What’s the One Thing that Makes All the Difference?

How Selecting the Right Business Growth Partner
Gave COBRAGuard™ a Competitive Edge

Administering COBRA insurance programs for companies who wanted out of the insurance management business was Bob Meyers’ business plan. He had 12 years of experience in the Human Resources field, and saw a niche that no one was filling—yet.

Robert-MeyersIn 2001, Bob built COBRAGuard, the first on-demand Web-based COBRA administration company. The internet was still growing as a business tool, and things looked promising. Then, within a few months, the U.S. was under attack. The harsh reality of 9-11 was that nearly every business suffered a devastating blow. Bob’s new venture now had an even higher hurdle to clear.

“There’s no denying the fact that the first few years were tough. It was often two steps forward, three steps back. And when you’re a young company, you don’t know what you don’t know,” said Bob. He ran a good company, and through the years began to experience steady growth. True of many entrepreneurial businesses, employees were experiencing the demands of business growth. It was time to find the tipping point—that magic moment when the business crosses the threshold. But how?

Fixing the Broken Half

COBRAGuard was in decent shape, really. “We were probably only half-broken. We had highly engaged people. They were all overachievers, all giving 100%. But we didn’t know how to get them all on the same page,” said Bob.

As a member of Convene, a community that provides Christian business mentoring and counseling to CEO’s and business owners from a variety of industries across the country, Bob knew where to turn. His Convene chair referred him to Joe Calhoon for help preparing COBRAGuard for the kind of growth Bob intended to cultivate.

The One Thing…

Bob believes that the magic tipping point for his business—the one thing that made all the difference–was investing in his people. Pure and simple. No big cash infusion, no equipment upgrade or marketing blitz.

Working through the PriorityAdvantage™ system, “Joe brought my employees together and gave them a format, a foundation, a formula—a measurable system for maximizing their capabilities and improving their teamwork,” said Bob. “Now my people are not just open to change, they enjoy and embrace it! We have a high-trust environment that eliminates manipulation, gossip and negativity. Working with Joe taught us to rethink both our business and our personal lives. What we’ve gotten from the relationship is nothing short of phenomenal!”

How a Good Business Becomes a Better Business

Culture, or “the way we do things around here,” can make or break a business. If leaders work to define it, assess it and understand it, culture can be a tangible business growth tool. Working within the PriorityAdvantage™ system, the entire group of managers and staff defined the company’s Vision, Mission and Values. Next, they worked on matching each employee to the jobs to be done and setting achievement Objectives and defining Strategies. “We worked on matching the right person to the right job. This changed our culture and built a strong team culture. Our people were taught to ‘fill each other’s buckets,’ and saw that teamwork was critical for company growth,” said Bob.

“Truly Transformational”

Cobra-imageEach month the COBRAGuard team meets for an hour to celebrate their achievements, reflect on their progress, and refocus on their priorities. “It’s really inspiring,” says Bob. “My people look forward to it. With my people empowered and working to their full potential, the business is less reliant upon me.”

A direct result of their work with Joe is the “reversed hiring process.” Bob says, “My job is to protect the team. I am involved in the first interview. We are honest and open—we understand what and who we are. We want people who fit well with our company values.”

With growth of around 40% year-over-year for the past two years, Bob is more than satisfied with the progress they continue to achieve using the PriorityAdvantage™ system. He concludes, “The work Joe does may sound simple, but it’s truly transformational. I’ve got ‘mini-me’s’ all around who watch out for our company. It’s very liberating.”