nikki Adam Director
One month into the assignment, at the end of the strategy sessions:
“Feedback is incredibly positive. We are happy with the process – which is triggering exactly the sorts of conversations we need to have - and we have all agreed it is extremely beneficial to have someone outside the business involved in this. We have already begun to see positive changes. The next generation are fired up!!”
Eight months after commencing our collaboration:
“I have thought about the quantifiable benefits you have brought and these are the definite differences between our team performance before your involvement and now:
- The management team has more cohesion and noticeably functions well without involving us. We don’t have to worry!
- There is a greater sense of accountability - each department head is coming forward with new ideas and we are winning more work due to the enthusiasm of the team. There is evidence of more cross-selling than we've had in the last year.
- Projects which have been put off in the past are now being completed. The business is becoming more efficient as a result.
- The ambition of individuals has been vocalised as a group and is part of the company's overall strategy. I believe that is why we outperformed our ambitious budgets to achieve 60% growth on last year (£400k over our original target), and why the team has set themselves an equally ambitious target for 2020-21 - due to a shared goal.
- We finally have full buy-in and this is translating into energy to drive the business forward that isn't coming just from us.”
Energy and opportunity abound!
After just eight months, a £400K upswing on 2019/20 targeted revenues with steady margins (despite COVID and the 3 months lockdown) yields a 250% return on investment. More impressively, the business is scheduled to double in size in three (not six) years. Unlocking business potential in action!