CEO John says that Berry’s strategic initiatives have introduced a new rigour around forecasting and sales commitments, stating that this rigour is bearing fruit. “Although we narrowly missed some of the stress targets with sales, we definitely met our budget numbers. So through the first half of the year we exceeded budget in sales by about 12 per cent and our profit numbers are much healthier.”
To put it another way, sales in quarter one hit a record high, and these were topped again in quarter two.
Sales VP Colin believes that some of the legacy issues that hampered the company’s progress in previous years remain and that not everyone in the organisation is taking full responsibility for the commitments given in the planning process.
“I believe, like Padraig, that we set the goals, then we must get start doing the things we said we’d do and start to change who we are as a company. A lot of people bought into that, or seemed to, but over the last few months some people aren’t doing what they said they were going to do. The criticism from some of the more cynical was that it was too easy for people to change their plan.”
This flaw, he believes, has less to do with the process, and more to do with a lack of leadership. Moreover, there are clear signs that this situation is changing. A sales training programme has eliminated the maverick initiatives that had hamstrung the sales team. At the same time, the legacy situation where sales people were promoted from within the ranks of the company, without either sales competency or training, does not happen anymore, an important change brought in to Company X in terms of governance and management.
“I’m kicking off a process to recruit people into the company,” says Colin, “and that will include finding a replacement for myself as VP of sales… And I’ll only be recruiting leaders.”
4. The Future
CEO John says that one really positive impact of Padraig Berry’s intervention has been the re-energisation of the company. An anonymous, company-wide survey of the One Thing Planning process revealed an 85% positive reading.
“I’m happy where the company is now,” says John, “and I would say much of that is attributed to the One Thing Plan process.”
There is, he acknowledges, no room for complacency and agrees with Colin’s assessment that greater scrutiny must be brought to bear to ensure that everyone lives up to their commitments.
In particular, John says that he has benefitted from the individual coaching sessions that came as part of the package with Berry. “At the time, I really felt that I was alone because the entire company was looking to me as the CEO to make sure that we were doing what we needed to. I had no proper board to be able to interact with, to support me, to mentor me or to give me strategic advice.”
John admits, as founder Frank had alluded to earlier, that he was seriously considering departure prior to Padraig Berry’s arrival. Under Berry’s direction, John worked through a range of exercises designed to generate a complete view of himself; values, skills, drives and overall control of his business. All of this information was then corralled and embedded in a personal One Thing Plan, of which Company X then incorporated into the larger One Thing Plan of the entire business.
“I would say it’s been very clarifying for me,” says the CEO. “It’s allowed me, in my personal life, to focus on the things that I really like to do, which at a certain level brings inner peace. And on top of that, it’s also given me a planning tool so my days are less hectic.”
John hired a CFO in order to free up time for what he’s good at and what the company needs him to do, which is focus on the commercial side of the business; talking to customers, listening to customers and launching new ventures.
“That,” he says, “is what really makes me tick.”
The process has cleared the fogs and allowed him to see that here is where he really wants to be, so that he’s now fully committed to the organisation.
“For a company that was meandering, as we were, Padraig was the right guy with the right process at the right time. He brings the right expertise and the right communication style, and has an innate ability to not get tied up, not to go down tangents. I’m very happy with how the whole thing has gone.”
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