Strategic Planning,
Leadership and Team
Development, & Executive
Coaching Reignite Growth

Case Study — First Call

About

Launched in 1991 in Richmond, Indiana, First Call serves a wide variety of industries with staffing, quality inspection, engineering support, supplies, and professional recruiting services throughout the Midwest and Southern US. From its early focus on staffing, First Call has continued to evolve. Yet after 30 years of growth and change, its vision remains the same: provide excellent customer service to both employees and clients in an ethical, professional manner.

Mark Gallo headshot

All relationships are built on trust, and you build trust by having integrity. CHORUS has done everything we’ve asked them to do and more. We feel really comfortable with the relationship, knowing they truly care about our success.

Mark Gallo
President, First Call Staffing

Challenge

While First Call has enjoyed great success since launch 30 years ago, the staffing industry has had its challenges, particularly during the pandemic. In addition, CEO Tracy Nice’s founding partner retired, and her CFO joined another enterprise. Nice admits to the challenge felt by all companies everywhere: “finding the right people to move your business forward is always the largest challenge.”

After consistent growth, the company’s revenue began to plateau in 2017. CEO friends advised Nice to take a closer look at strategy and leadership team development, and she ultimately reached out to Indianapolis-based CHORUS for help.

A firm with several divisions, First Call team members didn’t know each other well across the enterprise, rarely working in teams and sharing information or needs. “We had a silo with our two divisions between quality and staffing, and they weren’t really leveraging the experience on both sides and the synergies on both sides to help us grow our business,” says President Mark Gallo.

CHORUS identified gaps in leadership team process, executive leader identification and development, and tools for measuring progress. Strategic planning was needed as First Call lacked clear core values, a mission statement, and strategic priorities across the enterprise.

Solution

CHORUS’ strategy and process expertise provided a foundation for structure and discipline in all these areas. The CHORUS team conducted an assessment that included interviewing a broad cross-section of leaders, developing a blueprint for First Call’s strengths and challenges. They then assisted Nice in developing a strategic plan including new top priorities:

  • Fight and win the war for talent by implementing a strategy for making First Call best-in-class at getting a shrinking pool of skilled labor under its banner.
  • Revamp the sales organization and process with a plan for retention, digital marketing, and targeting higher level decision-makers to become multi-site partners.

Next, a CHORUS-facilitated retreat coalesced First Call’s 25 top leaders, creating synergy from effective communication and alignment of the team behind a disciplined strategy.

CHORUS had a very concise way of getting everybody focused on what it is we were supposed to do, and excited and energized about it,” says Nice. “I think the most important thing I’ve learned is to trust the leaders to help run the whole company and not just their division. That everybody gets excited and is devoted to the company, and to just give them more responsibility.”

Team building was followed by a work team process with a broader group to finalize the strategic plan.

In the team development phase, CHORUS advisor Mike Jones tailored a practical execution plan, including facilitating quarterly meetings and individual coaching for each member of the leadership team. This ongoing recalibration of strategic priorities was critical to their success, especially during the pandemic.

Jones adds, “Some of the leaders were a little skeptical at first, but we saw them go from eye-roll to on-a-roll. They saw the value and rallied and embraced the process. And now I love to see how well they are executing.”

Adds Gallo, “CHORUS is a true partnership, not just a consulting firm. A lot of consultants come in, they consult, and they leave. CHORUS really is concerned and wants you to be successful long-term. It’s really, for us, almost like having a board of directors. They just bring a lot of fresh ideas and accountability and ongoing strategy that help you take it to the next level each time.”

It’s really great to have one company that you’re dealing with because you can develop a real confidence that they understand your company. They understand what your goals are, and they’ve witnessed you go through some changes.

Tracy Nice
Owner and CEO, First Call

Tracy Nice headshot
Tracy Nice headshot

It’s really great to have one company that you’re dealing with because you can develop a real confidence that they understand your company. They understand what your goals are, and they’ve witnessed you go through some changes.

Tracy Nice
Owner and CEO, First Call

Highlights of the Engagement Included:

  • Strategic plan crafted and executed
  • Alignment and synergy gained among executive leadership of diverse divisions
  • Executive leader assessment, development, and coaching, leading to vibrant ELT meetings and re-ignition of company growth.
  • Identification and promotion of leaders from within

CHORUS Services:

Results

CHORUS helped the First Call team gain personal as well as an enterprise-wide understanding of strengths and challenges and develop a strategic plan that began to generate results immediately. First Call leaders are now working together collaboratively and effectively, sales are up, and re-energized marketing is positioning the enterprise ahead of its competition.

Mark Gallo headshot

We have a more well-defined path of where we want to go. Before we were just hoping for the best. Now we can understand why we’re not meeting our goal and what the root cause is and what we need to do to get on the right track.

Mark Barker
Operations Director, First Call Quality

Next Steps

First Call recently completed a strategy recalibration process with its top executives, and Nice, Gallo and their executive leadership team continue to confer with CHORUS on strategy. Together, the two companies are on a journey as long-term partners to help First Call achieve its next level of best.