This second-generation manufacturing business was started by two siblings whose children also work in the business. The two owners are nearing retirement age and are at a loss about how to retire.
Currently, both put in between 50 and 60 hours per week in the day-to-day operations within the company. One of the “children” works in operations and the other handles back-end functions that includes many of the financial reports. Both “children” are single and have never worked for an organization other than the family business.
Overall, the majority of the 30 employees are in their fifties and sixties. There are several gaps in the organization that the current owners try to fill on a part time basis. Neither owner believes in the budgeting process.
Orders are accepted to keep cash flowing into the business. The owners have a robust emergency savings account and line of credit. They do not have a strong sense of fixed or variable costs. While there is not a great deal of turnover, there is a very real challenge in hiring new people to support growth.
Decisions are made in isolation. Each owner has a silo of authority with crossovers resulting in disagreements that get loud and have a negative impact on the employees. The second-generation “children” try to avoid the conflicts, accepting more responsibility, and engage in behaviors that the owners dislike.
Today, the company is using tools for conflict resolution, structural development tools for budgeting & financial analysis, operations analysis, tactics for creating psychological safety, talent optimization, and leadership development. While there are very real challenges ahead, this family has taken steps to course correct to increase profitability and to add value to the business.
“We appreciate all you have and been doing for us … your time was so well appreciated. You have no idea how much light you’ve shed.”
Third generation family business run by three siblings. Their father retired some years ago but continues to influence the business in many ways. For years, he visits the office often. He felt free to criticize, make fun of and stand in the way of changes made by his children.
The three “children” were feeling trapped, burned out, and extremely stressed. Two refused coaching, but the third has utilized Ascend’s services to the fullest.
Two of the three children served in seats that did not play to their strengths. The father misassigned the CEO role. That had a huge impact on the power structure and decision making within the leadership team.
For years the company was led by a someone who didn’t want the responsibility of leadership. His siblings covered for him, acting as pseudo-CEOs. The two of them were seldom on the same page. There was confusion, a lack of accountability, as well as loss of revenue.
Today the company is led by two of three children, and the third has retired. The father’s health declined, and he recently passed away. His passing is mourned by his children and the community.
The company has reallocated technical and people resources to tighten systems and processes. There is accountability within the sales team. Despite the challenges of COVID, the company turned a profit last year. The two children who remain at the company are beginning to work together to lead the company into a new chapter.
This company utilized Ascend’s approach of leadership development and structural development to become a less stressful and more profitable place to work.
“Wendy Dickinson is uniquely skilled as a coach in both the psychological aspects of leadership/business management and in the very granular details of business operations. Rare to find those skills in any two consultants much less one person who can apply her skills brilliantly in both areas.”
In January 2020 – the beginning:
- Created Specific Goals
- Conducted a SWOT analysis.
- Identified vulnerabilities in the business.
- Noted measurable benchmarks for success.
- Listed Attainable strategies & tactics to build value.
- Defined Relevant Mileposts for Success.
- Timeline: 5 years
- 99% of sales occurring face-to-face in the store.
- Geographic range approximately 60 miles.
- Less than 1% of sales are generated via phone or internet.
- Inventory averages 71% of expenses.
- Owner coordinated all events, classes, and social media posts.
Action Steps Taken from March through June 2020:
- Created online store.
- New Point of Sale system was purchased and integrated.
- The entire community of customers (mostly women, ages 40+) had the opportunity to learn the technology to attend virtual meetings as a cohort.
- Decision making was decentralized, and the team stepped up to take an active role in all aspects of the business.
Results Reported March 2021:
- 30% of all revenue is from online sales.
- Inventory investment reduced to 27%.
- Store now ships inventory from coast to coast – all over North America
- The owner is considering how best to leverage the opportunities that grew from COVID-19 and that task list.
“What I love about working with Wendy is the fact that I don’t feel the pressure to get it right or have all the answers as we bounce ideas off each other. We work together to come up with strategies of implementation. She is attentive and follows up with frequent check-ins to see how I am doing. I appreciate her calm voice of reason and affirmation for what I’m doing well, especially in these stressful and uncertain times. I trust her, and her advice has been spot on. She is prepared for every session and follows up with summaries after our meetings. Even in these times when money is very tight, I do not even consider cutting the cost of her coaching. I feel she is the one consistent, steady voice in my ear as we navigate through the present. My business and the community I am fighting so hard to preserve will come out on the other side of this pandemic healthier and stronger as a result of our collaborations.”