Project Description


Since 2007 this business had been developing an aerospace certified device. The business had spent £12.5m  developing this product and had many failed attempts to get the product to market. Delays were caused by over commitment, in-service failures and quality issues. This led to a significant loss in house, investor and customer confidence. The winningthinking challenge here was that the founder manipulated the board with negative generalisations to substantiate his position “we cannot create a plan until x,y,z”. This thinking was a roadblock.

Product development was driven by flawed assumptions that made the product increasingly complex, expensive and unreliable and there was no end in sight. There was a capable but disregarded team who had little opportunity to contribute because leadership were not approachable, and the CEO had just been fired for a lack of delivery.

Ability to integrate into the client company

From day 1 Tom took ownership of the product development, supply chain and operation. He established an objective review and collated all issues with the team and stopped all further development. The focus on achieving a robust analysis of the product’s robustness and resolving the technical issues to get the existing product stable and fit for a relaunch. Tom worked with the board to identify the negative generalisations so that they could hold each other to account. None of the board saw this nor the strategic misdirection this caused.

Roles were defined, a technical director was recruited and a review structure was put into place at the board and lower level to implement the solution.

In 3 months, the product was analysed and corrective actions put into place to get the product robust fit on sale. In parallel, the plan was established to launch a market entry-level product platform to compete at a more competitive price point. It was established that the internally led design team were not capable so an alternative was established along with a selected manufacturer and the founder/owner was moved into a non-exec/ concept role.

The winningthinking delegation/engagement approach was cascaded to our chosen development and manufacturing partners to ensure they delivered on time and to cost.

Impact on the business/bottom line

The U shaped manufacturing line was established to produce the core product, by setting the objectives with the supervisor and coaching him to the conclusion using the WT delegation/engagement tools. The subsequent aerospace certified entry-level product was launched in 6 months at a development cost of £350k. This technology and supply chain became the platform for the further 4 product iterations.

Achievement of objectives

The original assumptions for the new product launch timeline of April were shown to be further over commitments, so were realigned accordingly to June. Because of the complexity of the product, the launch and approval schedule was finally realised in July.

Working style

Resourceful, Very collaborative, people development centrist with a high degree of business and product analysis and implementation. We used the WT approach to coach the executive / lowers levels of the team to resolve behaviours and communication that had got the business into trouble and wasted so much time and money.

Leadership/people management skills

Unafraid to make the tough calls to move the owner/founder into a non-exec role, yet built a robust team and organisation. Worked with the young technical director to develop his concurrent engineering and put the exec reporting structure in place aligned with the product strategy.