Catalyst Strategic Consultants

How does your business need to grow?

From here to there…

When I get involved with a young company – one whose success has allowed them to think bigger – my job is to simplify for the leadership. Presidents, like everyone else in this overstuffed world of priorities, are swimming in a rip tide. They have their sights on something but they and their companies get carried along by wherever the mass of the ocean is headed. So it’s easy to get a bit lost – and just swim.

Times like this, it’s hard to remember that it was your success that got you into the water in the first place. So when Jean and I started talking, it was all about what was missing and not getting done. Not that he could be all that precise about exactly where he wanted his oil service co [let’s call them “Rivet”] to go. In fact, he really wasn’t that clear.

He knew what he didn’t want! He didn’t want the scrambling, patched together quality of execution they were drifting toward. He wanted to retain his prized safety record – the key to the inner circle of providers for the majors. He wanted to boost his profitability.   Mostly slippage and missed opportunity were bugging him.

In short, he wanted to remain a player and be a stronger one. But what he was seeing was troubling. There was trouble with meeting standards in dispersed branches. From offices all over the basin, performance was maddeningly inconsistent.

When pressed about what would represent “on standard” performance [that would uniformly please his customer], he finally settled on speed to site. He knew, really knew, that if the time from the customer’s call to arrival on site could be compressed, he was winning.   Sometimes, they were dispatched with lots of advance notice. But the calls they got out of the blue were their openings to expand. A new resource major would drop a bomb of opportunity on them, usually because they’d been disappointed by their usual go-to guys. So, on short notice, often in trying weather and very remote sites, Rivet got their chance.

So, it was finally, with great reluctance, that Jean chose focus on time to site. When we looked closely at it, we were able to say what that time lapse from call to showing up should be. I pressed him hard to make a tight determination. He settled on 14 hours. We knew it had to be inside a day. We knew those calls came at the end of the day. And if you showed up with working time the next day, you could seal the deal.

He didn’t really know what the elapsed time was now, but he had enough data that it well over 24 hours.

So that became our “Here to There”. From over 24 to 14.

Even after we went to the next level in the organization to plot how to pull this off, Jean would back peddle. He wanted more goals: he wanted to cover the whole waterfront.

But that’s the problem. When you’re doing everything, you’re doing nothing. A clear From Here to There is wonderfully clarifying.

Now you may be thinking what yours would be. And it may not be immediately clear. You have lots of metrics you could be watching. It’s hard to sort out the wheat from the chaff – and there’s lots of chaff to cloud your radar.

That’s why an external can be of such help. Identifying the highest leverage metric. The one that will spiff up your internal muscle and can’t help but work for the customer. The one that will mobilize your people: that they can see, understand and identify with.

But not just any external. One who knows how focus works, doesn’t get pulled off into the swamp with all the other alligators, one that can sort out wheat from chaff WITH the President, and have the goal settled on address what he or she is really looking to fix. More on this WITH the President aspect next time….

Doug Bouey
Catalyst Strategic Consultants Ltd.

What’s Our Business?

Bringing out the best in you, your company and your people.

Doug Bouey, President
Catalyst Strategic Consultants Ltd.

Calgary, AB // Phone: 403.777.1144


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