Breaking Through Barriers

Understanding that the game changes as companies grow,
a business system aims to turn stagnation into innovation

Photo: Ted Doholis and Paul Lambert

THE NEW ECONOMY is no longer just a concept. It is the new reality. And many business owners are struggling to adapt to the disrupted status-quo.

So when Paul Lambert and Ted Doholis founded their business consulting firm Doholis-Lambert (doholis-lambert.com) in 2012, they knew it had to offer new solutions. The result is a system called Business Performance Architecture (BPA), a unique approach to business performance improvement designed to help owners and executives break through the barriers to profitable business growth and thrive in the new economic landscape.

Most companies reach predictable milestones and plateaus, Lambert notes, regardless of the industry. Those lucky enough to survive the start-up phase often seek outside support to help them overcome the stagnation and frustration that typically sets in after the first five or 10 years.

But Doholis-Lambert has identified three problems with traditional consulting. “Businesses find it expensive, a high percentage of consulting engagement recommendations don’t get implemented so there is a lack of long term positive change, and clients resent paying for discovery engagements,” says Lambert.

According to Lambert, BPA avoids these common pitfalls by providing a clear framework combined with proven tools to help businesses reach the next level of success.

“The characteristics that have gotten us to where we are often keep us from moving forward” —Paul Lambert

“We have a blueprint. We have a structure. We help implement that into an organization in a way that makes sense. It involves facilitation, coaching and training, so I think we have created a new category,” he explains.

While traditional business consultants and trainers typically focus on changing or improving the knowledge and skills within an organization, Doholis-Lambert places equal emphasis on attitudes and habits.

“The characteristics that have gotten us to where we are often keep us from moving forward,” Lambert notes. That’s why so many entrepreneurs reach a point where working harder may actually be counterproductive.

Another common challenge addressed by BPA is the disconnect between the company vision and the execution of day-to-day tasks.

“We ask our clients to answer eight questions fairly early in the process to help them define their vision in very simple terms,” Lambert says. “It’s important for everyone in the organization to have the same understanding of where the company is going and how it plans to get there.”

The ultimate goal, Lambert says, is to create an organization that is both smart and healthy. “A healthy organization is one where leadership is inclusive rather than dictatorial, and where there is a sense of safety for open debate,” he explains. It’s an important attribute that is usually overlooked.

David Billson, who co-founded the creative and digital marketing agency rTraction Canada in 2001, began working with Doholis-Lambert this January.

“Without really knowing my business they were able to identify the challenges we were experiencing, and offer a solution,” he says.

Now halfway through the engagement, Billson says the BPA approach has already helped rTraction better articulate its vision and corporate identity.

“We’ve gained a lot of clarity so we can make decisions more quickly. We understand what the priorities of the organization are,” Billson says. “Our leadership team is much better at taking on the challenges that come up, and are a more cohesive unit.”

Next steps include implementing tools to help bring on the rest of the organization and streamlining the company’s project management process.

And while Doholis-Lambert is focused on working with mid- to large-sized organizations throughout Southwestern Ontario—previous clients include Robarts Clinical Trials, Global Warranty and Sunshine Foundation—Lambert and Doholis want to keep their own consulting company small.

“We plan to bring on a second facilitator later this year,” Lambert says. “But we form a real partnership with our clients and we want to remain nimble for them.”  Nicole Laidler