Wellington Security Systemswellington-logo2

Sometimes, pruning is the catalyst to profitable growth.


Wellington Security Systems is a family-owned and operated business with a 30+ year history. Over the years the company grew, but had never been able to achieve sustainable profitability. According to the company’s president, Gene Earhart,

“We had experienced a growth spurt based on a couple of very large accounts, and had come to define success in terms of revenue growth rather than profitability.”

But, with the loss of those accounts and a couple of key people, the close-knit company was struggling. As the economy faltered so did employee morale at Wellington. Confidence eroded. Something had to be done to turn the tide.


Brian Davis, Leadership Catalyst, was retained by the Wellington principals as a coach to help them navigate their business challenges. Recalled Earhart,

“We were convinced that the only way to succeed was to grow revenues by 50 percent, to where we had once been. We wanted advice on how to dramatically increase sales and were looking for a silver bullet—a new strategy, innovative methods to motivate our people, or coaching on what we perceived to be some of our people problems.”

Davis met with Gene Earhart and his partner, Bill Rosener for 2 hours, every other week for 3 months. He literally started at the beginning—asking about the owners’ values, frustrations and aspirations. What kind of firm did they want to be? Based on that information along with a thorough examination of the company’s financials, Davis helped the owners see that before Wellington could grow, they had to become profitable. Earhart:

“Brian kept pushing us to understand our fixed costs and to come up with a single metric that could be easily tracked and would be the best predictor of profitable growth. We reviewed a number of scenarios such as salary cuts, furloughs and staff reductions, without losing critical skills. He coached us on how to communicate the cuts and changes in a way that would be respectful to those leaving and energizing to those remaining. We eliminated the general manager role, redeployed staff to the field, and reduced our headcount by 30 percent. Had we not made those changes when we did, the business would have been in serious trouble.”


Within 30 days of making the changes recommended by the Leadership Catalyst, Wellington returned to profitability. Indeed, for the first quarter of 2010 (typically Wellington’s weakest quarter), net income was more than triple their best performance in recent years.

Their employees are stretched more than they have been in years, but they are engaged and optimistic about the company’s future. Despite the dramatic downsizing, customers continue to be delighted with Wellington’s responsiveness and quality, two critical success factors for the company.

Earhart summarizes:

“As owners, it feels like a weight has been lifted from our shoulders. Our entrepreneurial spirit has been renewed, and we are having fun again. We are committed to profitable growth and creating a workplace that provides fulfillment for our people, and one that better serves our customers.”

Folkestad Fazekas Barrick & PatFolkestad Fazekas logooile, P.C. 

Rebuilding fractured partner relationships and creating a shared vision.


FFBP is a forty year old regional law firm with a great reputation in the community. Despite having become the largest and most recognized firm in its market, a number of unresolved conflicts had created major rifts among the partners, decisions had stalled, and communication had become stymied. This coupled with a very tough economy was placing a tremendous budget constraints on the practice. According to the Managing Partner, Aaron Barrick,

“Over the past few years, we had been struggling with the firm’s vision, decision making processes and conflict resolution methods. The relationship among the directors had deteriorated to the point that the firm was threatened. The use of a management consultant was a final effort to re-organize and revitalize a once successful firm.”


Brian Davis, Leadership Catalyst, was retained by FFBP as a coach and team building consultant to help the firm get unstuck and reboot the relationships among the partners. He began with situational analysis interviews with each of the partners and key staff members to triage the most critical issues and design a two phase process. Phase 1 lasted three months, and focused on improving working relationships among the partners, defining a process for decision making, and creating a shared vision for the kind of firm they wanted to be.

During this phase, Brian adopted a crawl, walk, run approach to rebuilding relationships by having bi-weekly individual coaching and accountability sessions with each of the four partners. In addition to the coaching sessions, each partner made weekly commitments to take prescribed small steps to rebuild relationships with the others. Phase 1 culminated with a productive one day session to finalize a newly created and shared vision and define the decision making process.


The firm’s financials are better now than they have been in years and the partners are once again engaged and having fun. Staff members, who last year feared firm instability because of partner conflicts, were complaining after the last partner meeting that they couldn’t concentrate because the partners were laughing too loud. Barrick:

“Brian has been very helpful in providing the direction to survive some very difficult times, the shared vision to reclaim our standing in the legal community, and the inspiration to transform the roles and relationships of the principals in the firm to maximize our potential.”

Phase 2 is just beginning, six months after the conclusion of Phase 1, and will focus on engaging the associates around the shared vision and values, creating a culture that retains and attracts the brightest and the best, and developing a perpetuation plan for partners. Barrick summarizes:

“The firm is now progressing and we look forward to continuing the momentum with Brian’s assistance. He has been extremely professional, courteous and responsive throughout the experience. I have a high regard for Brian and would recommend him to others that are experiencing similar issues.”

Our Vistage CEO peer group consists of talented chief executives from diverse companies and backgrounds who are committed to helping one another become better leaders, make better decisions, and get better results. In the brief videos below, they describe the value they receive from the expert speakers, the monthly group meetings, and the one-to-one coaching they receive from me, their chair.


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