All above average

What are your plans for improving service quality, increasing market share and cutting out unnecessary costs in the next twelve months? What's the price tag on those plans, and what are the costs of failure? If you really want your company to be above average - and you should want it very badly if you're going to weather the current business climate - there is probably no better way than The Alexander Partnership's Triple-A programme.

Your problem

You run a company with a number of distinct operating units and some perform a lot better than others, but you don't really know why. Your unit managers tell you it's local market conditions, but you suspect it's really down to the ability of the managers themselves. Some are good and some are not so good, but hiring and firing is so hit and miss that you settle for putting your best people in your most important offices, and patch up the rest of the system as best you can.

The solution

Wouldn't it be fantastic to have great managers in every office? An unrealistic dream? The Alexander Partnership may just have a way to make the dream come true: Triple-A. No, it's not a bond rating, it stands for All Above Average, and that's the quality of management you'll have in every office once your company has gone through the Triple-A process. So what's it all about?

We believe that great managers are not born, they're made - they are a product of all the experiences they've had, and learned from, during their working lives. The same goes for their staff - some people get the job done more efficiently and more effectively than others, and not only because of how well they're managed.

Triple-A helps you to:

  • find out who does best at each of the many tasks which make your company tick
  • discover what it is that they do differently and what makes it the best way to do the job, the most "Above Average"
  • make sure all employees do their jobs the best way, so that they become All Above Average.

Triple-A does not simply mean everyone copying your top regional office - you'll find that even in your poorest office some tasks are done in Above Average ways, probably spurred on by the need to make up for other weaknesses! And it's not just about cost cutting - it's as much about improving customer care and increasing market share and margins.

How Triple-A works

Triple-A is a three-stage process of analysis, creative problem solving and implementation, which generates continuous improvements in bottom line performance:

Analysis: During the analysis phase, Alexander Partnership consultants dig deep into the economics of the business to make fair comparisons between the units. Identifying in detail what distinguishes outstanding performers, we expose the underlying similarities between the various operating groups, thus laying to rest once and for all the argument that " can't compare me with the Midlands because my South Coast market is totally different".

Creative problem solving: As a result of the analysis, many improvement opportunities are immediately obvious: Branch A isn't as profitable as it could be, because its invoice handling costs are way too high. Office B over-services most customers in group X, who are generally pretty unprofitable anyway. In the creative problem solving phase, we build on these insights, working closely with operating managers in small brainstorming groups, to identify how every aspect of the business can be improved. The target is to get every branch or regional office to be All Above Average on every operating measure - taken together these improvements can add up to massive growth in market share and profitability.

Implementation: It's a truism to say that implementation ability is the key to business success, but you'd be surprised and horrified at how many companies fail to implement well thought through improvement strategies. To make sure this doesn't happen to you, The Alexander Partnership turns the improvement ideas into detailed, measurable, timed action plans - they tell everyone precisely what to do differently next Monday morning, not just where they should be heading over the next three years. We get individual managers to sign off (literally) on the plans, and then we come back from time to time to do "12,000 mile checkups" to keep things on track. Often we find that staff have internalised the Triple-A process, and that they've developed even more ambitious improvement targets.