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Case Studies

J.Edgar Group, PLLC

Background:

An organization in its infancy, J. Edgar Group was struggling to identify which area to focus its public accounting services and energy. The three-year-old firm was holding its own, but not growing or meeting its owner’s expectations. J. Edgar Group President Joanne L. Edgar, CPA, contracted with Sojourn Partners to help her focus on where she wanted to take the company and to shape how she was going to get there.

Assessment:

Sojourn Partners utilized a variety of tools and assessments tailored to J. Edgar Group’s needs. The personalization was important for the company and provided for a discussion of not only how to increase income, but also how to ensure that people enjoy their work. Sojourn Partners helped J. Edgar Group examine what was working, what the goals were and what steps needed to be taken to accomplish these goals. It was a self-reflective learning process that determined that, as an accounting firm, the company had many different avenues it could pursue with its services, but the firm had never chosen to focus on one given customer segment. The lack of concentration made it difficult to market the firm’s services, and ultimately, grow the company through new clients.

As the company began to grow, and then reach capacity, Sojourn Partners was again contracted to provide growth strategy and help determine what type of staff to bring in and at what level. Discussions about characteristics – both work and personality – were undertaken, as was a review of past efforts to bring in people to the firm. Once taking on a partner was determined as the best step, Sojourn Partners assisted with the search, did initial interviews and is now working with the new partners to ensure fit within the organization and with its goals.

Results:

In its first year of working with Sojourn Partners, J. Edgar Group’s revenues increased by 35%. By the end of the second year, the company’s income had grown another 20% and through the ongoing work with Sojourn Partners has continued to grow 15% every year.

Once the firm’s vision was executed through marketing and new clients filled the practice, the focus of the engagement shifted to capacity, quality and maintaining a balance between a high-performing firm and one that people want to work with, both today and tomorrow.

J. Edgar Group continues to utilize Sojourn Partners and to refer others to the executive leadership coaching company for its fresh perspective, proactive modern thinking and its customized strategic approach that has provided for a strong return on investment.

“As we change and grow as a firm, we will always seek out the assistance of Sojourn Partners. Our engagement together has helped me to reach my goals.”

–Joanne L. Edgar, CPA, President of J. Edgar Group, PLLC

Next Step Orthotics & Prosthetics, Inc.

Background:

Despite being a strong company performing well in their industry, the leadership team at Next Step recognized the need to take their business to the next level and make their company and employees even more successful. The management team members’ objective for executive leadership coaching was to not only raise their business knowledge, but also to identify competencies that they needed to develop as a result of their having medical and not business backgrounds.

Assessment:

Sojourn Partners first conducted meetings with a co-owner to discuss the business goals, aspirations and expectations for the firm’s future, and to assess opportunities the team members had for their development. Following Sojourn’s process of peer review and opportunity mining, it became clear that the company’s success was due in large part to its clients’ understanding of the quality of its services and its innovative approach, which while good, left many on the “outside” not knowing much about the company. The result: missed opportunities for business development.

Sojourn Partners’ meetings with the firm increased. Two meetings per month are now conducted with the vice president of operations and another member of the leadership team to support executive growth to coincide with the firm’s success. It was further determined that a need existed for a separate, facilitated off-site meeting with employees to build team alignment, enhance relationships and gather insight into their thoughts on the company and how it could improve. As information was gathered, Sojourn Partners provided custom-designed, creative solutions aimed at providing the management team with renewed focus.

Results:

The information gathered in the coaching meetings identifying opportunities and challenges at the employee level. Systems and procedures were reworked to better provide for not only sustainability, but also stronger employee morale and teamwork. In addition, senior staff was mentored in transformational leadership practices, allowing them to lead a larger organization and extend the firm’s brand beyond the walls of the firm.

The executive leadership team members came to the understanding that their challenges were not unique, but were shared by many, and they had the opportunity to learn some of the best practices for dealing with these challenges. Most significantly, the company and its representatives are now recognized in the greater community, with senior leadership and employees holding board and committee appointments. Networking and community outreach is now common practice at Next Step.

In addition, Next Step’s mission extends far beyond the firm. The company is participating in the transformation of the industry.

Sojourn Partners provided insight that has allowed employees to grow and the company to receive the leadership needed to further its success.

“We know we’re better for working with Sojourn Partners.”

– Matt Albuquerque, Owner/Vice President of Next Step Orthotics & Prosthetics

Executive Angus Douglas

Background:

At the time Angus Douglas reached out to Sojourn Partners, he was doing well but had become stagnant in his career. He had lost sight of his goals and did not have a clear vision for what he could accomplish with his talents and skill set. He was in the midst of determining which major global corporation to work for and was at a critical juncture. Sojourn Partners helped Douglas realize his potential again.

As a sales professional with two strong offers on the table, Douglas said his ambition was to become a senior executive in sales and marketing, and he wanted to make the correct decision that would create a performance and promotional track for his development. After an initial set of meetings with Sojourn, he decided to work for the firm where he could make the biggest impact. This set the stage for Sojourn to continue coaching Douglas to reach his ultimate goals.

Assessment:

Sojourn Partners stepped in, and through a series of focused, collaborative meetings and assessments, helped Douglas see that his thinking was self-limiting and that he could pursue numerous options. In addition, our firm helped determine his leadership strengths and how to apply them appropriately, made him accountable for his leadership growth, and provided direct feedback about his approach and results. Essentially, Sojourn Partners restored Douglas’ vision for his career and helped him plot out where he wanted to be and how to get there, assisting him in getting his first management job, building his internal corporate brand as a leader, and creating the behaviors and relationships he needed for success. It was very much a collaborative effort. Douglas benefited from a process and point of reflection that was honest, straightforward and on time. This allowed him to direct his energy toward meaningful change. As Douglas put it, it was not always that we, as the executive leadership coaching firm, said something that was entirely new, but that we helped elicit ideas and action from within him.  “Sometimes perspective is everything,” said Douglas. “We tend to get lost in the trees.”

Results:

Douglas ultimately contracted with Sojourn Partners for several years and received numerous promotions, increased levels of responsibility and is still considered a high-potential professional in his field. Not only did our firm assist him in getting his first management job, but we helped him succeed at that job by providing advice to help him navigate issues and challenges that came up in his new position. Working together, Douglas and Sojourn Partners were able to take him from sales representative to vice president within three years, and he is now positioned for even further growth in his current role. Through this dedicated coaching relationship, he found his potential and path to personal success and actually executed on it.

“Perspective, knowledge, vision and enthusiasm – that’s what Sojourn Partners brings to the table.”

– Executive Angus Douglas

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