A Calculated Leap of Faith

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Growth and Positioning Strategies for Associations

As the newly appointed CEO of ALFA, the trade association for senior living, Rick Grimes realized that he had a massive turnaround on his hands. We worked with Rick to quickly assess his options and he asked his board to take a calculated leap of faith. Reflecting back, he says: “Like Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid when backed up to a cliff, I saw our options as stay put and die, or jump and pray for deep water.”

When Rick hired Vertical Leap Consulting one month after he joined ALFA, we didn’t realize that underneath that calm, modest professional appearance was an Airborne Ranger platoon leader who served in Vietnam. No stranger to adversity, Rick knew he had to move swiftly to get his arms around why the organization had been backed up to a cliff and what his options were.

First we conducted a membership and market assessment --- evaluating why members were leaving, why products weren’t selling, and why affiliates weren’t aligned. We helped Rick get his arms around what was keeping industry executives “up-at-night”, where they sought solutions, and how they would like to be engaged by the association.

Then we worked with a volunteer leader task force and facilitated a strategic planning retreat of the full board to create a shared vision and an action plan. Building from the boards’ strategic direction, we worked with Rick and his staff to create a 3-year “roadmap” of priorities and the implications for aligning resources.

Fast forward ---- since that time, we have worked closely with ALFA on new product development, member engagement and developing the internal capabilities to support rapid growth.   Not only did ALFA stop its freefall, over the past 8 years ALFA has tripled its revenues and won back many of the skeptics. 

What Our Client Says About VLC

“New on the scene and faced with a declining customer base, a seemingly broken business model, significant competition and a defeated staff. "I engaged Vertical Leap Consulting to conduct a strategic audit of our marketplace, our existing products and services, and our internal capabilities. In spite of my travel schedule, this provided the critical analysis we needed to quickly test old assumptions and identify disconnects between what the marketplace said drives value, and what the organization was actually doing day-to-day. "Vertical Leap then facilitated our strategic planning efforts in ways that helped our volunteer leaders all get on the same page; leading to a new value proposition and vision for our organization. And, they worked with us to create an actionable, three-year business plan.”

Richard Grimes

retired President and CEO
Argentum (former Assisted Living Fed. of America)

Client Stories

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