The Graystone Brief

Transforming a Troubled Sales Culture

Case Study


Engaged by the CEO and President of the company, a consumer specialty finance business, to quickly effect radical and fundamental cultural transformation. The Company was plagued by inconsistent business performance, high employee turnover and extremely low morale. In addition, the Company was experiencing radical industry change. The leaders, managers and employees operated in an “Us vs. Them” mentality and communicated and related in a highly dysfunctional way. Employees were resigning, unhappy and fighting for themselves to survive.


The basic principle of Graystone Leadership is that a “strong foundation of trust builds relationships and breakthrough results” in any organization. Starting with the CEO and his Sr. Management Team, personal interviews with each person confidentially were completed and began to build a trusting relationship with each person. It took time to build those relationships and create trust. Once that happened, we were able to get to the root source of the issues, which entailed deep trust issues with each other, past leadership and the radical market challenges.

The plan

  1. Establish and create trust with the Sr. Mgt. Team:
    1. Flush out all of the background conversations, mistrust, issues and problems.
    2. Getting everyone “Current”, completing the past and committing to create and operating in a new and productive way going forward.
    3. Have one on one’s with myself facilitating & cleaning up these issues with each other, their managers and with other departments.
  2. Weekly Team Coaching Sessions:
    1. Personal and group “team” coaching with myself, CEO, Managers and employee’s with the purpose of:
      1. Creating a new Vision, new direction and commitments toward breakthrough results.
      2. Driving immediate performance and effecting the speed of business change
  • Customized coaching to fit the needs of each person.
  1. Met with CEO and Managers with key sales employees to take accountability for the unstable and mistrustful culture. Address concerns and upsets and commit to the new culture to these employees.
  2. Monthly Graystone “Practice of Leadership & Coaching Program with the Sr. Managers both in Corporate and their out of state office.


  • The business results of Revenue and Profit in both business units became consistent, aligned and productive.
  • The past got “Complete”. All issues were brought out, communicated and resolved.
  • Went from a dysfunctional group to a strong team and by the end of the work there was High Performance emerging throughout the sales organization in both offices.
  • The Sr. Mgt. Team were working closely together, creating a vision for the employee’s focusing on what’s possible when everyone works together as “One” vs. having that Us vs. Them mentality.
  • Retention improved, employees were happier and starting to build trust again with the leadership and their managers.
  • Departments, that never talked to each other because of lack of trust, were collaborating and driving change with efficiency, care and excitement.

Turn Around Manufacturing Organization Culture Change

Case Study


Company was spun off from a larger company several years ago.  This company was extremely successful underneath this other organization for over 20 years with a few hundred plus employees.  It was bought by a private equity firm.  The next 3 years between the transition of being a stand-alone company, being owned by total new people and having to do everything on their own, their numbers went down, the culture became us vs. them, with blame and no accountability. Employees started to leave with a retention problem for the first time.


The CEO engaged Graystone to initially work with himself and his 16 person Management team to turn around the dysfunction, lack of teamwork and results going in the wrong way.  Interviews were conducted with the CEO and the management team to discover specifics on what was not working, what needed to be turned around and what was next.  The plan was to start the Leadership program with the people running the company to work with them on how to rebuild trust where it was broken, build relationships with each other and departments throughout the company and create a Vision that could be spread out to the rest of the company.  The program and process has gone on for one year.  We got to the source of the issues, cleared out the blame and no accountability, got the team to rebuild their relationships, trust got stronger and the results for 2016 were no only turned around but beat the industry standards and exceeded all expectations.  With this work, the company has now created a strong foundation for an even more effective 2017.

The Plan:

  1. Met with and established relationship and trust with CEO and Mgt. Team.
  • Conducted interviews with all 16 managers including CEO.
  • Revealed in detail what was not working, what the drag factors, were and what the biggest hurdles were in shifting from a dysfunctional group to the beginnings of a team on to high performance team.
  • Had one on one’s with each person to build trust and relationship and flush out all background conversations each person had with each other and their departments.
  • Brought each person together with each other to clear the past, get current and commit to the future way of working with each other.
  • Had a group meeting to go over the findings, lay out exactly what the blocks are and how they were the ones accountable for the relationships, trust and results.
  • Started to create a culture of no blame, accountability, trust and strong communication and relationship as the foundation.
  1. Monthly Training Sessions:
  • Monthly training sessions with the CEO and management on the Principles of Leadership and Coaching on site with 100% attendance.
  • On site each month training, facilitating meetings, working with departments to align, getting out the vision through a Company Town Hall.
  1. Weekly Coaching Sessions:
  • Weekly coaching sessions with all management teams in groups of 2 and 3.
  • Working with them on specific vision, goals and commitments to transform themselves along with how they relate to the rest of the team and company. Personal interventions where needed when difficult situations came up.
  • Customize the coaching for each person needs.
  • Driving immediate performance through this facilitation and increasing the speed and effectiveness each day throughout the company.
  1. Available to CEO and all managers daily and when needed to handle real time situations.  Example: 1)  Break downs between department managers  which led to results not happening, missing deadlines and losing work. 2) Conflicts with each other that slowed down decision making. 3) Ineffective meetings where arguing and debating transformed into making decisions and collaboration.


  1. In one year, the management team went from a dysfunctional group at a high level to a strong group on the verge of becoming a team.
  2. All the background conversations are gone and each person is current with each other.
  3. Trust is strong all the way around.
  4. CEO is leading the team in a new and powerful way including driving relationships on his team to be strong, partnership and collaboration.
  5. Meetings are now effective, decisions are being made and everyone is using the “Action Cycle” to get things done, by using promises, requests and committing to what they will get done with dates and times on it.
  6. Vision was created and out to the company and on all the walls.
  7. Town Hall and Holiday gatherings tripled in size. Employees starting to feel the Leadership is driving the company.
  8. Results tripled and exceeded Industry Standards.
  9. The company entered a whole new market and is excelling with quality and customer service.
  • Hiring of new employees, growing the company and retention is starting to turn around.
  • New executive sales team was created and we have almost half of the pipeline filled with work in 2016 toward our 2017 goal.
  • Graystone was asked to continue on. New leadership programs will start in January for the next level of up and coming managers and supervisors including our shop and employees out on the job sites.
  • Workshops for all employees will become available for each person to get an experience and learning about the company language, principles and future of the culture.