Case Studies

EXECUTIVE MANAGEMENT
SECTOR

Manufacturing – Agricultural Equipment Sector

WHO

A global company operating in Southern Ontario with a 100-year history, this client is also one of only four companies competing on a worldwide basis in their industry. This company employs approximately 150 staff in total and manufactures primarily in Canada, with a smaller subsidiary in China to serve the Asian market.

WHAT

Although financially sound and strong in its home market, the company had lost worldwide leadership and market share in the last decade and failed to update its business structures and practices.
Once the parent company decided to shake up top management and introduce a new president, the Osborne Principal was asked to join the company as Executive Vice President while the incoming President transitioned from his former role in the organization. The Principal utilized prior experience in manufacturing change management and a previous working relationship with the incoming president to support the design and execution of the changes.
As E.V.P., the Osborne Principal was primarily responsible for engineering, finance and operations, allowing the president time to assess the company’s marketing and sales capabilities and plan broad product and structural re-organization.

HOW

Over this assignment that lasted 200 days, the Osborne Principal sustained profitable operations and worked with the President to identify strategic business and key personnel changes necessary to position the company for growth. The target was to position the company for a return to the market share enjoyed in the past.

Two needs were articulated initially, with a third occurring later in the process:

1) Assess the business situation

Products, product quality, people capability, sales competence and operating systems were reviewed in the first 60 days. A broad ranging restructuring plan was crafted to be implemented over year one and beyond. The plan and its cost were then presented to the parent company, debated and accepted for implementation. Plan execution went forward over the next 9 months with the President championing the process. Along the way, the President and EVP communicated progress both internally and to the parent company to reassure stakeholders in a period of rapid and risky change

2) Coach the president

With significant experience in similar situations and leadership roles, the Osborne Principal was able to provide feedback to the incoming President with respect to communications issues and change management in his new role. Because the Osborne Principal was in an interim role, there was no conflict of motives or ambition. In this case, the incoming President was relocating to Canada from offshore so the Osborne Principal provided a daily point of contact for company staff during the period of uncertainty that is inevitable with such extensive change.

3) Additional support

Coincidentally, late in the first phase of change, a key financial manager elected to leave unexpectedly. The Osborne Group had an immediate interim Controller replacement available and bridged the financial management need seamlessly. This was important to both the company and its parent as the new changes had major financial costs to be absorbed.

RESULTS
  • Achieved planned growth in phase one of the restructuring with interim Osborne Principal onsite in an operational role.
  • Restructured management and operational resources for future business success.
  • Retained credibility both with the parent company and with key customers in home markets and offshore.
  • Supported unanticipated management departure from within Osborne Group resources.
NFP GOVERNANCE & MANAGEMENT
WHO

A collection of geographically diverse and distinctly run foundations raising funds within their respective territories to support health services. As part of total fundraising, each organization holds its own distinct relationship with a common international fund-raising organization that aids them in fundraising at a local level.

WHAT

To develop a new support model for the international organization in Canada that is more efficient and effective than the current state, and delivers high-quality support to its Canadian members and their corporate and community partners.

HOW

The project required contact with many varied stakeholders and had a very tight timeline. To enable quick implementation and execution we implemented the following steps:

  • Develop and confirm a detailed work plan
  • Develop a communication plan to ensure timely transfer of information and effective completion of the work plan
  • Conduct information and data gathering:
    • Identify key stakeholders
    • Conduct stakeholder one-on-one interviews – approximately 18 individual interviews and information sessions
    • Conduct employee and stakeholder surveys to gather additional data
    • Synthesise findings for stakeholders into readable, concise and actionable documentation
  • Develop Reports and Recommendations
    • Identify three possible governance model options, with accompanying benefits/challenges
    • Identify three possible organization design model options, with accompanying benefits/challenges
  • Presentation of findings to stakeholders
  • Facilitation of key stakeholder sessions to finalize options for organizational design and governance models and develop plan to execute

Assist in financial modeling of new organizational design

RESULTS
  • New organizational design selected from presented options
  • New governance model selected from presented options
  • New organization developed and in operation within 18 months
FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT
SECTOR

Not for Profit Social Services

WHO

The organization consists of roughly 100 clubs serving over 625 communities across Canada. They have an established history of over 100 years providing physical activity, healthy living, and learning to young people in need. There are 3 regional offices and the head office is in Toronto, ON. .

WHAT

The company CEO had a previous relationship with an Osborne Principal, and the company needs were shared through that connection. After hearing of the company situation, Osborne was able to provide an appropriate professional to assist the client.
The client had expressed interest in making changes to his Executive, including the VP Finance role and hoped to make the change as seamlessly as possible with the guidance of the Principal.
The Principal worked as the Interim VP Finance over a period of 8 months until the new hire was made and was successfully integrated into the business.

HOW

The Osborne Principal offered a high-level of experience and expertise which enabled quick and easy comprehension of the requirements of the role. From studying the role and understanding what is required, the Principal pinpointed the issues with the current staff and made educated recommendations for a new hire.
The Principal found that the company finance staff had a good handle on the accounting and that the real purpose of the interim role was to help the CEO curate and present the finances to the finance committee, the board of directors and management team.
In a series of one-on-one discussions with the CEO, the Principal laid out a series of recommendations for the new hire including attributes, personality, and characteristics. In the hiring process, the CEO felt that the Principal should act as an advisor to the hiring committee rather than a member. This allowed the CEO and his Executive Team to establish a more critical perspective of the entire process to support each of the team members simultaneously. The Principal provided support to the orientation of the new VP as part of the transition team.

RESULTS

During the tenure as interim VP, Finance, the Principal actioned and finalized a number of initiatives typical for this role. This included the development and approval of the annual Budget, annual renewal of insurance programs, changes and improvements to financial controls and software support, and they began the development of improved management financial reports and key performance indicators. In order to assist with the transition of the role to the new VP, there was an organized orientation checklist prepared as well as on-site support for the initial training period.
The final package prepared by the Principal included details of interactions with key people, key instructions, and key materials for future use.

HUMAN RESOURCES
SECTOR

Not-For-Profit Community Mental Health Service Provider

WHO

This client is a 25+ year community mental health organization. Their focus is on assisting families who have a loved one with mental health issues in providing support and education for the family involved. They cover a wide range of ages and support programs that maintain a family-wide focus. Located in the GTA, this organization receives funding from a number of major organizations in the community and employs an Executive Director, two part-time administrative staff and 10 family/youth support workers.

SCOPE

Like many interim assignments, the start point was to step in as an Interim Executive Director a couple of days a week for a few months while the Executive Director was on leave. Things changed when the Executive Director departed and the assignment was extended for another three months and expanded to include the recruitment of the replacement for the full-time Executive Director.

HOW

Reporting to the Board Chair, the Interim ED took on all the responsibilities of the full-time role with the exception of financial signing authority (which was retained by Board members). Although the assignment was only two days a week for 3 months, dropping to 1 day a week for the last 2 months, much was accomplished due to the breadth of experience of the Osborne Principal assigned.

RESULTS/DELIVERABLES
  • Provided support to staff and the Board and continuity to the organization during the transition
  • Ensured compliance with funding agreement reporting requirements and applied for 2018-19 grant
  • Created HR files and communicated HR policies and procedures to staff
  • Worked with new external auditor to complete the 2016-17 audit and identify needed financial management improvements
  • Addressed Employer Health Tax issue
  • Established procedures to manage multi-year Ontario Trillium Foundation grant, including development of an Intermediary Agreement with a non-charitable partner organization
  • Advised Board on Bylaw requirements and provided orientation packages to new Board members
  • Supported initiation of special projects on Clinical Procedures Manual and Client Data System project.
  • Assisted the Board in the recruitment of a full-time Executive Director (job description, competencies, advertising, candidate evaluation, initial interviews, offer negotiation and transition).
  • Addressed various financial, funding, administrative and human resources issues
COMMUNITY & HEALTH SERVICES
WHO

Ontario’s largest children’s mental health agency with multiple sites and programs. Funded primarily by the Ministry of Children and Youth Services.

WHAT

Ontario’s largest children’s mental health agency proves treatment and family programs, child care centers, autism services and youth justice services, in addition to operating an outdoor center. As part of a strategic planning process, the agency identified a key priority to transform clinical practices by implementing Evidence Based Practices (EBP’s) across all services of the agency.

HOW

The Osborne Group was engaged as Project Manager for the Clinical Transformation Project. In this capacity, the Project Lead was responsible for developing and monitoring adherence to the critical path and budget, organization and leadership of the Steering Committee, providing direction to multiple project teams, and coordination of all related activities. The change management process which was used for the multi-year project was that developed by Dean Fixsen of the National Implementation Research Network.

The Project Manager worked alongside the staff at all levels who were actually completing the work assignment whether it was a Clinical Director or a front line worker. The Project Manager educated all participants in the change process and was a major champion/spokesperson through the duration of the project for the new way of operating. The extensive documentation of the process that exists on the agency’s sharepoint application means that all the working papers of every staff-led group is available to the agency for reference and development. This included a timeline/chronology of the entire project created by The Osborne Group of key developments and decisions throughout the process.

As part of the Fixsen model, the agency created a Clinical transformation “Practice Leader” role to ensure ongoing fidelity to the model.

RESULTS

Major Outcomes of this project were the implementation of:

  • A change management process that is broadly understood by all management and many staff who were active on the project.
  • A menu of evidence-based interventions for children and youth mental health issues that is consistently used across all of the agency’s programs.
  • The redevelopment of the Client information system to support a Client-centered approach to treatment and Client service.
  • The development of a research and evaluation capability to support the work within the agency’s programs but is also a resource for other agencies in the sector.
  • A comprehensive sustainability plan for the work that was started that sets out the organizational requirements that have been put in place or are under development to support the transformed organization going forward.
MARKETING, SALES & COMMUNICATIONS
WHO

A diverse Greater Toronto Area municipality with a population of approximately 300,000.

WHAT

In response to the development of the Metrolinx plan for a new approach to transit for The Greater Toronto Area, the municipality wanted to inform residents about how transportation and transit issues are being solved in large municipalities globally and to seek their perspectives on how their local needs and interests should be incorporated into the broader Metrolinx plan.

HOW

Two public engagement meetings were held:
1) The first meeting explored the future of transportation and transportation in metropolitan communities through a panel discussion with international experts who participated in person and via video link.

  • Subject matter included a look at current global transit success stories and future challenges.
  • Residents were invited to attend in person or via weblink.
  • Residents posted questions to the experts both in person and by web.

2) The second meeting explored proposed plans for a GTA-wide transit system and the specific needs of the municipality through presentations from Metrolinx executives, municipal staff and council members.

A comprehensive communications program encouraged residents to attend one or both meetings so they could share their views.

RESULTS

Both meetings were attended by several hundred residents both in person and via webcast.  The format was enthusiastically received by residents and participants.  More people turned out for these meetings than had participated in all the public meetings held  across the GTA by Metrolinx to solicit public input on their plans.

OPERATIONS & SUPPLY CHAIN MANAGEMENT
SECTOR

Supply Chain – Healthcare

WHO

This client is a national company providing procurement services to more than 300 hospitals and long-term care facilities. From its office in Ontario, this company provides services to organizations across the province, and several others in Eastern Canada. The company does not receive government funding and relies entirely on revenue generated from customer fees. The 60-person organization is lead by a Chief Executive Officer, a Chief Financial Officer and 2 functional Vice Presidents. Staff are divided between back office operations, front line service delivery and clinical support for front line service delivery.

WHAT

Initially, this engagement began as a three-month assignment to assume the interim CEO role on a full-time basis reporting to the Board of Directors. A key requirement was to establish a strategic vision for the organization and gain Board support for it. The board coalesced on a strategic vision and extended the engagement, ultimately for eleven months to allow for implementation of the strategic vision and transition of the organization to new leadership.

HOW

Reporting to the Board Chair, the interim CEO assumed full operating authority for the organization on a full-time basis. Key leadership positions within the organization were re-energized and, as required, filled with newly recruited leadership. Day-to-day operations were stabilized after the sudden change of leadership with a rigorous and targeted operating strategy focused on agreed upon key objectives. Lean six sigma principles were applied through the establishment of internal process improvement working groups to address customer service concerns.

RESULTS
  • Developed strategic options and presented to the Board for consideration and approval
  • Developed and implemented a focused operational plan targeted at improving customer satisfaction and delivering on high priority business objectives
  • Oversaw spend management, identifying cost savings opportunities, coming in on budget despite incurring a number of extraordinary expenses
  • Improved customer satisfaction and increased year over year revenue, through the addition of new products and increased demand for existing products.
  • Advised board on governance and by-laws in support of a substantive change in the organization’s legal structure.
  • Led shareholder communications regarding change in legal structure which ultimately received full shareholder support.
BUSINESS SUCCESSION & TRANSITION MANAGEMENT
SECTOR

Not-for-profit

WHO

Three community agencies operating in Central Ontario. The three boards saw an opportunity for a larger, amalgamated entity to achieve financial stability and improve service delivery across a wide, mostly rural geography.
The amalgamation took place in two steps. The two agencies that were closer geographically merged to create one agency serving a larger local area. Subsequently, the third agency amalgamated with the new organization to create one entity serving the entire area.
Two Osborne consultants planned and facilitated the second transition.

WHAT

The goals of the amalgamation were to increase the capacity of each agency as one organization that would offer improved accessibility, community support and more equitable services across the entire geography, while continuing to address local needs.
The paramount objective was to provide better support for individuals and families by increasing services, providing consistency across the entire geographic region, and increasing the capacity to pursue innovation.

HOW

The amalgamation took place in four stages:

  • Due diligence
    1. Analysis of the positions of both agencies
    2. Determination of any substantial impediments to integration
      1. Acknowledgement that differing organizational cultures could be a significant factor in achieving success
  • Governance and oversight
    1. Creation of a joint Board Steering Committee
      1. The right size and composition led to highly productive partnership meetings
    2. Monthly meetings with accountability back to the respective Boards
    3. Team developed and was guided by a set of project principles
  • Planning
    1. Planning of all key aspects of organizational integration
      1. Governance
      2. Service delivery
      3. Risk management
      4. Leadership
      5. Communication
      6. Members’ meetings
    2. Keeping both Boards informed, getting approval as required
  • Implementation
    1. Pre-amalgamation
      1. Confirmation of staff leadership for the new entity
      2. Establishment of new board and governance, using a skills-based matrix
    2. Post-amalgamation
      1. Integration of all functional areas; establishment of organizational culture; change management strategies
      2. Important board roles (visioning, strategic planning, policy)
RESULTS

With expert guidance, the Osborne Principals led the former agencies to a successful amalgamation. The final results & deliverables included:

  • Unanimous approval by both memberships
  • News of amalgamation very well received by staff, families, and bargaining agent
  • Amalgamation achieved on time and under a budget of $10 million
  • New Board structure and new Bylaw
  • Staff leadership confirmed and in place
  • Process for managing change & transition
  • New organizational structure being developed
  • Excitement and anticipation (with a little nervousness)
FUNDRAISING, COMMUNICATIONS & ADVOCACY
SECTOR

Not-for-Profit: Fundraising Sector

Who

A collection of geographically diverse and distinctly run foundations raising funds within their respective territories to support health services. As part of total fundraising, each organization holds its own distinct relationship with a common international fund-raising organization that aids them in fundraising at a local level.

THE NATURE/PURPOSE of the assignment

To develop a new support model for the international organization in Canada that is more efficient and effective than current state, and delivers high-quality support to its Canadian members and their corporate and community partners.

HOW

The project required contact with many varied stakeholders and had a very tight timeline. To enable quick implementation and execution we implemented the following steps:

  • Develop and confirm a detailed work plan
  • Develop a communication plan to ensure timely transfer of information and effective completion of the work plan
  • Conduct information and data gathering:
    • Identify key stakeholders
    • Conduct stakeholder one-on-one interviews – approximately 18 individual interviews and information sessions
    • Conduct employee and stakeholder surveys to gather additional data
    • Synthesise findings for stakeholders into readable, concise and actionable documentation
  • Develop Reports and Recommendations
    • Identify three possible governance model options, with accompanying benefits/challenges
    • Identify three possible organization design model options, with accompanying benefits/challenges
  • Presentation of findings to stakeholders
  • Facilitation of key stakeholder sessions to finalize options for organizational design and governance models and develop plan to execute
  • Assist in financial modeling of new organizational design
RESULTS/Deliverables
  • New organizational design selected from presented options
  • New governance model selected from presented options
  • New organization developed and in operation within 18 months
INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY
WHO

Two community-focused social service agencies that have been operating in Toronto for over 60 years. The two agencies deliver similar but not identical types of services to help clients address issues of hunger, homelessness, isolation, unemployment, child care & more.  The two agencies work collaboratively to ensure services are delivered efficiently and with maximum impact.

WHAT

Both agencies were struggling with data quality and information management, caused in part by the disparate sources and content of data collection processes and tools.  The agencies were searching for a strategy that would let them use client data and metrics to improve their ability to communicate with stakeholders and “tell their story”, and to make objective data metrics a key component of their management processes across their programs.

HOW

The Osborne Group Principal involved was engaged to conduct an extensive review that included:

  • Setting priorities and strategic outcomes
  • Performing an assessment of current data sources and processes
  • Developing an appropriate data quality strategy
  • Suggesting recommendations to move forward
RESULTS

The Principal provided the agency with a detailed assessment, problem definitions and a strategy and action plan that addressed the key problems. Final deliverables set out an actionable framework for success and included:

  • Report and recommendations
  • Success measures framework
  • Communications plan
  • Tool assessment
  • Logical data model/data map
  • Job description for Data Analyst
  • Implementation timeline

The conclusions and recommendations included possible outcome/success metrics (that are different from transaction metrics) and the need to spend dedicated resources to actively manage of information, improve consistency and implement process efficiencies. Some recommendations were relatively easy and inexpensive to implement. The clients operate in a fiscally constrained environment and don’t have complete control over the tools they use, so implementing the full set of recommendations is likely to be a long term incremental process. However, the strategy, breadth of recommendations and detailed action plans provide a context for budgeting, project planning and decision making in the future.