Results-oriented
Change Management Consulting

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Client Testimonials

kelly graves testimonial

I have been very fortunate to have worked with excellent clients over the years. Due to my direct approach and results-oriented work, I have developed many personal & professional relationships with my clients; relationships that have continued long after the first project was complete. As a result, 87% of my clients have rehired me for subsequent projects and/or referred me to friends and colleagues.

Please read about the successes we shared by diagnosing problems together and co-creating solutions which manifested into productive and profitable results.

Industrial

Davis Energy Group

Dear Kelly:

We are writing to thank you for the work you did helping the future of our company. When you first met us, our partnership was frayed. There were unspoken issues that were delicate and not easily discussed. We needed an intermediary to show us how to broach these sensitive issues, express our thoughts and concerns, and craft a resolution.

In fairly short order, you identified the critical issues and enabled us to define them, put them in perspective and resolve them. You were a calming influence.

As a consequence, we are now communicating like partners we are. Together we have been able to make significant progress in planning for our Company’s future, as well as our own as individuals. Thank you for your efforts and effectiveness. We are happy to wholeheartedly recommend your services as a “business and planning consultant.

With best regards,

Mark J. Berman                                                          David Springer
President                                                                     Founding Principal

Confidential Testimonials

Confidential Testimonials

Confidential Testimonials:

These are testimonials, statements and problems/solutions from CEO’s, VP’s, supervisors, managers and employees at all levels and from various types of organizations. These are presented without names or company designations for confidentiality purposes. Many of our client organizations choose to remain anonymous and require strict confidentiality. As result of their needs and our respect for their privacy we have simply written down some of the statements taken from post project evaluations.

  1. Improved our priorities. Kelly helped us re-align our priorities, which helped all of us understand where others were helping the company even though we didn’t see it from our point of view. He helped us refine our budget so that everyone knew where they could help the company most. He helped us remove our egos and focus on tasks that helped the company versus just helping ourselves.
  2. I looked at how I was helping or hurting our company. What was I doing to help instead of waiting for others to take the first step. I became more responsible.
  3. Communication and team work, positive attitude. Repeat what you hear to confirm understanding
  4. He didn’t just make us feel good and then leave. Kelly actually helped us find solutions to our problems. And then worked alongside us while we learned the new habits.
  5. Kelly helped us create a new atmosphere in our office. One we wanted and all tried to create but couldn’t make it happen on our own. With his guidance, we were able to create the atmosphere and trust needed to accomplish our goals.
  6. Kelly helped us improve our management meetings—communication, priorities, action, preparation, follow-through.
  7. Kelly sat with each of the executive’s and coached each of us one-on-one until we understood ourselves, our departments and how all of that fit into the organizations goals.
  8. Kelly taught us how to challenge each other in a professional manner. Question the topic not the individual.
  9. Kelly helped us improve our processes and question outdated processes.
  10. Focus on solutions rather than problems.
  11. Regroup often to make sure everyone is staying on the same path toward our goals.
  12. Kelly helped us get past the superficial issues and got us to trust each other enough so that we could tackle the real underlying issues in our office. It was tough but worth it in the end.
  13. Before this our management was vindictive, but Kelly helped them to trust the employees. He taught them how to empower us and slowly they have been relinquishing control. Now I feel I can contribute. I feel much more job satisfaction now.
  14. Most projects never had a clear goal or written scope. Kelly helped our leaders define goals and lay out a plan that got buy-in from us; with this structure in place now we know how to help them meet our goals.
  15. Kelly taught us how to focus on solutions even if it takes some struggle. Focus on positive contributions and action.
  16. We used to plan a lot but there wasn’t much if any action or follow up. Planning was a waste and everyone knew it. With Kelly’s help we still plan but now we set goals, personal and department accountabilities make people responsible and get things done. This has given me a personal sense of accomplishment I didn’t have before.
  17. Time spent being critical of failures is lost productivity. Now we debrief what went well and what didn’t go so well, but we have learned to learn and grow rather than point fingers and criticize.
  18. Kelly helped us resolve conflict in a positive and constructive manner. Provided staff with a tool chest of techniques to facilitate positive outcomes.
  19. Improved the organization of our executive meetings and our yearly strategic planning sessions. Made sure we followed through with our goals throughout the year. In the past we would plan and have good intentions for a month or two and then go back to stomping out fires. This went on for years.
  20. Kelly helped us create a usable organization chart. Then we created core competencies and made sure these became part of our culture. Now we live our core competencies and this has made a huge difference in how we communicate, make decisions, and work with each other and with our customer.
  21. Blind risks are stupid but calculated and well thought out risks are necessary. Kelly pushed us out of our comfort zones and made us learn how to take calculated risks.
  22. Kelly helped us become a real team. We used to have “silo” leadership. We had 5 Departments that acted as separate entities. Sometimes working against each other. He helped us overcome these afflictions and start working together.  Now we work as 5 departments that support each other toward a common goal.
  23. Kelly helped us with a “reality check.” If we don’t join together and work with each other we will not make it. Kelly smacked us in the face with this reality. We had to face the truth instead of burying our collective heads in the sand.
  24. Our CEO would scream at us to “fix it” but he was part of the problem and no one had the guts to tell him this truth. Kelly finally got through to him.
  25. We learned about better communication and real accountability: verbal or no documentation = forget or reinterpret.
  26. EXECUTION: once all fifteen of us agree. We execute and follow through. NO exceptions and no excuses.
  27. We have found through working with Kelly that when we clearly outline our goals, consistently meet to assess progress, and make people fully accountable we are successful. Basically coordinate company and department goals and clearly identify measures of success.
  28. A real vision and strategic plan complete with actions, statements and behaviors.
  29. Effective meetings help us bring issues up quickly and address them proactively.
  30. People become much more accountable when they have clear objectives, with a schedule, and measures of success outlined in the beginning.
  31. We used to want immediate action and then after the meeting nothing really happened. Now we outline our priorities, determine who would be the best person to lead or drive that priority, determine appropriate resources, then take action.
  32. Some stress is needed to create energy. But too much stress causes people to crumble. Kelly has taught us how to find that productive sweet spot. In his words “to stretch people without causing stretch marks. “
  33. Before Kelly we knew we had issues but we hid from them. I guess we tried to fix them every so often but that just made things worse. With Kelly’s help we faced these issues and worked through them. Now we know how to catch problems quicker and face the harsh realities sooner. The pain comes quicker but so do the solutions.
  34. DXXXX would push an idea and invest in it without knowing the exact direction or getting buy-in from the various VP’s. For example DXXXX launched a membership program without communicating, coordinating or getting buy-in from the call center and IT. With Kelly’s help this doesn’t happen anymore. We plan, prepare, execute, and assess. Plus we got rid of DXXXX.
  35. Improved our meetings and effectiveness: we used to have everyone in our management meetings and they went on for hours. People would be coming and going, others were checking their email and VM during meetings, many topics should have been discussed off-line but weren’t and this wasted a lot of time. Others attended meeting because they were fearful of something being discussed they might be accountable for.  Kelly reduced the meeting population by two thirds and turned 3-4 hour meetings into 1 to 1.5 hour meetings. He also gave us a structure to follow which resulted in clear actions and accountabilities. He then taught us to how to provide relevant information to our managers so that everyone who needed information had it.
  36. Before I attended my first management meetings I was told that nothing I said would be taken seriously. I didn’t believe it and tried to provide input anyway, but nothing I said was taken seriously. The CEO would talk over everyone and people would agree with him, even if they thought he was wrong. Once Kelly started working with us, this changed. He encouraged all of us to speak up, he taught us how to prepare for these management meetings and he took over the leadership and structure of them. Kelly even held the CEO back from speaking up. That was crazy at first and people held their breath, but slowly we did speak up and we started to gel as a team. I am glad he was there to protect us and also to teach our CEO to listen and accept ideas other than his own.
  37. Our company gave lip-service to training but didn’t really provide much. Kelly encouraged them to invest in the employees. This has really paid off for the company and us in customer service. Our CSI is higher than ever and we can now really help the customer.
  38. Kelly made us take the time to discuss what each other’s divisions were doing. This really helped us understand their problems, but more importantly, it helped us help each other. I learned that my division could help another division, which resulted in significant bottom line results.  This process has made me feel good because now I am learning every day.
  39. Research before you implement. We used to implement first and then back track or dump the initiative all together. Kelly taught us how to be methodical and research, plan and ask the tough questions before we invest resources.
  40. We learned to acquire the discipline to say no to possibly lucrative opportunities because they didn’t fit our long term plans and expertise. It was very difficult to say no to a few of those early opportunities. We are a smarter group of executives now because of that process and Kelly’s tough questions. It made us stay focused and it paid off in the end.
  41. Our policies were not firm and people did what they wanted for the most part. Kelly helped us create a set of policies for each department and then helped us implement these so that people learned to follow them. Some people simply didn’t want to and resisted. They aren’t here anymore and we better off without them. At first that was tough, but in hindsight it has improved us as an organization.
  42. Our organizational structure is too random; who is in charge? I don’t feel there is commitment from people. No real involvement. We need to determine talents of our people and place them appropriately. These were some of my responses to Kelly’s questions when we first met. Eight months later I can tell you that things are much better. We now have a clear structure, we have clear objectives, we know who is in charge and we have commitment from people and hold them accountable. We are turning the corner on these and other challenges. There is still a lot of work to be done, but now we have a plan and a better understanding on how to improve ourselves.  Thanks Kelly.
  43. Gossip was killing our organization. Quiet people wouldn’t talk and I didn’t know how to fix this. These and other things were eroding our ability to function effectively. Kelly helped us to learn how to talk honestly and get past the fear. It was one of the toughest experiences I have faced at work but it was well worth it. Now people are better at bringing up issues. We (management) are better at addressing issues up front instead of hoping they will go away on their own.
  44. We have been a very aggressive company but Kelly helped us realize that a “wall street” mentality won’t grow our business faster than a family/positive “love your work” atmosphere. He asked us what atmosphere we wanted to create and then we took specific steps creating it instead of allowing us to aggressively drift like we had been.
  45. Lighten up-ease up. We learned that working in a frenzy wasn’t productive, it was just stressful. Now we have a plan and structure to what we do and that has made all the difference. Now we work hard but in cooperation with each other and in the same direction. And, without so much stress.

Technology

A-main.com

During my time with Kelly, I have learned how to become a leader for A-Main Hobbies (and in life). I have expanded my knowledge in the realm of personality types, which has opened my eyes to people; understanding why they do the things they do. This has proven to be very successful at helping me understand situations from a different perspective. Not letting my ESTJ side get the better of me but at the same time, using that resource to get me where I need to be.

Along with the personality education, I’ve been learning how to incorporate, “Managing” with those characteristic types. This application has been extremely beneficial, helping me in life, and in the work place. Realizing, how to interact with the different life-types and why it’s important to change approaches. For instance, paying attention to the way a person absorbs information. Do they learn better by written explanation, or do they need hands-on? How do I effectively deliver the information so they, “get it.”

As our training continued, I was introduced to a systematic method that Kelly uses and found it essential for us as leaders, to deploy these methods with our employees. The goal for building an employee within the company is to make the following actions: First you Train, Second you Coach, Third you Counsel, and Fourth you terminate; Which makes 100% sense.  Those 4 easy to-follow-steps changed my outlook and has shown me how I was interacting with employees and their development/success with the company. I admit, before Kelly came along, my perception towards employees making mistakes was, for the lack of a better word, harsh. Before, I would lay blame on the employee for incompetence, or laziness and even ignorance. But through Kelly’s teachings, I second-guess myself and wonder if the error was attributed to me – not teaching/coaching the employee correctly. Did that person really fail or did I fail in teaching them?

During our time together, Kelly has brought many lessons to the table. I could sit and write a novel, but I know we have to keep it short. J

In general, I feel a lot of my success is contributed to Kelly. But, I know if you were to ask him if feels he played a vital role in my success. He would simply say, “I didn’t do anything, it was always in you. I just helped you realize it.”

I have watched a dynamic shift with A-Main Hobbies. Since day one, Kelly has helped develop a systematic employee structure. Such as the employee hierarchy, establishing who does what and their place within the company. Coupling that with effective leaders in each position, I have seen departments mature into well running machines. Flowing with the business and sharing A-Main Hobbies mission.

However, this was no easy adventure. Being fresh to our company, Kelly could easily pick out the manipulators and also see where we lacked in leadership, communication and interaction. To be honest, I think we all saw it. But due to friendships that have developed over the years, it was difficult for our leaders to take corrective action since this is a very uncomfortable side of business. These are the ways that Kelly has brought value to A-Main Hobbies.

1. Kelly has helped us with employees and realizing that business is business, it’s nothing personal; which means removing those from the company who do not want to share our belief.

2. Kelly has helped us put the correct leaders in place. Leaders who will take the department to the next level and help us reach our business goals.

3. Kelly has helped us with communication. In our weekly meetings, staying on topic and not going down rabbit holes. Bringing up valuable information that is relevant to the team and making everyone feel like they are truly a leader over their department.

4. Kelly has brought company uniformity; recording our daily business practice down so we can educate all employees in the same manner with accurate knowledge.

5. Kelly has shown us to teach and delegate responsibilities; taking on larger responsibilities for ourselves, while measuring out appropriately those lesser involved duties to our subordinates. Making employees feel accountable and empowered.

6. Kelly has taught us about personalities; a very valuable lesson. We all learned how to receive our energy, how we receive information, how we decide or reach conclusions, and the lifestyle a person adopts. Knowing the different personality types helped me understand why people do the things they do. Realizing this, I know how to interact with people accordingly.

7. Kelly has helped us recognize our “Mission” and make it a focal point for the company and employees who make up our company.

8. Kelly has brought “Core Values” to fruition. In sales, the core values made sense the moment I heard them as you need to have those qualities if you want to be successful at it. But for others who have never been exposed to that way of thinking, it makes it so much easier for the whole company to be involved and believe in those same universal values.

Leif Ostberg VP
Customer Service
A-Main.com

Berkeley Forge and Tool, Inc

Kelly Graves started working with us during a challenging time in our industry and while our company was at full capacity. Many things needed to happen and, as usual, there was limited time, and resources were scarce. Kelly helped us break our larger projects into manageable weekly timeframes with very clear objectives. He then facilitated conversations between me and my management team – objective: figure out what could be accomplished, how we could accomplish it, and who would be responsible for doing the actual work.. .including who needed to be available to support those people or their departments. More often than not, we hit our weekly objectives. This process seems simple on paper but it was not, since many of our longterm employees didn’t like or want the change. With this process – and Kelly’s consistent help we were able to make significant progress in areas that were stagnant for the last 4-7 years.

For organizations that are going through difficult and major change initiatives and need to make tough decisions and consistent progress, I would recommend Kelly Graves to help you with your plan and to ensure that you execute in an effective and timely manner.

Sincerely

Peter Beirwith

President

Berkeley Forge & Tool, Inc.

Bloo Solar

“Kelly Graves worked for Bloo-Solar during a challenging time in our company’s growth. We had been adding very talented and highly educated people to our research and development teams, but as most of you who have gone through this kind of process know, mixing personalities can be very challenging. We originally hired Kelly to help us sort out conflicts and build a team environment. Kelly did a great job of providing myself, the CEO and CFO with a very quick and accurate assessment of the individual dynamics and ways we could improve our odds of making each a productive member of the R&D team. Kelly worked directly with the individual employees and the department managers to improve the odds of success. In hindsight I knew what needed to be done, but having Kelly’s professional and honest input, not only improved the team, but the entire organization.

In addition, Kelly helped all of our executives and employees create a clearer vision that everyone rallied around and believed in, which brought us much closer and made us more productive. I would recommend Kelly Graves to other executives with daunting challenges. I am glad we enlisted his expertise.

Bob Smith COO

Bloo Solar

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