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When Christian Beck’s father, a practicing attorney, asked him to help create a software system to run his practice more profitably, Beck, then 20 years old, taught himself to code. He eventually developed what became LEAP, a cloud-based legal software that is known for its strength in tracking productivity.
LEAP is now part of InfoTrack, a Sydney, Australia-based global provider of information to the legal profession that is a leader in its space in Australia. As it grew to its present 400 people, Beck wanted to make sure the company had a clear vision and was communicating that vision to its team. The company was facing a challenge common among growth companies: “Often, not everyone is in alignment with the founder and CEO,” says Beck.
One thing that made that greater alignment possible was using what is now called the Scaling Up system for growing a company, on the recommendation of the company’s accountant. The consultant suggested the leadership team attend a workshop led by Verne Harnish, author of Scaling Up.
Aligning a team
Bringing everyone into alignment started with having a clear vision and communicating it. InfoTrack focused on the Four Decisions important for every company that wants to scale—People, Strategy, Execution and Cash—as part of its work using the Scaling Up system.
When it came to People, the leadership team focused on making sure it had the right people doing the right things right. It reassigned some of its team to different, more suitable roles.
Committing to a BHAG
The leadership team also looked at the Strategy necessary to reach the company’s BHAG. They completed the One-Page Strategic Plan, a tool for getting clear on this, with guidance from Jai Gill, formerly a Scaling Up coach. In that process, the team set a Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG) of growing to 5,000 active clients by June 2015.
“By having that BHAG, every time we had a strategy session, we’d look at that BHAG and work backward,” says Steven Wood, a founder and chairman of InfoTrack. “Then we would look at ‘What are the three-year goal and one-year goal?”
When it came to Execution, the company instituted daily huddles, as well as quarterly and annual meetings, to speed communication and get everyone aligned. “After we held a quarterly meeting, we would go out for dinner afterward and sleep on it,” says Beck.
Keeping cash flowing
A big part of the company’s work also focused on Cash. LEAP grew quickly by offering an innovative form of financing to its customers over 36 months. “We got small law firms to take out a loan,” says Beck. “What that allowed us to do is bring forward our cash flow.” The leadership team later raised capital, using institutional debt to grow.
The company reached its BHAG two months before its target date. Today, LEAP is used by 10,000 courts in Australia. The company has hit AUD 450 million in annual revenue, and it is profitable.
“It’s a target none of us believed we could have accomplished without a good amount of work and good luck,” says Wood.