The following story was shared by Elise Bouchner, managing partner at leadership development consultancy Excelerant.
Client: A family-owned plumbing, heating, and air conditioning supplier.
Problem: The company had a 75-year history of acquisition and organic growth. Its 40 stores occupied three states, and it was in the process of expanding into yet another state.
Cause/Diagnosis: Ongoing growth and innovation resulted in inconsistency from one store to another. The overall business risked the loss of one common methodology, philosophy, and expectation, especially in relation to its growth.
Methods: The initiative began at the top of the organization: Excelerant engaged managers and recruited a taskforce of senior leaders. The team identified a common strategic goal: to attain consistency across the organization, increase profitability in every market, and approach the business with a bottom-up philosophy.
Next, Excelerant conducted job skills analyses with the help of the company's top talent. The highest performers in each key position (including store manager, sales associate, and so forth) received letters from senior leadership recognizing their talent and requesting their participation on a taskforce. The taskforce members, termed "the All Stars," met to create job descriptions for each of their positions by identifying the behaviors they exhibited and the successes they achieved on the job. These descriptions were combined with goals to create "position success maps" for each role. Position supervisors and all employees in the positions had the opportunity to give feedback about the job descriptions, which allowed for full process visibility.
The All Stars divided each job description into pieces, with focus areas, performance measures, activities, and support processes comprising each piece of the whole. The team identified process holes and designed custom training plans for each position. Training for managers included five or six classes administered during a five- to six-month period and focused on the position success maps. For example, Excelerant implemented a leadership development training program that mapped to the leadership expectations indentified by the All Stars' job analyses.
Results: The company set the stage for ongoing growth and employee success. Branch managers now have detailed guidebooks defining each job position and describing necessary behaviors for employee success.