Over the next few months, we’ll take an inside look at how the NSCA 2018 Excellence in Business award winners have adapted to our constantly changing industry. The story of ET Group is next on the list. For its ability to refocus its client offerings and become a strategic advisor, ET Group was named an NSCA 2018 Excellence in Business award winner in the Differentiating Strategies category.
In the last year, ET Group identified a major industry shift, and wanted to respond accordingly. Understanding that it’s no longer about offering clients a “product,” the company wanted to refocus its offerings to include advice and consulting, and provide exceptional value.
Instead of focusing only on recommending and integrating technology, ET Group wanted to embed itself in its clients’ organizations, becoming true strategic advisors to executives who wanted to disrupt their own organizations.
The company knew that technology alone couldn’t provide the type of transformation that most companies seek. Constantly changing technology sometimes causes people to jump in with both feet to avoid being left behind – but this comes with consequences. “We run the risk of being seduced by the allure of something new before we truly understand how it will support us to do the work we need to do,” says Dirk Propfe, president and CEO at ET Group.
In order to earn the right to consult and advise on this type of workplace transformation, however, ET Group had to first disrupt itself in a variety of ways:
- A self-managed structure was adopted, composed of a cross-functional team that services different customer types.
- Sales commissions were eliminated, and a new compensation system allows team members to self-set salaries.
- The company’s core workspace was reduced by 50% and a work-from-anywhere culture is embraced, supported by unified communications (voice, video, and messaging), social technology processes, and a telepresence robot.
- Regular all-company meetings feature expert facilitators and graphic recorders to bring key priorities and high-impact projects to the surface to be worked on together.
- Decision-making was decentralized to empower employees at all levels.
- Processes were put in place to ensure that staff members take all of their vacation each year.
Because of these changes, ET Group is now seen through its customers’ eyes as “relevant and progressive,” says Principal Brad Flowers.
As ET Group was busy evolving and disrupting its own company, it naturally started developing a new approach that weaves people, space, and technology together. The company ended up believing in the approach so much that it’s now the go-to-market strategy and key differentiator in helping the company’s clients bring about the change they desperately need.
Before recommending any type of technology, ET Group focuses on the jobs being performed by different client user types, and then mapping out pain points, gains, and key activities being performed that add value to the organization. Once this is understood, then the right technology is chosen to improve collaboration and engagement.
Through self-transformation, the company has started winning consulting business over more established strategy consulting firms, growing revenue by 30%. “We went from a loss to the second-highest EBITDA in the organization’s history,” says Propfe. “We see our customers utilizing technology in ways we had never seen before. We totally reinvented ourselves and learned how to deliver more strategic value in fun, highly effective ways.”
Check back soon, as we continue to reveal how the 2018 NSCA Excellence in Business award winners made business changes to adapt to our constantly changing industry. You’ll also read stories from: