Integrating Teams at Hernandez & Associates
Marco Hernandez is president of Hernandez & Associates Inc., a full-service advertising agency with clients across North America. The company provides a variety of marketing services to support its diverse group of clients Whether called on to generate a strategic plan, create interactive Web sites, or put together a full-blown media campaign, the team at Hernandez & Associates prides itself on creative solutions to its clients’ marketing challenges.
The firm was founded in 1990 with an emphasis in the real estate industry. It quickly expanded its client base to include health care, as well as food and consumer products. Like many small firms, the company grew quickly in the “high-flying” 1990s, but its administrative costs to obtain and service businesses also skyrocketed. And, as with many business, the agency’s business was greatly affected by the terrorist attacks of September 11 and the economic downturn that followed. Clients’ shrinking budgets forced them to scale back their business with Hernandez & Associates and cutbacks in staffing meant clients needed more marketing support services as opposed to full-scale campaigns.
Hernandez & Associates now faced a challenge – to adapt its business to focus on what the clients were asking for. Specifically, clients, with their reduced staffs, were looking for help responding to their customers’ requests and looking for ways to make the most of their more limited marketing budgets. Its small, cohesive staff of 20 employees needed to make some changes, and quickly.
As president of Hernandez & Associates, Marco Hernandez knew his team was up for the challenge. He had worked hard to create an environment to support a successful team – he recruited people who had solid agency experience and he consistently communicated the firm’s mission to his team. He made sure the team had all the resources it needed to succeed and constantly took stock of these resources. He had built his team as he built his business and knew the group would respond to his leadership. But where to start? Getting the team to understand that growth depended on a shift in how it serviced its clients was not difficult as each of the employees of the small firm had enough contact with the clients that they knew client needs were changing. But making significant changes to the status quo at Hernandez & Associates would be difficult. Group roles had to change – creative folks had to think about how to increase a client’s phone inquires and Web site visits; account people needed a better understanding of the client’s desire for more agency leadership. And everyone had to have a better sense of the costs involved. The company as a whole needed a more integrated approach to servicing their clients if they hoped to survive. Marco needed a plan.
1- Like many leaders, Marco has a team in place and does not have the luxury of building a new team from the ground up to adapt to the changing environment his firm is faced with. Use the TLM to help Marco diagnose the problems face by the firm and identify leverage points for change.
a. Consider the major functions of the TLM – input, process, and output. Where do most of the firm’s challenges fall?
b. What are the team’s goals for outputs?
2- Identify potential resources for Marco and his team in implementing a strategy to change the way they do business at Hernandez & Associates.
3- Provide a high level plan for change.