The aim of this case study is to show how a chief executive is involving the management team to appraise their own organisation and help create a strategy to maintain significant growth without losing their core founding values.

Facing The Challenges

The company started 25 years ago in the spare bedroom of its founding architect. He moved into offices within two years, then in the 1980’s he developed a derelict depository building in SE UK. In the 1990’s more offices opened in the Midlands and in the last few years his business growth has attained the top 100 architect practices in the UK. Their challenge is now to become one of the top 50 firms in the UK within 3 years.
To achieve this they must more than double revenues, develop the workforce to manage change, and protect their values of exceptional service, innovation and sustainability. The internal and external challenges are substantial. They must review the skills requirements of the entire workforce and embed new competencies for managing growth without losing their competitive edge in technical excellence. They also need to maintain close current customer relationships whilst at the same time identify and develop new markets.

Overcoming The Barriers

The owner is taking a planned approach to tackle the internal and external challenges concurrently. His approach has been to invite the management team to resolve issues by sharing draft plans and organising meetings to openly discuss options. The first step has involved performing a structured assessment of their marketplace and diagnosing the skills needs of all employees. People have been actively involved with one to one interviews and a company-wide survey to evaluate roles and jobs identifying current activities and future requirements. They have benchmarked this process against proven international standards to ensure validity.
The challenge of identifying new business opportunities is being resolved by obtaining advice from an independent marketing consultant. Up to date detailed research on sector trends across the UK has been shared with the management team so they can accurately measure the risks and rewards in all possible choices of direction. The research has identified opportunities in markets not previously tapped and workshops are being held to train people to make the most of these business markets. The workshops combine discussions on the new priorities with why change is necessary and how to successfully widen roles by adapting behaviour.

Reaping The Rewards

The revised strategic plan has been improved and endorsed by managers at the workshops. Managers have identified the need to continuously assess existing customer relationships with feedback surveys to ensure service quality stays high. The risk of innovative direction is being controlled by independent marketing research and quantified external evidence on the need for change. And sustainability is being ensured by the process of internal consultation and skills development. The core founding values are being protected whilst the goals for growth continue.