Saving Money and Culture

A regular practice at Convene Forum Day is for members to bring business issues—we call them Opportunity/Challenges—to their CEO peers to gain wisdom and insight from multiple perspectives and experience. Convene uses a standard format and process for the subject member to present the issue and for fellow members to gain understanding and provide guidance. A member recently presented his challenge in consolidating two manufacturing plants into one location. Although only a mile apart, they could achieve production efficiencies and cost savings by combining under one roof. This would involve selling two buildings and finding another in the same area that could accommodate the operations—a monumental task in the midst of sustaining a vigorous enterprise—so daunting that it created paralysis of action. Through the Opportunity/Challenge process, the group helped him quantify a potential $30,000 per month savings should he make this change.

Perhaps more significant was the member’s confession that a drastically different culture had prevailed at the satellite location, a result of its isolation from the ownership and management team located in the main facility. He felt discontent at them not sharing the values and practices that he so earnestly strove to maintain at the headquarters. Through inquiry and advice, the Convene team helped him realize that the cultural costs were as important as the monetary costs.

One of the questions of the Opportunity/Challenge process asks for the “intensity level” of the issue on a scale of 1-10. The member came into the meeting rating this a 3 to 4 intensity—fairly low on the scale. After an hour of discussion among his Convene peers, he moved this initiative up to a 9 to 10. That was three months ago; since that time he’s announced the decision to his management team and staff, has engaged a realtor to sell or lease both buildings, and began a search for a single building to accommodate the entire operation. The thought of saving at least $360,000 a year and unifying the culture of his staff motivated his action on this initiative.

Functioning as a virtual Board of Advisors, the Convene Team will continue to advise and hold the member accountable to a plan that is manageable and attainable.

What could a peer advisory group like Convene help you realize and achieve?