The CEO of an emerging, outsourced financial and accounting services company was looking for a way to build and sustain a corporate culture within a virtual organization. The company, in its second year of existence, was doubling its account base each quarter and the CEO was experiencing a growing number of issues around customer dissatisfaction with the assigned staff.
As a first-time CEO and sole owner, this executive was interested in learning how to build the best staff and create the right culture in the early stages of the company’s growth. As a virtual organization, the CEO’s strategy was to use the staff and culture as a competitive edge and differentiator in delivering a consistent, high level of customer service.
There were two key challenges to address:
- How to develop the right staff with the unique combination of contributing not only the best financial expertise but also the critical skills in building successful client relationships.
- How to keep the professional staff of independently working CFOs, controllers and accountants connected and committed to the company’s goals, processes and initiatives while engaged full-time at customers locations.
Inner Resources worked one-on-one with the CEO in helping to design and execute on a Corporate Development Program that would actively engage the staff’s ideas, perspectives and efforts along with those of the CEO. An initial focal point for the CEO was learning how to use a recognized behavioral assessment tool in doing a better job of identifying the best personal traits of staff that was naturally oriented toward developing strong customer relationships. The tool was used as part of the recruiting, training and assignment of staff to client accounts.
The CEO also learned how to drive the future growth and strategy of the company through staff participation by instituting an annual planning and quarterly performance review process. Inner Resources worked with the CEO in staging a series of staff sessions to develop a Five-Year Strategic Plan. The CEO was coached throughout the process on how to use the CEO’s Vision as a catalyst in engaging the best ideas of the staff in executing on the Vision. A set of Strategic Growth Initiatives (SGIs) were identified that were led and developed by different members of the staff.
After more than a year of implementing the Corporate Development Program, the CEO has built a more customer-centric staff of finance and accounting professionals. Team Leaders on SGIs report progress at the quarterly performance review meetings and all are following company processes (designed by staff) that enhance the customer’s experience.
The results is that there are fewer customer complaints and more unsolicited testimonials from clients on the assigned staff saying how great they are. The company is now in the process of formalizing a customer satisfaction survey to measure the ongoing effectiveness of their Corporate Development Program.