In this case study, we explore the journey of a creative services agency that faced significant challenges with a retiring founder/CEO, an impending leadership vacuum, and struggles in securing new business. Through a comprehensive approach involving 360-degree assessments, group coaching sessions, and individual coaching, the agency successfully restructured its leadership team, established a new mission, vision, and values, redesigned its organization structure, and ultimately secured the renewal of their primary client contract.
The creative services agency had a long-standing reputation for delivering exceptional work to clients but had become heavily reliant on the vision and expertise of its retiring founder/CEO. While the founder’s son was the obvious successor,there had been little to no planning for a clear and smooth transition. With a lack of clarity at the top, everyone and everything else in the organization was floundering.
Diagnosis and Assessment
To gain a comprehensive understanding of the agency’s leadership strengths and development areas, a series of 360-degree assessments were conducted for every member of the leadership team and were combined to form a picture of the team overall. The assessments, the individual debriefs, and the team’s discussion about their results helped set the direction for the rest of the work.
Individual and Group Coaching Sessions
Each member of the team received three 1:1 coaching sessions to set development goals for themselves and provide accountability throughout the program. Monthly group coaching sessions were implemented to address specific needs identified through the assessments and by the team, and to deepen and sustain the developmental focus over an extended period.
During the coaching process, it became evident that the agency lacked a clear vision, values, and a strategic plan that would guide its future direction. Working collaboratively and using the Enterprise Operating System (EOS) framework, the leadership team crafted a new vision, values, and short and long-term goals, and used that to create and sustain alignment among the senior team and throughout the organization.
“Transitions in organizations such as ours are inevitable and frankly, needed. In developing and elevating this leadership team, it became obvious a talented facilitator and coach could be a true ‘difference maker.’ After interviewing a number of organizations, the decision became clear . . . The Sparks Group led by Jessica Bronzert.”
– Agency Chairman
With the retirement of the founder/CEO, the agency had a unique opportunity to redesign its organizational structure to best support pursuit of their mission and strategic goals, including the critically important renewal of their largest client. The leadership team, supported by the coaching process, reevaluated reporting lines, job roles, and responsibilities to create a more streamlined and agile structure that aligned with the agency’s new mission and vision. This included the announcement and intentional transition from the founding CEO to the new one.
Results and Achievements
The comprehensive leadership development program yielded significant results for the creative services agency. The agency successfully set an overall direction for the business, aligning the entire organization around its new vision, values, and goals. By clarifying the direction of the organization and outlining the priorities required to get there, everyone began rowing in the same direction. Supported by capacity-building around communication, change management, and talent development, the senior leadership team was better prepared to lead through the transition.
This case study exemplifies the transformative power of leadership development in overcoming organizational challenges. Through a strategic combination of 360-degree assessments, group coaching sessions, and individual coaching, the creative services agency was able to navigate the retirement of its founder/CEO, restructure its leadership team, establish a clear strategic direction, and secure a vital client contract renewal. This holistic approach not only ensured short-term success but also laid the foundation for success in the years to come.