Case studies of our work
Case studies of our work
A 100-year-old, 800 person financial professional services business developed an ambitious strategy to transform it into one destined to succeed through its second century. It was a transformation that paid homage to the past while imagining an even better future. Culture, Market, Empowerment and Digital all played their part.
The business was finalising a challenging strategy to diversify. It had an organisational structure that had served it well over the years, but the board knew it would creak and maybe break if it did not change to meet the needs of the new strategy. They also knew that they needed to change the style and mindset to lead the company and accommodate the complexity and scale of the future business. With their strong management team, they were confident they could transform the business successfully. However, they lacked the comprehensive plan, tools, and techniques to clearly define the transformation and systematically implement it.
We were engaged to help uncover:
We started by introducing operating models as a tool to better understand the challenges, their impact, and the solution to strategy delivery. Then, using various techniques, the executives analysed the strategy to uncover its essence and how their business should be architected to deliver it.
This led to a transformation that would make it more market-led; more responsive to increasing volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity; more efficient in its use of resources; and embrace and capture the benefits that digital offered. Core to the success of the transformation would be a culture shift to the next level.
From these needs, they created four themes that would characterise the transformation, its momentum and focus during the implementation. The themes were Proposition, Accountability and Empowerment, Culture and Digital.
Through this, the business would diversify more effectively whilst building on its prosperous heritage to become more market and client-centric.
Because of the size and complexity of the transformation, it was performed in an agile manner, reinforcing successes but failing-fast when outcomes were sub-optimal.
The strategy is a multi-year step-change in how the business will continue to lead in its evolving market. It has gained significant momentum through early success. As a result, decision making has improved both in quality and time spent. It has led to efficiencies by reducing overlapping processes and objectives. People know who is accountable, and they are empowered and supported to lead and make decisions. Collaboration and communication have improved because people have a clear framework in which to work together.
Becoming proposition-led has increased market focus, created multi-disciplinary teams and initiatives with a common goal. This has produced leaner, clearer propositions that are market-focused, consistently sold and consistently delivered.
The culture has shifted to become more purposeful. The values have also included ‘pioneering’ to reflect the increasing requirement to diversify, improve decisions, drive innovation, create momentum, and focus on delivering the future. It also creates a feeling of optimism across the business.
For a fuller description of how this business succeeded in its transformation, download the complete financial services case study.
Responding to increasing globalisation and competition, a corporate insurance carrier changed its strategy from regional/national propositions to a centralised model to better serve its global market and reduce costs. The initial performance looked promising, but the early success was achieved only by cannibalising existing regional business and not creating additional revenue or the promised customer response. Additionally, the cost savings were not accruing. Issues were exacerbated by regional staff becoming disengaged because they felt they had no longer had a stake in the business, and their knowledge and skills were unused. In addition, new resources brought into the centralised division were poorly onboarded and trained.
The company engaged us to understand the root causes and deliver a way to turn this failing initiative into a success. Using our 4C framework, we quickly established those functions needing prioritised support across both culture and performance areas. We also identified a broad range of attitudes and behaviours across the different layers of management and business units. We proposed a transformation strategy that, when implemented, improved access to local knowledge and reliable operations in the centre. As a result, staff became engaged, costs were reduced, and global customers were better served with consistent, scalable propositions to meet their needs.
A young and ambitious fintech company specialising in identity and trust software was raising third-round funding. Its software has a strong pedigree used by many systems integrators to create a step-change in their customers’ capabilities.
As is often the case with a fast-growing, sales-led, company the need to create bespoke features for existing customers was outstripping their ability to develop their product proposition. Consequently, their culture was deteriorating from the founders’ vision to the pressure cooker of constant deadlines. Unfortunately, this pressure to perform came at the expense of culture. The culture prevented Rapid Applications Development methods, such as Agile and DevOps, from flourishing as it worsened.
We engaged with the CTO and his leadership team. Working with these leaders, we diagnosed the critical issues creating a culture of empowerment and accountability where experts made decisions. This reduced errors, created an environment of inclusion and engaged all parties to plan and produce a quality product. In turn, leaders were freed-up to manage their teams appropriately and satisfy all stakeholders’ complex needs – including potential investors.
The outcome was that product teams had the confidence to deliver consistently, with greater quality and focused on the market need. As a result, the company secured its funding round and continues to grow with a secure but evolving culture.
A sustainability consulting business was having growing pains. It based its central propositions upon reducing both energy costs and carbon emissions. The executive team and founders could see the opportunity, but their different styles caused friction to the extent that the company’s future was in jeopardy. Additionally, they needed support on how to embrace the digital opportunity that would extend their service offerings.
We embarked on a process to address the acute culture issues within the executive team. Each executive was given clear responsibilities with autonomy to ensure that effort was as productive as possible. Along with this autonomy, we also instilled the need to be accountable, leading to greater freedom and trust. It became clear that each of them brought the same values but different skills to the business. From this much more robust platform, the road to expansion became clearer and frictionless.
We then reviewed the opportunity to embrace digital. This can be a mixed blessing for a consulting business, and there is often a fear of commoditising expertise. We countered this with an inclusive dialogue with the professional teams. By doing this, we formulated a winning data strategy and machine learning plan to supplement skills and increase the consultants’ value to both their customers and the business.
In turn, this created opportunities for new propositions. Together, we implemented a new proposition process and the digital transformation of their service lines. The company launched a unique flagship proposition to leverage the consultants’ skills so they could add insight and interpretation to information produced as a result of the data strategy. In turn, this made each consultant more valuable, moving them away from data reporting to pure consulting. As a result, revenue per employee significantly increased.
By tuning the culture to embrace the principles and business proposition, we catapulted digital into the front line. At the end of the programme, the digital platform supported 90% of the business’ revenue, captured millions of data points daily as the foundation for insights and contributed to staff retention and expansion.
Download the Sustainability Consultancy Case Study.
A privately-held systems integrator wants to become a sustainable, eternal and irresistible business. It has a global reputation for delivering high-quality workplace systems for offices and data centres. The company is very mindful that its customer-facing talent needs to be close to clients yet must have access to expertise across the World. Indeed, the executive team itself is located across three continents.
The company is rapidly growing in existing and new territories, putting pressure on the executive team to deliver both quality and rapid growth. We were engaged to redefine those elements of the business where the executive focus will have the most significant positive impact. One of these elements highlighted the need to develop and implement the right culture for existing and new locations. This had to be done in a way that the global culture could be effectively expressed locally. The whole initiative must be worked into already tight schedules, starting with the leadership team.
We agreed on these elements with the board. We then architected a fit for purpose global culture (encompassing clear purpose and values), a more evident proposition and simplified operations. Finally, through a series of workshops and proprietary canvases, we clarified how they could deliver their irresistible business. Implementation is ongoing.
Our ability to prototype interactively and quickly produced a robust culture in line with the company’s revised purpose and values.
Download the Systems Integrator case study.