We provide advice and counsel to senior management on issues of business significance: strategy, leadership, growth, and profit.
Our Focus and Expertise
A Little Philosophy
We work with firm leaders to ask critically, answer authentically, and articulate boldly some very big questions:
who we are, why we’re here, where we’re headed, and how we’ll get there …
These questions are critical to leadership alignment and an energized staff. On this foundation, we then guide the group to create and execute growth-oriented business plans, improve operational efforts and results, and develop an extraordinary team of aspiring and inspiring professionals.
There is much in common in firms today – strengths, shortcomings, opportunities, challenges – but each organization is also different, idiosyncratic, unique. The professional advisor understands and appreciates both the similarities and differences.
Still, good consulting is much more than understanding threats and opportunities … one must also understand the organization’s capabilities – and capacities – for meaningful change. Experience and expertise count, but so does candor, conviction, and confidence – and an independent (even contrarian) voice and view.
Truth is, having worked in the industry doesn’t automatically
qualify one to effectively consult to management.
Finally, in business it’s not the ideas that matter, but the execution of the ideas that makes the difference. Getting things done is a differentiator. We focus on developing action agendas that can (and will) be done – and then help firm leaders and the team to succeed.
Strategy Design and Strategic Business Planning
Done well, a strategic business plan provides a clear map for growth and success, and a strong foundation on which to build subsequent organization improvement initiatives. Some firms have considerable experience with this – creating and updating strategic plans regularly through the years – while others have relatively little experience (or not much success) with long term strategy design and planning.
We believe that a well-conceived and designed strategic plan involves a deliberate, intentional process – and these four parts: 1) a comprehensive organization assessment establishing the current baseline; 2) a bold organization purpose and vision for the future; 3) a detailed, specific, and agile action-agenda – a roadmap for how to get to the destination; and, 4) an integration plan with explicit communications, management, and follow-up steps baked in from the start.
Included in our Comprehensive Strategic Organization Assessment:
- Review of relevant materials, documents, and plans
- Financial and operating performance benchmarking analysis
- Individual interviews with principals, managers, and key staff
- Group interviews with technical, support, or administrative teams
- Management team perspectives survey
- Employee staff engagement survey
- Client perspectives feedback survey
- Client and market concentration analysis
- Presentation-style formatted Strategic Organization Assessment Report
- Debriefing presentation with the planning team
Included in our Strategic Planning Design Retreat:
- One super-engaging two-day (or two 1 ½ day) offsite, facilitated, planning session;
- First day focus on the strategic framework (purpose, vision, strategy, growth, culture);
- Second day focus on the action agenda (strategies, initiatives, responsibilities, schedule)
- Communications and roll-out strategies and actions, implementation and follow up plans
- Presentation-style formatted Strategic Business Plan Report
Included in our Implementation, Execution, and Follow-Up
- Unlimited 24-7 follow up connectivity for one year – Q&A support, no limits, no invoice
- Four quarterly online follow up, review, and adjustment meetings
- In person follow up (½, ¾ or full day) sessions available (additional fee)
Leadership Development and Transition
An old proverb states that ‘the best time to plant a tree is ten years ago, but the second best time is today.’ Perhaps no other part of firm success fits this sentiment better than developing the organization’s next generation of leaders. Always important, this work is all too often not urgent enough for action – that is, until it is.
We see this thinking – focusing only the current, and not enough on the future – as not only wrong, but existentially so. In fact, we believe that the question “so, who’s going to run this thing tomorrow?” is the most important one firm leaders (and owners) can ask.
No one argues that leadership development isn’t important to the firm. The challenge isn’t ideology – it’s priorities. Our approach, our Integral Leadership Development Experience (ILDE) – provides a comprehensive, structured turnkey approach to training and developing the cohort of next generation leaders in the firm. Built, implemented, done.
Included in our Integral Leadership Development Experience (ILDE) engagements:
- The Principals Path – an immersive, comprehensive, three day bootcamp covering crucial management and leadership topics across strategy, operations, and people in the firm;
- The Cohort’s Journey – a year long, ten-module live, online learning sequence, digging deeper into areas of leading self, leading teams, leading the firm, and leading change – including preparation, interactive discussions, and post-session assignments;
- The Individual Business Improvement Project – each participant’s project to lead and manage a stand-alone initiative during the year, offering both organization development and personal leadership growth;
- The Capstone Summit – a regathering of the cohort team in person to work together on an additional, real-world organization simulation project before graduation;
Business Development and the Seller-Doer System
For most professionals, ‘doing the work’ is more straightforward than ‘getting the work.’ Education, project experience, and career development focuses primarily on technical competency, with client relationship skills often left to chance. As a result, most ‘seller-doers’ are s/D (little s, big D) types who focus mostly on doing – and on developing new opportunities only when they absolutely must.
This is, frankly inside-out. Yes, most professionals are in it first and foremost for the art, design, project execution, and/or building of things. Makes sense. Still, unless the firm is a paying client itself, all projects need a patron (to pay the bills). Even Picasso needed a commission.
In most companies, 80-90% of staff are highly competent in the doing, but only 10-20% (and often far less) are skilled in the ‘getting new’ part. Change this reality, and you’ll build a dynamic, growing, and self-sustaining firm with real value – and a future. Do nothing, and you’re a dead firm walking – if not today, then tomorrow.
Included in our Business Development System Assessment and Planning:
- Review of relevant marketing materials, plans, and processes
- Financial and operating performance benchmarking analysis
- Analysis of marketing and sales key performance indictors
- Individual interviews with principals, managers, and business development staff
- Client perspectives feedback survey
- Client revenues and profits concentration analysis
- Presentation-style formatted Business Development System Assessment Report
- Focus on key opportunities and recommended action steps
- Debriefing presentation of the assessment with the firm’s leadership team
Options for Business Development focused training initiatives:
- Excelerate! (Basics of Business Development Success for Seller-Doer Professionals)
- The Show is Always On! (Marketing Basics for the Firm and all Staff)
- The Personal, 90-Day, Business Development Plan (Get Going and Get it Done Now)
Transforming Operations and Performance
Though often successful, very few professional firms run as well as they might. In fact, most organizations function only to the level they must – to complete projects, take care of clients, provide employment, and live another day. So it’s usually not hard to find opportunities for business performance improvement in the typical firm. What is more often in short supply is the desire and motivation for change.
Top firms – across all professional disciplines, market focus, geographic reach, and company sizes– prove out each year the real possibilities. These firms (the top 20-25%) consistently earn profits that are 50-100% above median performance benchmarks. Profitability of 20-25% (of net revenue) or more is not uncommon, as are examples of firms with multipliers above 4.0, utilization rates above 65-70%, or overhead rates either much lower or much higher than the mean. Top firms stand out – but they’re not unicorns. Great organizations perform well because they want to, they dream big and bold, they make explicit (and often difficult) decisions, they take action faster than others, and they’re unsatisfied with good enough
We’ve worked with many clients – across the nation and across the years – in improving business operations, systems, processes, and results. Each project has its own unique features and focus – though in most we employ a predictable, proven approach to the engagement: assessment, design, planning, training, implementation, and follow up.
Some examples of the types of projects we offer:
- Project management systems assessment, redesign, planning, and training;
- Quality management systems assessment, redesign, planning, and training;
- Profitability analysis and profit improvement programs and initiatives;
- People system assessment, redesign, planning, and training;
- Support and overhead team functional assessments and streamlining;
Grow the top line; increase the bottom line; streamline operations; engage, energize, and nurture the team; build agility, resilience, and sustainable success! Ready?
Plan for the future. Grow Your business. Make more money.