Client: Strategic Media Research
A provider of research products to the radio industry, Strategic
Media Research (SMR) had recently received its first outside investment,
thus giving up a large portion of control to outsiders. Concurrently,
a new CEO was hired to lead the company and its previous leader
was asked to play a more limited role. Moreover, several of SMR's
promising new business lines were falling shot of their potential.
- The key challenge was how to establish a new working environment
given the recent changes.
- Throughout its history SMR had been run more on instinct than
formal business practices. The success of the company had been
largely anchored in the person and personality of its founder.
As a result, many aspects of the company that would be critical
to growth, including unclear roles and responsibilities across
the organization, were informal or absent.
- The company had never undergone a true strategic planning
process to address its path as a company, its future beyond
the immediate and obvious, or the roles of its key managers
in clarifying and delivering on its goals as a company.
Lighthouse was asked to lead a strategic retreat to begin to
address the company's challenges. The assignment beyond that basic
request was unclear and, due to budget and timeline constraints,
Lighthouse was not able to meet in person any of the participants
prior to the three-day retreat. This added to the apprehensions
of the participants who, though they knew and worked with each
other, had never met in such a forum prior to this retreat. As
part of the plan, Lighthouse's efforts included the following:
interviewed employees (including all those participating in
the retreat), the company's new investors and past and future
management before designing the 3-day retreat. This allowed
for the collection of hard data as well as development of a
rapport and setting of some expectations in advance of the retreat
- Lighthouse reviewed with both existing and
new management the expectations and concerns each had going
into the retreat and designed the program to address each while
still meeting the objectives of the retreat.
Lighthouse designed a clear set of goals and a detailed agenda
for the retreat that allowed plenty of room for the unexpected.
In addition, Lighthouse approached many of the most sensitive
topics from unexpected and disarming perspectives in order to
diffuse the retreat of undue tension.
- Lighthouse led the retreat discussions, which
leveraged Larry Robertson's skills as a trained facilitator
- By using various exercises and constructs at the start of
the retreat, as well as incorporating plenty of humor and honest
open discussion throughout, Lighthouse was able to quickly put
the group at ease and develop a positive working environment.
Time was spent in group activities as well as individually with
the participants, gauging effectiveness and adjusting accordingly.
- The goals of the retreat were not only reached, but were also
transitioned into clear, actionable steps and a decision-making
framework for allowing the participants to continue their progress
on their own when they returned to the office.
- The success of the retreat and the comfort of the participants
with Lighthouse as a neutral party was significant enough that
Lighthouse was asked to provide several follow-up mini-retreats
on site at the company as well as to act as an ongoing advisor
to its senior management team.