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Reducing Attrition, Empowering Leaders, Increasing Customer Success

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If you haven’t heard of Columbus, you most certainly will have enjoyed goods from some of the global brand names they work with. Columbus is an international consultancy, serving customers worldwide they are experts in the food manufacturing, and retail/distribution industries – helping manufacturers, distributors, retailers and food and beverage manufacturers accelerate their business success through Enterprise Resource Planning and digital innovation.

A growing consultancy and software company, delivering globally, Columbus were already a recognised business leader when they first spoke to the Will It Make The Boat Go Faster? team, but they hoped to achieve more for their team, customers and drive.

The Challenge

Columbus came to the Will It Make The Boat Go Faster? team looking to find opportunities to work smarter rather than harder, support their growing company, improve staff retention and to develop the leadership skills across the whole business to enhance their customer service. But, they were also planning on achieving continuous improvement, driving customer satisfaction and enhancing their offerings and customer experience – They wanted to excel and remain top of their game!

Mary Hunter, Managing Director of Columbus, met with the Will It Make The Boat Go Faster team initially to define the company’s crazy goal and help to develop their continuous improvement and team work focus . This would later develop into a leadership programme that supported the team with the tools to work towards their crazy goal.

Summary of benefits



The Process

The specifics of the Will It Make The Boat Go Faster? process is different for each client we work with – but they share a common framework, much of which we used when working with the Columbus team.

Originally setting out to help Columbus define their crazy goal, we progressed to working with them over a longer period of time to support them in applying processes to achieve their crazy goal, through workshops and numerous touch points from January 2015 onwards. Having developed the Columbus team’s performance, based on their chosen crazy goal, we began working through a leadership programme with them.

The approach we agreed with Columbus from the outset was:

  • Preparation and research – We surveyed the whole company and interview every member of the leadership team to understand each person’s perspective of the current and future ‘drivers’ and ‘blockers’.
  • Launch – Ben Hunt-Davis speaks with the whole team, detailing the process that his Olympic Gold crew developed to create their crazy goal. Full day intensive workshops to crystallise and understand how the Will It Make The Boat Go Faster? principles enable everyone to realise their crazy goal as one aligned team.
  • Digital Content & Exercises every 3 weeks
  • 6-month Leadership Development Programme
  • Company Wide DISC profiling and Team Building Sessions
  • Champions to support the implementation of the Will It Make The Boat Go Faster? behaviours and principles

What do we commit to in this Setting Business Goals Process?
  • Defining the crazy goal, concrete goals and everyday objectives – we facilitate a process to define, agree and implement the key elements.
  • We prepare a leadership team to communicate a clear and compelling plan to the rest of their organisation.
  • We help crystallise and answer key questions about the next stage of growth for that organisation, and then helped the wider team play their part in making the boat go faster in the months and years ahead.

The results

Having collectively defined their crazy goal as “every employee and customer staying with Columbus for life” Mary Hunter, Managing Director at Columbus explained her top 3 benefits of working with the Will It Make The Boat Go Faster? Team:

  • A more empowered and trusted leadership team
  • A more effective work force with a customer success focus
  • A clear culture of continuous improvement with the tools to support

The Bottom Line Impact

Employee Retention

  • Halved the number of leavers
  • Increased employee referrals
  • Emerging leaders taking charge
  • More social and team competitions
  • Increasing heartbeat
  • Happier atmosphere
  • Greater appreciation and respect

Customer Satisfaction

  • Increased references
  • Closer relationships
  • Customer heartbeat launched
  • Columbus 360 enhanced
  • Business Leader Champion day
  • Improved experiences and interaction
  • Increased customer referrals

Our work with Columbus continues throughout 2016 and the business goes from strength to strength. We are delighted with the impact that our work together has had, and equally delighted that in June 2016 Columbus were named Microsoft Global ERP Partner of The Year. An outstanding achievement for an outstanding company. It is a business that truly focuses on its employees and customers, placing them at the heart of their strategy, meaning that ‘staying with Columbus for life’ becomes a realistic goal for everyone to reach for.

Mary Hunter, Country Manager, Columbus UK:

Working with the Will It Make The Boat Go Faster? team has bought clarity of focus to the company’s overarching ambition, as well as a focus on performance enhancement with the tools to support actions. The workshops and training are helping to build stronger trusted relationships and empowering everyone to lead more and challenge further the status quo. Having external guidance and input has been immensely valuable to support our team’s development and customer success strategy. I strongly recommend working with Ben, Tom and the team if you want to take your company to the next level.

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