Case Study: Perforce Software
Perforce Software UK Ltd., Wokingham, Berkshire
Key Talent Partners services: Executive Coaching and Leadership Development (Entire Leadership Team)
Key Talent Partners facilitates company growth
Perforce Software, Inc. is a privately held company that publishes the Perforce Software Configuration Management (SCM) system. Headquartered in Alameda, California, the company has international offices in the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia.
In 1999, Dave Robertson, Vice President, International, was seeking to return to the UK from a stint in Silicon Valley, California. He was approached to establish a European operation for Perforce Software after the company secured a deal that required local support and account management.
Initially, Dave ran the business on his own from his home. Ten years on the company employs twenty-three staff delivering a range of service offerings to a large and sophisticated customer base. Their user-focused business model has resulted in customer and staff retention levels that would be the envy of anyone in their industry.
Why Key Talent executive coaching?
When Dave set up the UK operation, he had a broad brief to grow the business in Europe. But, working eight time zones away from HQ and with his manager working hard on growing the US business, it was left for him to come up with the details with no network of colleagues nor mentor to bounce ideas off of.
Dave comments: “Starting and growing the business on my own was daunting and exciting, but when I took on more people I realised that I needed a way to develop my personal effectiveness to keep the momentum going. I had heard that business coaching could help and Key Talent Partners were recommended.
“Initially I spent one day with Key Talent Partners to understand what I could get out of coaching. From this, I identified some specific areas that I knew needed work. Before long I began to realise how many areas that I could improve upon. I used the coaching to bring structure and definition to my day to day running of the business, and to make my relationships at work more effective.”
One of the first exercises Key Talent Partners carried out for Dave was a 360 degree feedback survey of his colleagues, friends and family.
“To see yourself as others see you is both a very humbling and very powerful experience. The collected feedback showed me where my behaviour was negatively affecting the results I was getting and it gave me a personal roadmap’ of the areas I needed to improve. And, most importantly, it opened my mind to learning and changing.
“Since that time, my personal relationships, both at work and socially, have significantly improved. In relationships, I would often make assumptions or leap to a conclusion without testing if I was correct. This could negatively affect how I related to someone. As a result of the coaching, my default mode is to test my assumptions and be sure I understand what is being said or intended. It sounds really simple but has made a huge difference to the way I work with people. This has made me more approachable and has helped me build rapport and trust with others more easily. As a result of my personal growth, I have been able to help the development of some fantastic people within my organisation who now hold management positions. I am proud to say that every single manager within Perforce Software in Europe has been promoted from within.
“I am very fortunate that over the past ten years I have been able to develop and grow as the company has developed and grown. On occasion, in periods of rapid growth, I have wondered if I would be able to keep up with the company’s needs. But coaching at appropriate times has helped with the necessary personal development.”
As testimony to Dave’s progress, he was recently promoted to the company’s senior management team where, as Vice President, International, he is now also responsible for the company’s operations in Australia.
Due to the personal growth opportunities afforded to employees, Perforce Software UK feels it is holding its own as a centre of technical excellence. Local employees are now running more projects and taking on increased responsibilities as Perforce HQ recognises this fact. Dave Robertson fully expects the Australian office to follow in the footsteps of the UK team and is doing what he can to ensure this happens.
“As the results of my coaching experience are seen, the other managers within the business have been eager to benefit from coaching. We have also developed bespoke induction training with Key Talent Partners to help new employees understand the company’s values and to underscore that we are genuine in our beliefs and are willing to invest in them for the long term.
“Key Talent Partners has been working with the business for 8 years now and they have come to know all of our employees through the induction training and coaching they run. Having somebody external they can talk to and trust can help draw out any issues or concerns before they become bigger issues. This has become a really important and valued part of how Key Talent Partners operates.”
Dave and his team are realistic that business growth will be challenging in the current economic climate but they are continuing to grow their people and capabilities nonetheless.
“Our philosophy could be summarised as ‘Happy staff, mean happy customers, mean happy shareholders’. We believe that investing in people so that they can grow as individuals within the business is a crucial way to keep our people excited and enthused. We encourage everyone to take on more responsibilities and firmly believe that by helping each other grow, we will help the business grow. Coaching is a key facilitator in that growth process.”