In this short case study, we explain how building a leadership team helped an already successful business prepare for a capital event.
To all external appearances, this business was already a great success. With more than 170 employees from a standing start less than 10 years ago, it had enjoyed strong year-on-year growth built on a highly scalable business model. It came as no surprise to learn that the Owners were looking ahead towards an exit of some sort.
As successful entrepreneurs already, they knew that any Private Equity investor would examine the quality of their leadership team. Specifically, they would test the team’s capability to lead the business through its next phase of growth and overcome different challenges to those it had encountered to date.
Our brief was to help a very capable group of functional heads become an effective and credible leadership team. The requirement was to improve their collective capability to plan ahead and take decisions based on robust business cases. Whilst they didn’t need to become accountants, they did need to increase their financial acumen.
Day 1 was enlightening. As individuals arrived, they were puzzled to see who else was in the room. Furthermore, amongst the participants there was already an ‘inner group’ and an ‘outer circle’. Clearly we would have to address a lot a human dynamics in order to forge a sense of collective identity and purpose.
Secondly, the people in the room had no context. They didn’t really understand why they were there or what to expect.
A Programme to Build A Leadership Team
Over the course of the following 18 months, we delivered a programme to build a leadership team based around three pillars:
- Developing strategic business leadership
- Managing growth
- Financial rigour
For the third pillar, we introduced a specialist financial coach when we felt that would help the participants.
This content and the way of working was deliberately agile. We needed the flexibility to address operational issues that arose from time to time and which would otherwise have distracted the participants.
As the programme progressed, we held regular written and face to face reviews with the business Owners. This was important to ensure that as the business context evolved, we kept building a leadership team in sync with business requirements.
Towards the end of the programme, the business was successful in raising the capital it required. What is more, during due diligence all of the potential investors commented on the clear alignment of the leadership team.
Here’s what the team itself had to say:
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