From years of client ratings we were able to plot their meaning:
|Rating # Range
|1=Terrible, 5=Best Possible
|4.4 or higher
||Excited — outstanding/best in class/high loyalty
|4.1 to 4.3
||Very Satisfied, but not ‘jumping up and down’
|3.6 to 4.0
||Satisfied, but improvement needed
|3.0 to 3.5
||Barely satisfied, dissatisfied in one or more areas
Our study quality was at the “satisfaction” level. We went through training in Dr. W. Edwards Deming’s philosophy for constant process improvement and realized that we needed to make changes to our system in order to average “Excitement” level.
Our study producers were primarily graduates of University of Virginia, Duke, Princeton, Yale, and William & Mary. They typically worked for 3 years, then left to pursue an MBA. As talented as they were, it became obvious that the study quality ratings depended on the relative seniority of the actual producers.
Through statistical charting and brainstorming, an astonishing but simple way to reach Excitement Quality leaped out at us:
- become a smaller organization of very senior BRiC Study people committed to produce BRiC studies for their clients for their careers
- become absolutely the world’s “best in class” at getting “underlying information” from clients’ customers
Our officers decided to reorganize for the sake of long term quality, which also allowed them to:
- achieve more independence
- work from a super outfitted home office
- live wherever they wanted, leaving the daily Northern Virginia commute to others
This pleasantly surprised Harlan, who had reached the point in his career and age where he was setting up an ESOP sale of the company to the employees. It looked like he would “work for a few more years, and retire.” But Harlan decided that although he did want to change his routine of the previous 35 years, he did not want to retire, ever.
So the change was made with three-year notices to employees.
Harlan’s title changed from CEO to Chief Excitement Quality Officer.
Since 1994 our Senior Project Managers have been career committed and are now incorporated licensees of Harlan Brown & Company, Inc. The benefit for our clients can be seen in the average of our study ratings since that time: