This is a true story of time, energy, and unwavering commitment to change.
It is a story of digging out of the weeds, seeing the flaws, and giving it their all to produce brilliant results from a tsunami of change.
Names have been changed to protect client anonymity.
Meet the Johnson Group, an advisory firm to families and small businesses.
We met when they had 1% profitability, lost a senior staff member, the sales pipeline was stagnant, and they could feel a sluggish culture and outdated client experience.
The positives were their loyal team of 18 people, a 40+ year presence in their community, and gross recurring revenue of $4 million.
They knew they needed changes, didn’t know where to start, and the volume of necessary changes was overwhelming.
We started digging out of the mental black hole by:
1. Identifying their Leaders, which are those open to change, forward thinkers, knowledgeable in at least one area of the business, and willing to have tough conversationsproductive, collaborative, inclusive discussions2. Drafting a plan of changes that were prioritized to incur the least fatigue, resistance, and cost while gaining the biggest positive impact 3. Teaching them how to facilitate
FIRST PHASE OF CHANGE:
We chose a tech change because it was perceived as less confrontational than others.
We worked with the Client Leader to train support staff on how to convince clients to use the online servicing portal.
This project:freed up time to make other business changes 4. eliminated the fear of tech replacing people 5. gave clients a sense that the firm was improving1. empowered support staff 2. lowered the workload, which increased profitability 3.
At the same time, we had to solve the profitability issue.
We worked with the Finance Leader to project future income and expenses.
We worked with the Client Leader and key staff to document client services.
We let these visuals show the pressure on revenue and capacity, which resulted in:documented processes are useful to holding their senior execs accountable and not ‘big brother’ 4. prioritizing marketing changes over energy-sapping 1-1 sales efforts1. advisors gaining courage to ask prospects and clients if they wanted higher fees or lower service 2. staff adopting servicing standards and efficiencies to avoid wavering and time-wasting anomalies 3. staff learning that
All these wins led to many more ……….
The once overwhelmed and fiscally stagnated firm moved to a mode of continuous improvements and deliberate planning within 6 months.
Profitability increased to 15% in the first year and 21% in the second year.
The firm’s valuation increased by 50% in the second year.
HOW THEY FELT:
Here is how they felt:
“We were able to work smarter, not harder. We eliminated unnecessary work to focus on what each of us does best. Working with Jennifer helped build a deeper trust within an already close team.” – President
“We recognize part of our future success is based on an endogenous cycle of improvement, innovation, and implementation. The other part is based those elements of our firm that have remained persistent- our core values, our support for one another and our focus on client service” – C-Suite Exec
As a firm, we look forward to keeping our legacy going into the future.” Client Management Exec
How you feel, about a change, is what inspires you to continue improving or giving up. They were inspired to improve.
HOW YOU CAN DO THIS:
Write down all your business dreams and flaws.
Share with others so they can add, refine, and define possible solutions.
Then …….. Breathe. Refine. Do. Celebrate. 😀