A divided multi-generational organization aligns into a cohesive family unit.
Ampersand was asked to help a large private equity firm with assessing their recent investment in a multi-generational family-run beauty, fashion, and home products company. The portfolio organization maintained a strong foothold in producing, distributing and marketing, and was in the midst of significant industry growth through both branded and private labels.
Our tasks were to bring clarity around the true capabilities of the portfolio organization; align the management team around the evolving mission; and guide the organization through the next steps of PE ownership – all while maintaining a deft touch to preserve the deep, family-oriented culture.
Confronting the Challenge: What We Knew
It was clear that PE involvement was a much needed and welcome partner to help the portfolio organization reach its goals. But while the organization was ready to holistically apply updated capabilities, coordination and structure, they lacked the internal tools and strategy to do so.
Improving product development, supporting manufacturing, and resolving IT-related issues left organizational question marks and functional gaps to address. And while the new investors saw promising growth through new departments and capabilities, the strategy to bring them to completion was yet unclear.
With an aggressive thesis – and a completed sale – on the line, the PE firm needed insight into the organizational structure, team effectiveness, gaps in talent, and capabilities needed to meet their proposal and achieve a successful exit.
Our approach integrated elements of assessment and development to identify opportunities for improvement and facilitate alignment from all stakeholders. Through individual interviews, group sessions, 360 feedback, and detailed action planning, we were able to spark transformation and key development within the organization.
Discovery: What We Found
The organization was already checking many boxes for success: a family-like culture inspired passion, commitment, and a sense of pride, and there was notable momentum and optimism on the leadership team surrounding recent strategies for growth. A competitive market position and strength in the organization’s nimbleness were generating high hopes about the future and the ability to seize the opportunities ahead.
But utilizing their newfound PE partnership to successfully get to that next level meant addressing significant impediments to growth. While revered, the family legacy and paternal culture had created three disconnected cultural factions, resulting in widespread misunderstanding and miscommunication of initiatives. Several key functions needed immediate upgrading to provide the crucial talent and capabilities to drive growth. And existing core enterprise processes were suboptimal and overly complex; streamlining and integrating was essential to cross-functional collaboration and more consistent execution.
Outcomes: What We Contributed
- Aligned the portfolio organization and the new PE owners to work towards the same strategic goals, forging a deep and trusting long-term partnership.
- Transformed leadership team dynamics to allow for solid collaboration with the PE firm and with each other. Strategizing and effectively addressing risk and opportunities has been accomplished by working together.
- Unearthed and recommended solutions for challenges around team dynamics and organizational structure, including post-assessment guidance to ensure the right decisions were made for performance and cultural fit.
- Developed critical talent with new hires and promotions across major roles, including CHRO, CFO, and Head of Sales. A-players have been developed or hired and thoughtfully onboarded; they are ready to scale with the company.
- Created an environment for change; because of the leadership’s willingness to receive feedback, they have tightened their processes and upgraded functional areas, allowing for year-over-year growth.
- Improved communication of the strategy has permeated the organization’s geographic reach; everyone from corporate to manufacturing is rowing in the same direction and operating as one.
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