Coming out of their shell

The Client

Our client was one of Scotland’s leading providers of shellfish, supplying to many wholesale and retail outlets, including major supermarkets.  With a turnover was £5 million, they employed approximately 50 people in their central processing and distribution facility.  They sold products both under their own brand, as well as supplying ‘white label’ products to some supermarkets as their ‘own make brands’.

The Situation

The senior management team, made up of the MD and CEO, contacted us to help them to work with their board to help them see the potential of the company, which they believed was capable of quadrupling their turnover.

The members of the board were a co-operative of shellfish farmers from all over the country, mostly from the north of Scotland.  They not only owned a stake in the business but were also the sole supplier of product to the business.  This causes some conflict of interest since the farmers primary goal was to sell their own ‘crop’ and were not necessarily very interested the goals and aspirations of the central business.

The Journey Part 1

This was an unusual Journey for a number of reasons, the main ones being the diverse nature of the people involved and the timescales.  Due to the fact that most of the participants had their own business to run and were coming from all over the country, including the isles, we only had two days to complete the whole Journey.  This process would normally take a few weeks to complete with the workshops being held a few days apart in order to give us time to analyse and structure the information gathered.

We held a series of group workshops over the two days, each one focusing on different elements of the Journey process and linking to the information gathered in the previous workshops.  We took steps to accelerate the process by, for example, capturing the information generated by the group ‘live’ and analysing it between sessions.

Our process enabled the entire group to reach consensus on a very ambitious set of goals and aspirations for the business as a whole as well as what changes needed to be implemented in order to achieve their vision.

The Journey Part 2

We have found that involving the people who will ultimately be responsible for delivering the changes that are required to achieve the organisation’s goals is very important, both in terms of getting buy-in from them but also gaining access to the ‘real world’ knowledge that they have which is invaluable in identifying and implementing the changes that matter in the organisation.

Consequently, we subsequently worked with the internal management team to give them an insight to the work we did with the executive team and to gain their input into how to achieve the goals that were agreed.  We ran both group workshops and individual interviews with the members of the team in order to gain the  While this produced positive results with many new ideas being generated it did identify some issues that would have to be overcome to achieve the desired objectives.

The Outcome

The board agreed to what was for them major changes to their organisation which, given their very conservative outlook was a huge step for them.  The fact that we were able to achieve this in just two days surprised even us!

The management team bought into the new goals and objectives and managed to sort out the issued that they felt would potentially get in the way of achieving their goals.

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