We have recently concluded a company process improvement project. For this project we consulted with Cogent Analytics. We spent 3+ months with Cogent working together to discover areas for improving our company operations. Our initial Analyst was Merlin VanGerpen, our Project Director was Sean Robertson. It was readily apparent that both individuals were highly skilled & very capable of assessing and acting upon business functions. Be it leadership practices, culture, skillsets, behaviors, financial strategies and any number of other aspects. The speed at which they executed their work was very impressive. We were into details and down to business on day one. I can say that I can work at a torrid pace, I met my match with Cogent. The approach was very effective, we are left with a host of improvements and a plan for future ongoing positive change.
An organization is only as good as it’s team. In evaluating our team, leadership growth was a primary focus early on. Our executive team was taught to be much more effective in it’s clarity, expectations, processes, coaching, training and mentoring. A major change in the mindset of the leadership team was to view their role through the eyes of an owner; in other words think and act like an owner. We were taught to execute in a positive supportive company environment. We found that working with leadership skills first made us much more effective at growing our entire team. We have revamped our organizational structure to provide a very effective 360degree feedback loop to which our staff responded very well. Cogent’s observations have led our senior management to significantly change our leadership approach for the better.
Opportunities were identified in our various processes. Many processes needed a 3rd parties objective view to open our minds to suggestions that would produce better results. Cogent fulfilled that mission very well. We had quick action on our safety, schedule, budget control and business development processes to name a few. Our business development and marketing processes have really taken a turn down a better road. We have a road map for developing further process change that will continue to yield benefits.
Our financial controls went from being reporting history to being used for future profit engineering. Cogent provided the techniques and taught us the skillsets needed to be able to better control and have the whole company pitching into the company’s planned profitability. This effort tied our Operations, Estimating, Business Development and Accounting departments together in pressing for a common goal. We launched a bonus incentive plan based on profitability that further gives our entire team “skin in the game” to achieve our financial goals.
Succession and the future longevity of the company is very much a concern. Cogent helped chart a map for the future leadership of ACC that will assure the company will remain viable. Recognizing the value of being stewards of this company for the future generation was a major change in mindset that emboldened our leadership. Certainly changes the perspective on our roles. Having a 3 year, 4 to 8 year plan & beyond was a have to have that enables us to plan for the future of the company. This component existed in bits and pieces before Cogent; it now has a course to follow.
So we now have a company that is better for it’s people and it’s customers. Associated will continue to develop and become more effective as we norm the principals and practices that Cogent has instilled. We are onto the lifecycle portion of Cogent’s work. The spot checks over the next year are invaluable to assuring we understand and stay the course. Sean Robertson did a great job of transferring his vast skills in company operations and culture. Cogent’s efforts were very effective; I felt from day one that they were a cut above their competition in business consulting. Having done this in the past some years ago with another firm, I can truly say that they have proven to be more that just a cut above. Well done!
The Associated Construction Company