Client Success Stories > GCI Group

How a leading manufacturing company overcame growth challenges to take their business to new heights.

ABOUT THE CLIENT

GCI Group is a leading Queensland manufacturing company (privately owned), delivering precision metal components and assemblies to the vehicle manufacturing, transport, mining, and construction sectors.

KEY SERVICES PROVIDED

Business Mentoring, Leadership & People Development, Culture Shift

COACHED BY

Daniel Wright

The Challenge

GCI had experienced continued growth from its founding in 2003. A success founded in bringing a new level of professionalism and service quality to the industry. From a small factory with one machine in Molendinar, GCI has grown to a purpose-built two factory site with state-of-the-art technology and over 100 staff.

Operationally, the team ticked along brilliantly and as a management team they were doing a great job of getting the client work done. But due to the fast growth, they weren’t equipped to answer questions like:

  • “What do I need to know and learn to run a business of this scale?”
  • “How does the team running the business stay connected with our owners?” and
  • “How do we grow and develop our people?”

When Covid hit the company remained strong, but like most businesses, it became impossible to find good people to join their ranks. Moreover, it became increasingly evident that their current company culture (though friendly and social) wasn’t going to be enough to keep their best people around.

Key Problem Areas:

No strategy to attract, develop or retain good people.

KEY FOCUS AREAS
  • Lots of energy, but nothing to direct the flow
  • Knew people were their greatest asset, but no tools to develop leaders or good people
  • They were dedicated and worked hard, but had no time or tools to develop their skills
  • They thought they were celebrating their people, but they actually weren’t

No opportunities for their people to develop and grow.

KEY FOCUS AREAS
  • Little to offer good people who were being promised more from competitors & other companies
  • Staff weren’t motivated to reach to their potential, as there was no incentive

The Turning Point

GCI wasn’t faced with an operational, financial, or even growth challenge. Their challenge was about realising their full potential. The potential to make GCI one of the best manufacturers in the country, to be a place where leaders role model learning and professional development. Where people came and stayed—because they could clearly see this was a business in which they could grow and develop.

There was a definite hesitation from the leadership team about becoming too ‘corporatey’ – a reluctance which stemmed from having built a business from the ground up. The GCI leaders (all with great work ethic) had come into leading positions without formal leadership and management training.

The challenge for them was to see that, although proficient in running things as they were, they didn’t yet have the skills or mindset to run things as they could be. Part of overcoming that challenge was exploring what the future of the business could be. Together, we stepped backed to see the bigger picture in guided sessions, exploring:

  • What is your biggest aspiration for the business?
  • What are the skills as a leader and manager you’ll need to get it there?
  • What do your people need to develop their full potential?
  • Why are these challenges important to address?

“Covid was really the straw that broke the camel’s back for us.
Other businesses were trying to poach our best employees, new staff were becoming increasingly difficult to find; business ‘as usual’ was no longer working. We got it: we needed to hold onto our good people, but we needed to develop a strategy to do so.”

CAMERON LAWN | GENERAL MANAGER

GCI leaders needed to change their mindset around just “good, social relations” as the defining feature of ‘company culture’, and adopt a more active approach to attracting, keeping and celebrating their people.

Together we asked, “what are we doing to grow and develop our people, and celebrate our successes?
This discussion uncovered they had been making decisions based on the poorest performers, quelling celebrations.

They had been reacting, not leading.

This was the turning point for the client to realise they had to change what they were doing.

Our Response:

1-on-1
Business Mentoring

Business Leaders Program
Individual Coaching

Hands-On Business
Skills Development

The Process

1-on-1 Business Mentoring with General Manager

Over a period of several months, Thryve’s founder Dan met with the GM to explore his purpose and motivation to develop the business. What was his aspiration for the business he’d built from scratch? As a leader, what was his purpose and motivation to develop his people? What would the fullest potential for the business and its people look like? The Thryve process is about creating a learning space, challenging and expanding the leader’s thinking and mindset, and resourcing the leader with simple and effective frameworks they can put straight into practice.

Business Leaders Program – Individual Coaching

The GM sought Dan’s support to work directly with his key leaders to support them in their professional development as well as the development of their teams. The individual development worked on 1-to-1 business and leadership coaching, resourcing the leaders with new skills and helping them to step up into their leadership responsibilities and not just be great doers.

Hands-On Business Skills Development

Dan worked directly with key leaders to introduce new skills and capabilities into the business including Key Account Management and New Product Development, the latter leading to the creation of a completing new business for the Group.

Senior leaders also attended Thryve’s Coaching Skills for Executives 1-day training, an internationally accredited program run in collaboration with Beckon Business, one of Western Australia’s leading business coaching organisation.

DEVELOPING A STRATEGIC MINDSET, NOT JUST BEING IN THE BUSINESS
  • Get clear on the type of business they are becoming, their potential.
  • Where do they want to play? What are they really good at and how can they do more of that?
  • Broadening the horizon – are they thinking too inwardly or narrowly?
  • Challenging them to reflect – are you REALLY working to your full potential? You could do a lot more with a lot less effort than you are doing now.
WORKING ON STRUCTURE - A VEHICLE TO TAKE THEM ON A JOURNEY
  • What does our structure look like today? Is it clear?
  • What does it need to look like in the future to enable people and business growth?
  • Getting clear on what each part of the business does & documenting its capabilities.
  • Understanding the gaps to get to that desired future.
  • Understand people on a deeper level – skills and attributes, what they are good at, what they need to learn next, and how best to do that.
HANDS-ON BUSINESS SKILL DEVELOPMENT FOR MANAGERS
  • Strategic thinking and planning
  • Building innovation skillsets: mindsets & toolsets
  • Key account management: how to grow your most important customers
  • Good, effective communication with directors, owners & other stakeholders
EMBRACING CELEBRATION, HONOURING OUR PEOPLE
  • Shifting mindset from focusing on what’s not working, the few, to the many who embraced the culture and put their heart into their work
  • Building momentum and consistency to make celebration as “a way things are done around here”
  • Involving everyone in how to celebrate
  • And just having good, healthy fun together

The Outcomes

GCI brought 100% commitment to the engagement with Thryve. It was a true partnership of collaboration. With Dan and the Thryve team’s mentoring and coaching skills, combined with the willingness and effort of the GCI team, we achieved:

Financial Growth

  • Consistent and stable top line, margin and profit growth
  • Creating new revenue streams in core services as well as new products

Leadership Growth

  • Moving from an individual to a team mindset
  • Massive increase in confidence that business wasn’t dependant on a small group of people
  • Leaders could take holidays (!!!) and people were eager to step up and take responsibility
  • Customer growth
  • New idea generation and greater optimism

People Growth

  • Embracing training & development at all levels
  • Engaging with a wide range of people development partners to match their different needs
  • Rebranding the company as a place for personal growth and development
  • People putting their hand up to take on more responsibility
  • Attracting more of the right people

Culture Growth

  • Celebrating our people
  • First a team BBQ – the staff loved it
  • Then a wider leadership team recognition event – with even more positive feedback
  • More BBQ’s, more team outings, and then celebrating 18 years of hard work and success

“Dan really helped me to understand how important it is to celebrate success. Our company culture has always been strong at GCI Group. However, working day to day and seeing our business grow had cause us to overlook some very important areas of staff and culture development.

Dan facilitated strategy sessions that enabled great insight and together we developed and executed a plan. His ability to coach us throughout our journey, keeping us accountable and focused was key to the outstanding results we achieved.”

CAMERON LAWN | GENERAL MANAGER

What’s next for GCI Group?

With the business having solid strategic and operational foundations matched with the mindset, skills and tools to lead and grow their people, the business is looking to expand its operations, build next level sustainable results, and focus on developing the next generation of senior leaders.

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