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Ian Woodthorpe
MD, Accountancy Recruitment, Ireland

The Situation

Ian Woodthorpe and Tony Gallagher are the joint owners of GAPP, a specialist global talent solutions provider to the finance industry, who have been providing recruitment services to their sector for approaching twenty years.

Ian used to describe GAPP as a big, yet happy ball of string, which was growing every year though unfortunately, it was becoming increasingly difficult to thread one part to another to facilitate accelerated growth.

Consistency was made even more challenging as both Ian and Tony were involved in almost every part of the business and in some cases were also working on the same project together; unnecessarily.

Their primary business model was contingency recruitment, which was reliant on recruiting good 360 recruiters to deliver assignments, which was proving a considerable challenge. The lack of career progression and development across all areas of the business was creating a significant issue with staff retention too.

Both Ian and Tony were getting to a point where they ‘felt’ they ‘had to do it all’. At the same time, they realised that their ambitions to scale and grow as the dominant player in their sector wasn’t going to happen at the speed they wanted unless something changed.

Though they had worked with a non-exec mentor in the past, this wasn’t helping them accelerate growth in the way they wanted.

It was then that Tony discovered Katy and the Centred Excellence approach to scaling their business growth through initially having a Profit Accelerator call, which led them to work with Nicky and Katy through the RockIT programme.

The Outcome Ian Wanted:

  • To scale GAPP and double revenues.
  • To build an autonomous and high performing team to deliver more projects with a broader range of clients.
  • To reduce the fragmentation that was currently happening across the business.
  • To ‘Be’ the recognised market leading recruiter in their sector.
  • To differentiate their product and service in a way that anointed GAPP as THE talent partner to work with in the market.

Final Words From Ian and Tony About Working With Centred Excellence

“Take action now. If you have decided you want to scale, commit to that. In hindsight, it was probably just as easy to say we would do it next year as opposed to go and give it a go now. A friend of mine has the saying, ‘When was the last time you went to the gym and regretted it?’

The hardest step is the first one.

If you are busy and you don’t know if you want to go through the journey or take the time, it's that first moment of starting the journey.
It is like doing a marathon. It starts with the first mile, and then you find your rhythm as you go along. The thing is, don’t be scared by the time out of the business because you need it, and the return on investment has been huge for us. Doubling revenues and enjoying what we do again has been massive for us.

It is not like Katy and Nicky provide every answer. They facilitate the process which is invaluable in helping you put your ideas into one place so that you can then take action. Basically, in a nutshell, the first step is the hardest; I’m glad we took it.”

Ian Woodthorpe MD

Listen to what Ian has to say:

Implementation and Results

Ian and Tony started working withKaty, Nicky and the Centred excellence team, which involved attending events, participating in group coaching and working through several online learning programmes. Ian, Tony and the GAPP team were then able to achieve the following results.

  • Within 18 months they had doubled their turnover more than once.
  • Tony and Ian committed to doing the ‘work’ consistently and showed up at all the events and then on their return moved into action immediately.
  • They shifted from working ‘in’ the business to ‘on’ the business, which shifted results exponentially.
  • Reflection opportunities through attending the Centred Excellence events allowed time and a chance to realign the organisation's vision and values; this made their whole service offering come to life.
  • The vision and values then became a yardstick for all systems and growth in the business, including how they managed their own recruitment as they moved forward.
  • GAPP closed their London operation and relocated to Ireland while still providing outstanding service levels to current and new clients.
  • They developed clear systems and processes to facilitate efficient growth across the business with people in South Africa, Ireland and the UK.
  • They developed a unique process to identify and leverage new opportunities in markets as soon as they become available.
  • Worked with a methodology to ensure all team members and Ian and Tony were working to their unique abilities.
  • Recruited an operations manager who ensures consistency of process implementation, which resulted in predictable profit.
  • Through using one of the Centred Excellence exercises, they identified their unique offering to clients which they could then market to both new and existing clients for high revenues.
  • Moved from a stuck and struggling 360 model to an effective and efficient 180 process.
  • Developed their own ‘language’ with clients and candidates, which is helping GAPP stand out as different and unique in the competitive market in which they operate.
  • They have shifted from working with one retained client and Adhoc contingent, non-exclusive single and double placements, to working with four clients doing two or three projects with each. As GAPP clients are larger organisations, this has produced a massive increase in consistent revenue.
  • Transformed GAPP to a self-managed, highly efficient recruitment machine that fulfils huge retained strategies, and projects for blue-chip clients across the globe.

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