Case Study

Helping a leadership team harness explosive growth

The Challenge

Imagine you are a founder-run company ready to move from startup to explosive growth. You have successfully navigated the challenges of proving your business model largely based on the hands-on leadership of your founders. Now you must harness a larger group of capable leaders to help the company achieve its potential.


Our client is a high-growth financial services firm navigating the challenges of transitioning from a founder-run startup to a scaled up company with a viable long-term future. The founders recognized that doing so required a sharper strategy and a deeper leadership bench. They faced challenges common to many rapidly-growing companies:


Operationally-focused executive leadership: A small, founder-dominated executive team managed most daily operations and decision-making across the firm. Strategic choices often got squeezed out by short-term demands.

– A numbers-only plan: While essential to navigating the start-up era, the company’s plan lacked a clear articulation of the longer-term direction of the firm and the rationale behind their choices.

A sparse leadership bench:  Since the firm had been run under the daily guidance of the founders, few of the other potential leaders in the company had the opportunity to develop and prove their leadership ability. This threatened the firm’s ongoing capacity to grow.



The Approach

Identify essential strategic questions and discern how to constructively involve a broader group of individuals in answering those questions.

One of the greatest challenges faced by firms trying to scale is developing and deploying a longer-term strategy while building their leadership bench.     

Our client’s leaders worked collaboratively through our Apex process, a facilitated interactive series of workshops that uses a shared language and visual thinking to help teams turn vision into actionable plans.

By addressing the real challenges and opportunities facing the firm, the leadership team set a renewed strategic direction and operational priorities–together–creating a memorable, understandable, repeatable story that applied to the broader organization and provided strategy clarity and buy-in for all.  

After years of feeling like they were just keeping up with managing the existing business, the leaders had a long-term plan. Better yet, the plan was based on outside-in thinking that translated into coherent actions. 

The Result:
Climbing Higher

Our client is executing a robust and aggressive growth plan to double their business over 3 years.

First-year results include:

  • Higher than projected revenue and profit to date
  • The creation and deployment of baseline client satisfaction metrics
  • An increase in the number of leaders heavily involved in strategy execution from 3 to 20+
  • The creation of three distinct leadership teams focused on strategy, long-term initiative deployment, and operational leadership. These teams are dramatically expanding the organization’s leadership bench while knocking down hurdles to growth.



“We finally have a strategy.”

Founder & CEO