Eakin is a family-owned medical device and healthcare business, which employs around 1000 people across three main sites and supplies its products to over 50 countries worldwide. Founded in 1973 and family-run for two generations, Eakin needed to review its organisation design to support its long-term strategy and the next phase of growth, which is where we came in.
A major part of Eakin’s evolution was shifting from being ‘family-operated’ to ‘family-owned’. This involved significant structural changes to the leadership, including appointing a CEO for the first time in the organisation’s history, as well as embracing the cultural change involved in the shift in family members’ roles.
Given the organisation’s organic growth over the decades – plus a recent major acquisition – there was also a need to address duplications and inefficiencies in the existing structure. So a key part of our partnership was about designing for greater consistency and coordination across the group.
For this project, the core design team comprised of the board, including key family members.
We spent time with each member individually to understand their views on the strategic direction of the business, what was working well structurally and otherwise, and what needed addressing. We also engaged a wider range of stakeholders across the organisation to make sure we were designing with a full range of perspectives in mind.
We then facilitated a number of workshops with the board beginning with strategy. From this strategy, we developed key design principles for the structure as well as multiple organisational options, evaluating these against the principles and good practice industry design tests. Our aim? To select the most favourable structure to move ahead with.
The process was rigorous, which allowed everyone the space to engage in crucial conversations needed around significant change.
As a result of our work together, the board were able to make confident choices around major changes.
– appointing an interim CEO and beginning the search for the organisation’s first externally hired top level leader
– integrating two major business areas to resolve duplication that had arisen over the years
– moving from siloed ways of working to a matrix structure allowing the organisation to focus on its functional capabilities as well as its key therapeutic areas
– moving to an integrated operations structure, which allowed greater efficiency and synergies
– taking deliberate steps to lead in a way that supported the significance of the cultural shift, particularly from ‘family-operated’ to ‘family-owned’, which was needed to move into this next phase of growth.