Melanson Heath is a CPA firm that has been in business over 35 years. Their leadership recognized the need to set a strategic plan for moving the firm into the future, and came to BLI for help realizing that plan. Tom Hood–BLI’s Strategic Planning lead facilitator–was brought in to speak with the partners in place of their typical annual meeting in May of 2013, and they found the process to be of immense value.
Leading up to the partners’ session with BLI, Melanson Heath was undergoing a period of transition. Certain partners were approaching retirement, and there was no plan in place to ease the transition. Communication on the subject of succession was limited, and the partners who would remain were concerned as to what the future meant for the firm. The Strategic Planning process aided in partners taking stock of both their own careers and their goals for the firm and then communicating those findings to the group. What they found was that their individual answers to the hard questions were far more aligned than they had imagined. Through the methodology of the session, shared goals – growth, development, and building the staff – came to light. Partners’ willingness to make changes in governing structure–as well as other areas previously thought by most to be unalterable–was both surprising and affirming to participants.
Patrice Squillante, CPA and Shareholder at Melanson Heath, said of the experience, “Without the Strategic Planning process, we wouldn’t have been having those kinds of conversations. These revelations were more than any of us had anticipated, and gave people a real energy.”
Several significant changes have taken place at Melanson Heath since May 2013, including major revisions to the shareholder’s agreement and a reevaluation of administrative staffing practices. These changes were a product of their partners’ agreeing on what the firm really needed and taking action to reorganize historic structures accordingly. The partners found so much value in their first session that BLI was brought back in June of 2014 to lead a company-wide Strategic Planning session. Ms. Squillante contends that company health and morale have greatly improved as a result of the entire staff’s dedication to following through on issues discussed in these sessions. “What’s been the most valuable to us has been the realization that we are all closer to each other, in terms of goals as well as who we are and our values, than we’d thought. The process was enlightening.”