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Lessons Learned: Invest in Your Team

I took the Strategic Planning Course in 2005/06; the impact on my company was immediate and dramatic. Over the next 6 years our sales doubled and our profit levels more than doubled. The course was exactly what I needed to help me understand the unique value that we offer and how to find customers that appreciate it.

I returned to the course year after year, always gaining new insights and happy to be able to contribute to the SPC community as a learning partner and later, a member of the planning committee. I came to look forward to the start of SPC every September and it is now as much a part of my seasonal clock as raking leaves and cleaning gutters.

Starting in 2012, as our eight person staff grew to a dozen as young, energetic people replaced retirees. I came to the realization that those who were going to help me run and grow my company needed to have the same business perspective that I did. I concluded that having my team experience SPC was an excellent way to accomplish this.

While the Strategic Planning Course is primarily intended to help business owners grow their firms, become more profitable and plan their exit, there are many benefits to putting key employees through the course as well. Doing so builds knowledge, skills and accountability into the team members – apart from the owner – and therefore increases the value of the firm to most potential buyers. As of this spring, five Wecall employees (including myself) have graduated from the course and I expect this trend to continue. I’m convinced that this is one of the best investments that I can possibly make in my people.

The following are what I see as the significant benefits:

Skills Going through the analysis exercises that make up the first three sessions provides the staff member with a deeper understanding of where and how the company earns its profits and may even result in new insights to the owner, by virtue of a different set of eyes looking at the same data, or perhaps the data has changed substantially since the owner took the course. Culture All participants in the Course are paired with a mentor/learning partner who has been through the course. The SPC mentor community is filled with business owners and senior managers who understand the strategic power of a strong company culture and freely share their experiences. Seeing how this has enabled the success of these other companies reinforces staff commitment to building our culture and empowers them to act on their own. Professional Growth Working with other business owners and building their own professional networks provides your team with confidence to use their own judgement and even challenge the owner to stay focused on the company mission.

Entrepreneurial Mindset Seeing firsthand how other businesses grow, evolve and succeed has great potential to help team members develop the confidence to experiment with new problem solving approaches and take risks. This learning will help them contribute at a higher level in their current position and will serve them well in future roles.

Paul Doherty is the president of Wecall Inc. Wecall Inc. manufactures specialty fasteners which are used in bridges, buildings and heavy industrial applications. Wecall products are sold worldwide to bolt manufacturers, fastener distributors, steel fabricators and general contractors. The company was founded in 1980 by Paul’s parents. Paul joined the company in 1997 after spending 13 years with General Motors in engineering and sales roles. Paul purchased Wecall Inc. in 1998 and now serves as President. Paul has been actively involved in the Strategic Planning Course since 2005. To learn more about how the SPC 3.0 Strategic Planning Course can transform your business click HERE.

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