NHV Group specialises in business-to-business helicopter services that include Transport of crews and loads, Flare tip replacement, Search and Rescue operations and Helicopter Emergency Medical Services. Today, it is the only helicopter service provider with presence in all Oil and Gas producing countries in the North Sea region and a very strong presence in West Africa. Following a period of significant unrest being driven by changes in the Oil & Gas market, the business ‘locked-down’ on maintaining service to clients and managing costs. However several years after the crisis, a new direction was needed and NHV turned to Four Points to help define that new direction.
NHV operates in an environment where long term thinking on aircraft investment must be considered with mid-term commercial opportunities and short term financial expectations. Its a tough balancing act … and thats without considering it has a demanding major shareholder, a entrepreneurial founding CEO and a small Executive Committee each fully immersed within the day to day running of their operations.
With the major crisis over, things were expected to improve in the marketplace and as a result a new strategy was needed that would help orientate the business into a growth phase. The process of defining the future strategy needed to work in an environment where there is little patience for administrative bureaucracy and where the Executive are focused on turning around their operational performance. Naturally, getting time together would be difficult. But a strategy and associated improvement plans were needed.
We designed and facilitated a process of working with the Executive team and their direct reports that:
- Articulated a new 3 year vision;
- Defined 5 strategic priorities;
- Identified the key initiatives to deliver the vision;
- Defined the operational planning process;
- Supported in governing the following year’s initiatives.
Very early on, we recognised a number of factors that would contribute to the success of the strategy development process:
- A thorough process and enough off-line preparation so that relevant information could be gathered and analysed.
- A number of short intensive working sessions with the Executive, with a focus on decision making.
- A clear schedule of events to ensure full participation.
We started our work by meeting each Executive member to understand how strategy was done in the past and their assessment of the value of past strategic plans. This allowed us to know what to maintain and what to change.
Then we assessed the existing strategy and operating plans against our benchmark, which allowed us to understand what new thinking would be needed. We also took time to understand the current ambition and mission to appreciate the scale of the change.
Armed with this information, we tailor made a strategy process that included a clear sequence of time-lined activities, owners and guidelines.
Our role then moved to managing the overall process, coordinating inputs, analysing information and facilitating Executive thinking sessions. Throughout the journey, we ensured all stakeholders were informed of the process and any expectations of them. We finally articulated the strategy, ready for Board sign-off and communication to the rest of the business.
Once the strategy was approved, our role was extended to set-up the governance framework. An approach that would work within the culture of NHV, yet provide the rigour, proactiveness and transparency which was lacking. We rolled up our sleeves to help the business create and manage a set of clearly defined and prioritised projects. We actively traded-off resources vs. priorities, coached project leaders and managed risks/issues against the committed annual plan.
“Working with Four Points was and is helping our company in the inevitable transition towards our goal of becoming a modern agile company. The forward-thinking, anticipation and understanding of our ambition and culture makes the management team an ideal partner to help us to reach our destination quicker and more effectively. It’s converting the holistic to real practice in a pleasant way.”
Eric Van Hal, CEO, NHV Group NV