Third Phase Coaching Ltd

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Worried to death

The Problem

This client was referred to me as changes in her market meant she was looking for support in restructuring the business. She was under immense pressure and, in trying to keep many plates spinning, had become completely disorganised. In fact, she was two hours late for our first meeting and 90 minutes late for the second.

On the face of it, the issues were all to do with the sustainability of the business model. But there were other serious business issues to deal with. The business had grown very quickly and the number of staff had increased rapidly. It’s common in these circumstances that jobs are filled with little examination of what capacity there is in existing posts. When the inevitable market adjustment comes, the business has high overheads and low productivity and struggles to adapt.

But her problems were also personal and professional. Highly skilled in her profession, she had struggled to manage the different roles that come with a successful business. She was at heart an operational person and strategic planning and leadership did not come naturally to her. She was exhausted, frustrated and worried about the future. On top of all that, she had invested significant funds in starting the business - and had made no progress in having those loans repaid.

The Process

After helping develop short term fixes to stabilise the situation, the emphasis was on helping the owner sort her life out. She had not had a holiday for years. She wasn’t able to spend the time with her family that she wanted and she had unfulfilled dreams of developing a charity project in Africa.

Helping her identify her priorities and ambitions led to her knowing what she wanted and when she wanted it. We then worked on planning the future of the business to ensure its recovery and that it was in synch with her goals. Then it was time to look at the business.

We worked with the senior leadership team to identify what needed improving. This resulted in a comprehensive plan to improve performance in five key areas. The next step was to facilitate a two-day planning and prioritisation workshop for all staff. This was an important step in securing the commitment of staff to the change program that was needed to turn things around.

The Outcome

Three years on the story is very different. The business is stable and has started to grow again. There is a shared understanding of organisational values and objectives and commitment to delivering the needs of clients. Staff numbers have grown from 17 to 30 and turnover and profit are projected to have trebled by the end of this financial year.

And what of the owner? She has been repaid her investment in the company. She has a time-share property in Florida. She has been able to take three extended absences from the company this year. She has a deputy Chief Executive that manages the day to day operational needs of the business. In addition, she has started development of the charity in Africa that she dreamed of and her health has improved dramatically.

If you can identify with the story of this business owner and would like to discuss how things could be different, please contact us.