If your organization or business is facing a transition, growing pains, or a strategic pivot, read on to see how I, as a business coach, have helped other organizations come together to handle and grow from their own unique challenges.
Closing a Small Family Business with Style
Trigger An owner of a suburban company, started by his father and now with 150 employees, learned he had inoperable cancer with a year or so to live.
My Role Having worked with the owner, immediate family members, and senior staff for years as the outsourced “human resources lawyer,” the owner confided in me about his situation. His three children, whom I had known well, had each worked in the business. Yet the owner was sensitive to the fact that his children were driven by other interests. Over a period of months, I worked with him as he made decisions and prepared for when and how to bring closure to his business. He also was determined to continue one part of the business (selling land that he owned for development) in order to continue to contribute to his children.
Results He met with each of his children and each member of senior staff and explained the situation. Each and every employee (all 150) had an “private audience” with the owner and received a bonus. The “land” part of the business continues to thrive and contribute to his children today.
Managing Human Needs While Downsizing
Trigger A YMCA faced the loss of one-third of its operating funds from a funding source six weeks before the end of the contract period.
My Role Together we reviewed all options available, including those that were proposed but ultimately eliminated, and “walked through the task” in such a way that the risk of “community fallout” was minimized. This included working with the board and senior staff as they:
identified those negatively impacted by the decision to “downsize,”
clearly articulated the reasons for this
explained to those remaining as well as leaving, how the “downsizing” was to be acomplished
explained to those the organization served, what was happening in a variety of communication formats
improved the way in which funding was communicated by senior staff and reviewed by the board.
Results No lawsuits; no decrease in funding from individuals in the community; continued participation in the organization by former employees; sympathetic local press coverage.
Focusing on the Plan While Strengthening the Team
Trigger Two organizations serving community literacy with divergent philosophies, merged. Funding sources wanted to be sure the “new” organization knew who it was, where it was going, and how it would get there. The organization embarked on the development of a 5 year Strategic Plan as well as a team-building exercise to support staff integration.
My Role Together input was gathered from all levels of the organization (board, staff, volunteers, students, public and private funders). Six focus group sessions were conducted over a period of 3 months (2 focusing developing the Mission Statement, the balance on identifying and flushing out key areas of concern in light of the merger). A team-building exercise also revealed some misunderstandings among the staff and management
Results The organization received additional funding from the Chicago Community Trust. Communication and cooperation between staff at all levels of the organization improved. The ability of the organization to provide productive and cost-effective programs improved, providing a way to demonstrate this to other potential funding sources. Recognition also was received from the larger community for the services the organization provides.
Find Your Way Through
Take the first step. Contact me today to see how I can help your organization navigate the headwinds facing you and come out all the stronger.