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Case Study – Devenney Group Architecture, ltd.

For more than 40 years, this healthcare design firm had been a mainstay in regional, mostly smaller medical facilities. While the work was fairly consistent, it failed to inspire many of the firm’s architects. Eight principals constantly argued about operations, the difficulty of profiting from the work they won, mistakes made in the past, and lack of a shared picture of the ideal future. Many of the customers experienced challenges with the project personnel, leading to lost work and stunted growth.

MHG began working with Devenney Group with a Vision Process to help articulate a shared and inspired vision of the future, three to five years forward. Each of the principals vented their strong beliefs in Confidential Coaching sessions. To help the principals overcome interpersonal difficulties, I put them together in a strengths-only group acknowledgment of each person’s contribution. This process, while uncomfortable for the one in the Hot Seat, healed many old wounds, and gave each the dignity and purposefulness required. Friendships began to emerge; former foes began to work in earnest.
Building upon this, I facilitated collaborative visioning sessions to decide upon an inspiring future in which they could all participate. Over time, the sessions yielded an incredible journey which lay before them: Becoming a Top 20 Hospital Design Firm in the US in 5 years, designing full campus hospital facilities and master plans. We fortified this 5-year Vision by helping these executives name eleven shared Core Values that would guide everyone’s behavior, and cementing a culture of celebration.

The newly energized Devenney Group decision-makers embarked on a process of group discovery, by commissioning MHG to create, implement, and analyze a Customer Satisfaction Survey, using in-depth, independent interviews of the firm’s top 90% of its customers. The robust survey tool and the additional probing gave the principals a candor and depth of understanding they were not used to hearing. While difficult to embrace the findings, the facilitation led to an articulated, much-heralded process of project delivery – Project Delivery System—that alleviated most client pain in the planning of healthcare campuses. The survey findings also discovered more than $5 million in new serving opportunity fees.

MHG was given the additional responsibility to evaluate the company’s concentration of function-over-design, the markets it should pursue, the profit models it might leverage, and the utilization of every team member in the roles most suited to their talents. Confidential Coaching extended to all employees.

Building on these successes, DG commissioned MHG to create, conduct and analyze a Prospective Customer Research Study to measure the probability and how-to for serving the national health organizations named in accordance with the company’s 5-year Vision. The data collected yielded very surprising results, launching the company’s succession plans and two new divisions.

Overall, the engagement produced the following lasting results:

  • The core principal team works as a cohesive unit, even eight years after vision facilitation

  • The five-year vision was achieved in 4 years, 3 months, evidenced by national recognition and projects won from three national hospital organizations

  • New project fees supported incredible growth in the firm

  • Customers welcomed efforts to listen, then incorporate the many changes demanded

  • Employee morale is stronger than ever, with individuals sharing ownership and bringing new talent and accountability to each new project

  • DGL continues to grow its base of operations, its client and project portfolio, and its talent pool throughout the United States, in an era of economic upheaval leading most firms to contract and even collapse

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