A Strategic Advisory Case Study:
Breakthrough Business Thresholds By Design
Eugenio Pace, Founder & CEO
Ari Schapiro, Chief of Staff
The thoughtful analysis and forward-looking approach that a strategic planning consultant brings helps to solve infrastructure problems at the root. This case study reveals how a formal strategic management process aligns executive leaders and empowers talented contributors to take inspired action — resulting in an accelerated pace to achieving company goals.
THE CEO PERSPECTIVE
Eugenio Pace | Founder & CEO
Rick and I met when we were both working at Microsoft. He is someone I admire as a technology leader and as a human being. He is a deep thinker and provides great insight into people, systems and how they all work together. Because of that, he is my strategic planning and leadership development consultant of choice.
I have hired him several times over the years at different junctures in my leadership journey. The first time, I was leading the customer success team at Auth0 which was made up of three business units: Technical Support, Professional Services, and Customer Success Management. Rick had just left Microsoft to launch Futurity Resources to assist companies with strategic growth and that’s exactly what we needed. Our business unit was adding thousands of new customers per quarter and Technical Support was struggling to keep up. The leadership team in place didn’t have the right skills to help. In any business, winning customers is hard, but in a subscription-based business, winning and retaining customers is hard. They need to renew. If you don’t keep up with them and their technical support needs then you will lose them. Fixing this problem was my team’s main agenda.
Rick helped us redesign the Technical Support systems and processes. Then he helped us do the same with post-sales customer relationship management. He helped with the redesign of the team, skill sets, processes, metrics and then he helped design the engine for both of those organizations. The strategic management process we put into place was a tremendous success.
Fast forward to when I returned as CEO of Auth0 and I thought of Rick again. Auth0 was a much different company when I left the role in 2013. The business had grown exponentially and the organizational structure and rhythm of planning and execution needed to be redesigned to keep pace with the business. I wanted to bring the same analysis and forward-thinking strategic management design to our core leadership and business processes that Rick helped me with earlier.
He looked at our leadership strategic planning and execution practices and helped us see what we were doing that needed to scale-up to support our aspirations for the business. He identified key pieces missing in our structure and operational practices that had evolved incrementally over time, and worked with us to redesign our “operating system” to enable us to scale efficiently.
He provided both the design for the organization and coaching for the Senior Leadership Team. We did a quarterly business review, company dashboard, and OKR standard process to run the business, set goals and track them. He coached the team in using them to level-up their leadership, as well as, to improve the process.
Hiring Rick was one of the best decisions I made for both my career as a leader and for Auth0’s company maturity overall. We broke thresholds that year. His intervention was a huge success. I’m very grateful.
Ari Schapiro | Chief of Staff
THE CHIEF OF STAFF PERSPECTIVE
Ari Schapiro | Chief of Staff
When Rick came in to help us, our company was scaling 3X year over year. Our macro indicators were good. We were at 220 employees and still gaining momentum.
Our founder, Eugenio Pace, had stepped back into the CEO role to lead the change management of the organization. As Chief of Staff, my objective was to build an execution model and cadence with the Senior Leadership Team to support the company’s growth goals. With a high recommendation, Rick was brought in to help me with this endeavor.
At the time we were facing some very specific challenges. People in different departments were duplicating work. They were tackling the same problems but not talking to each other. Plus, the company didn’t have any formal, written goals. The newly hired talent was asking for them so they could understand how to best contribute their skills.
We decided we needed a more established Internal Execution Model and leadership program. Rick was brought in to help us design and build both. Rick’s strategic planning process and leadership coaching was a guiding light along that journey. He pinpointed our problems and critiqued our issues in an honest and direct way so we could address them, make decisions and move forward. He is knowledgeable and experienced with OKRs. That helped us with the structure of the company and in our understanding of how we are going to cascade and measure our performance. His first-hand experience with both our specific issues and these new protocols made the project run so much smoother.
In the end, we have a strategy for the long term, priorities for the year ahead, a strategic planning process and senior leadership team aligned to the company’s goals. This has helped tremendously with presentations to our Board of Directors, Investor meetings and overall company culture.