Case Studies

Family Owned Service Business - Construction

The Challenge:

A 35 plus year old family owned Electrical Contracting business was struggling through an ownership transition from father to son. Father was exerting his independent authority, whichundermined his son's management decisions creating conflict within the organization. Revenues had increased in the prior 3 years, while bottom line results remained flat. Hired by the owner's son, we focused on the development of a strategy for the business and a development plan that would enable him to assert his management and leadership presence.

Solution Milestones:

  • Worked with the owner's son to address the issues between he and his father that were affecting his ability to emerge from the shadow of the owner's son to being recognized as president and decision maker.
  • An organizational assessment was completed, resulting in a short term strategy to streamline organizational and process improvement issues.
  • Identified day to day workflow and inventory control issues to reduce costs and improve inefficiencies. Assisted in the introduction of an electronic inventory system that streamlined the operation and significantly reduced inventory costs and lost time.
  • Trained technical and support personnel in Customer Loyalty Process techniques focused on engaging effectively with customers by establishing connections that build confidence and trust.
  • Investments in branding were made to enhance the company's professional image and visible presence within the community.
  • Management Development Process conducted to facilitate succession and work/personal balance for owner.


  • At the end of the first year, bottom line performance exceeded expectations.
  • Achieved double digit growth in their custom audio electronics system installation service business.
  • Business growth enabled the acquisition of a complimentary High Voltage business enabling the company to complete more broadly in their market space.
  • Performance has improved year over for the past three years. Despite downturn in the economy and construction industry, company continues to maintain a stable workforce and overall financial health of the business.
  • The President/Owner of the business was recognized by the Academic Center for Entrepreneurship (ACE) as their
    2008 Cornerstone Entrepreneur of the Year.

Global Organization Consulting

As the Executive V.P. of Human Resources located in Paris, I had the functional leadership challenge of evolving an existing HR organization into an international team capable of meeting the professional challenges of a changing French global manufacturing business.

Based on the initial geographical challenges we faced, I engaged Norm Gauthier to provide organizational consulting support in the U.S. I knew he was someone I could work with and trust, especially in working remotely with me from Europe. His experience, allowed him to quickly assess what we had, the major challenges we faced, and helped identify step by step what needed to be done. He also helped define the needs in terms of skills and competencies required in building an effective international HR presence.

He used his business consulting experience and knowledge of HR practice to carefully focus on individual and collective development 'gaps' creating conditions that allowed team members to take risks, experience new roles and the end take on more of a leadership position. During this change management process, he took on individual and team coaching assignments in support of several organizational initiatives. He also developed several international train-the-trainer development modules, linking each to the staged development and roll-out of critical management tools.

Results of the work… we now have a worldwide HR organization that uses the same processes and tools despite their location in the world, which is rare for a Global company. Our HR members are recognized by Business Unit management as professionals they involve early in the change process to provide advice and counsel. And, with the focus on developing leadership and accountability at the operational HR management level, the team now exercises a different level of problem solving and collaboration that requires less leadership time and involvement in decision making.

An outstanding work quality that is very effective…Norman respects the fine line between the 'decision maker' and the team - thus creating a challenging environment for the boss and a safe environment for the team to take on initiatives and risk - learning conditions that we needed.

J. Dekker,
Executive V.P., Human Resources Sperian Protection

Executive Coaching & Consulting - Boston, MA

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