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Case Studies

A Star is Born

When Generational Transition Occurs

The Walking Clinic has four locations within the city it operates.  Originally started by Robert Lock in 1974 it was the first of its kind.  After graduation in 2012, Robert’s son Bobby joined the practice and  it ticked along happily as a single clinic until 2016.

In the next 18 months, led by Bobby, the practice grew to four clinics, bringing many challenges relating to staffing, processes, systems and the ability to maximise the consulting rooms and podiatrists schedules.

Robert’s retirement was scheduled to occur at the same time that Radial 1 was asked to help with some specific staffing issues relating to one of the long-servicing administration staff who was struggling with the changes that were occurring with a changeover at the helm, the standardisation of processes across the four clinics and pressures to increase profits whilst adhering to government bureaucratic processes and regulations surrounding medical claims.

First steps taken were to get all the senior staff to take the personality assessments using Talent Dynamics.  This turned out to be very insightful as it showed that all the senior staff except Bobby were similar to Robert.  However, Bobby was the complete opposite, known as a Star.  This explained much.  Bobby was innovative, big picture strategist, great networker, risk taker and high energy.  He did not like to explain himself or take things slowly.  Whereas the rest of the team were  detailed, reliable but risk adverse, did not like chaos, grounded and likes to work within a structure.  In particular, the long serving staff member was being asked to perform activities that were completely opposite to her natural talents, hence she was getting stressed and causing issues with other staff who were threatening to leave.

As a result of these findings, as well as talking to each member of staff, roles and activities were realigned that allowed them each to be ‘in flow’.  However, this left a gap which was filled through writing a role description and advertisement that aligned to the profile required.  Radial 1 formed part of the interview panel and assisted with the onboarding of the successful candidate.  In addition, Robert stopped coming into the clinic so often as his concerns about Bobby running the daily operations diminished.

Following this, Radial 1 acted as a mentor to Bobby and a coach to the remaining staff so they better understood their own profiles and the profiles of their colleagues.  This  improved communications between Bobby and the rest of the team.  Radial 1 also helped develop a strategic plan to increase profitability through more efficient use of consulting rooms, a contingency plan for Bobby and recommended the new employee take on the responsibility of marketing and organising the podiatrists to make business development presentations at sporting club meetings.  In addition Bobby was able to delegate more clinic work so he could work on the business instead of in the business.

Camping Conundrum

When the passion dies

Holly Farm Caravan and Camping was a four-generation business.  The land was originally bought as farmland, but in the 1970s son Raymond converted three of the fields to a caravan and camping park.  Originally it was a very casual affair with Raymond going around the tents and caravans with a tin box to collect payment.   Over the years more council regulations meant more facilities had to be added and tighter controls implemented, including more financial reporting.

Raymond had reached the age of 74 and whilst still committed to the idea of the caravan and camping park had started to find it too stressful.  The increase impact of technology with bookings, automated payments and review sites was way beyond what he wanted to get involved in.  He did have a couple in the caretaker role, but they had very strong opinions of how the park should operate and unfortunately many of these clashed with Raymond’s ideas.

Raymond had hoped to hand the running of the park over to his elder daughter, who previously helped run the day-to day operations with her husband, who was now her ex-husband.  Now she was on her own, the level of involvement and the need to manage the caretakers, the automated systems, look after the website learn social media marketing was not for her.  Raymond thought he also wanted out but also still loved going to the park and engaging with the campers.

Radial 1 was engaged to propose solutions to this conundrum.  After presenting the options (sell, outsource, replace caretakers) Raymond made the decision to keep the park but not to involve his daughter.  Through the personality profiling he learned the strengths and challenges of his team and realigned responsibilities. 

Radial 1 redeveloped the website and connected it to online booking websites, as well as adding an automated booking system.  They also ran the recruitment campaign for a marketing manager to outsource all the technology related activities to. 

Two years on, Raymond is once again enjoying the campsite, he implemented most of the recommendations to improve the campsite operations.  His daughter only runs the glamping side of the business and the marketing manager has turned out to be a great asset. 

He has ensured that the caretakers follow the automated booking processes and leaving the review management to him.  If and when Raymond passes on or cannot be involved with the campsite, he has made arrangements for his daughter to assume control but to outsource the day-to-day management to a reputable organisation or it is her prerogative to sell the land.

Natural Born Salesman

Kevin had already tried to retire once; he was now 77.  He had installed his younger cousin as the CEO due to an earlier family dispute.  Whilst he really wanted his son or daughter to take over, he knew they weren’t ready to.

His cousin did not embrace the role, he came in early and also left early, which did not align with customers or his colleague’s workdays, he was withdrawn and would not make decisions dragging Kevin back into the operations on a daily basis.  On top of this Kevin’s son and daughter refused to work for him and actively disliked him

Kevin had just made the decision to return to the business full time when he met with Radial 1.  After profiling the staff it was obvious why the son and daughter did not get on with their cousin.  He was the complete opposite to them personality wise, being the risk adverse, quiet and detailed oriented individual.  Whereas the son and daughter were both outgoing, great networkers, gregarious and focused on the bigger picture.

Kevin informed us that he planned to hand over the company to a successor in 2 years time.  He would like that to be his daughter.  However, he felt she was not mature enough from a business sense to become CEO before that.

Radial 1 helped Kevin, using their proprietary templates, to complete both a 2-year strategic plan for business growth, as well as an eight-quarter plan to transfer all responsibilities to his daughter.  This allowed him to identify what he was going to teach her each quarter so by the end of 2-years he was confident she was fully trained and committed to the ongoing success of the business.

 

Generational Transition

Kevin had already tried to retire once; he was now 77.  He had installed his younger cousin as the CEO due to an earlier family dispute.  Whilst he really wanted his son or daughter to take over, he knew they weren’t ready to.

His cousin did not embrace the role, he came in early and also left early, which did not align with customers or his colleague’s workdays, he was withdrawn and would not make decisions dragging Kevin back into the operations on a daily basis.  On top of this Kevin’s son and daughter refused to work for him and actively disliked him

Kevin had just made the decision to return to the business full time when he met with Radial 1.  After profiling the staff it was obvious why the son and daughter did not get on with their cousin.  He was the complete opposite to them personality wise, being the risk adverse, quiet and detailed oriented individual.  Whereas the son and daughter were both outgoing, great networkers, gregarious and focused on the bigger picture.

Kevin informed us that he planned to hand over the company to a successor in 2 years time.  He would like that to be his daughter.  However, he felt she was not mature enough from a business sense to become CEO before that.

Radial 1 helped Kevin, using their proprietary templates, to complete both a 2-year strategic plan for business growth, as well as an eight-quarter plan to transfer all responsibilities to his daughter.  This allowed him to identify what he was going to teach her each quarter so by the end of 2-years he was confident she was fully trained and committed to the ongoing success of the business.

Radial 1 will be conducting a team workshop with the goal to reduce the tension between the cousins and allow them to see that each has a contribution to the success of the business.  In fact, although the cousin will not be CEO, he is still an integral part of the business as his skills and natural talents are needed to stop the siblings from flying too fast.

Kevin has already prepared a financial and legal transition plan, including transferring a portion of his shares to the person (hopefully his daughter) who will eventually become CEO

Regular follow up meetings are scheduled over the next 2-years to assist Kevin to remain on track.  Additional mentoring will occur, as needed.

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Firing the Spouse

Lynne owns three businesses all connected to branding, graphic design and marketing.  She is a very creative person, but also a driven entrepreneur.  Her profile is the fast moving, big picture, innovative type. 

When she first establish her business, she included her husband Brian as a director and co-worker.  However, he is a very different personality type.  Brian is risk adverse, detailed oriented and a pessimist.  Unfortunately, he often blocked Lynne’s expansion plans and overruled her in front of her staff, as well as being too direct and at times difficult with the clients.

After much soul-searching Lynne realised she had to remove Brian from the business if she was going to retain both staff and clients.

As a family owned business this is extra tough as the repercussions were taken into their home environment and it wasn’t pleasant, to say the least.  Brian joined another firm, but was quick to criticise anything that Lynne did, which created an underlying tension.

In order to improve the redistribution of activities amongst the remaining staff and identify who was needed on the team going forward, Lynne retained Radial 1 to look at the current mix of personalities and make recommendations.

We identified that most of the staff were in a role they were best suited to, however there was a gap.  The office needed a ‘nurturer’ and after care customer service support person.  Someone to manage the office and look after the customers when they had queries etc.

In addition, it became evident that the information being obtained by the sales staff was insufficient for the designers delivering the client requirements.  A new form was developed that allowed information to be collected once and products to be turned around faster and more accurately.

A side note: Lynne and Brian eventually got divorced.  During this process Lynne discovered that Brian’s name was still on many account e.g. her mobile phone and the premises lease.  Once the divorce became acrimonious Brian used these to leverage settlement and cause significant problems for Lynne.

Lynne being the creative big picture type had left this detail to Brian and had not thought to check how embedded he was in the company when she fired him.  Had she been on top of this at the time, her divorce would have been substantially less painful.  The moral of the story is not to go into business together as a family if you are not prepared to deal with the consequences of non-performance.

When the Unexpected Happens

All family owned businesses need a contingency plan, and not just for a disaster plan for their IT, premises or continuity of operations.  Here are two stories that may get you thinking about how your business would continue operating should the unthinkable happen.

Struck down by a Virus

Peter and Sandra run a successful training and consulting business, they are both in their early 40s.  Peter is the powerhouse, leading the training, consulting and mentoring.  They employ a small team of six who have worked together for many years.  Each person has a very defined role which was crafted based on their profiles, something that Peter trains all his clients in.  Sandra was the CFO and oversaw all the operations while Peter is out with clients, running workshops and holding mastermind groups for high network individuals.  Radial 1 is an affiliate with this company.

Unfortunately, two years ago Sandra suddenly contracted a virus that put her in a coma.  Peter was devastated as both a husband and a business partner.  Whilst spending every moment he could at her bedside and being out of his mind with worry, he was also trying to keep the business running, dealing with the banks, trying to work out which invoices needed paying and not letting clients down who were preparing to attend the annual conference.

Sandra eventually recovered but suffered permanent loss of short-term memory and did not have the capacity to just step back into her previous CFO role.  As they planned to be in business for many years and were still young, they had not thought to develop a contingency plan for the business.

An Unexpected Heart Attack

Henry had owned and run an engineering company that made specialist machines for over 20 years.  His staff had been with him a long time and the business ran well.  One day he had a fatal heart attack.  Whilst he had looked after wife Maureen and the family on the legal side with a will, there were no transition or contingency plans for the business. 

Even in her grief, Maureen decided that she needed to take control of the business.  However, there was very little documentation for her to just pick up and run with.  Luckily, Henry’s loyal staff were prepared to work with Maureen so she could take over as CEO.

Ten years later Maureen closed the business down as there was no family member to take over and the work was so specialized that the long-term staff were retiring and younger people did not want to learn about machines that were becoming obsolete.  Whilst the business needed to close eventually, the ten years that it continued running would have gone much smoother had Henry found the time to create a contingency / transition plan.

Putting a plan together and having the key details such as bank accounts, passwords, key suppliers documented, as well as some contingency processes and back up responsibilities does not take much time, and whilst seen as important by businesses, rarely happens in family owned businesses due to time pressures. 

Radial 1 can provide templates and walk businesses through how to put together a contingency plan, asking the pertinent questions to speed up the process.