Having worked with Les prior to the sale of my business in late 2016, I can now conclusively say that the investment we made in money, time and energy to work through the Gazelle’s system with him was worth it. A conversation with my new owners, post transaction, confirmed that they knowingly paid us at least 1x EBITDA more because we had good cultural, succession planning and leadership development programs in place.
They were so impressed with the work we’d done in this area that they changed their plans and made OUR company their new platform and merged their existing operations into ours. The return on investment for us easily exceeded 10X. I’d recommend Les to anyone wanting to make their business better.
Todd Perry, Vice Chairman, McIntosh Perry
Les has proven to be a key advisor to the business and to me personally. He is certainly a Rockefeller Habits pro, but his keen business sense and ability to dissect our team dynamic, strengths and opportunities have brought us to new levels of focus, accountability and results. We have moved from less than 40% A players in a company of ninety to close to 60% in a couple of quarters and expect to achieve our goal of > 80% in the next 3-6 months (with no Cs). Margins are improving and we are more committed than ever to achieving stretch revenue goals. Additionally, Les brought critical insights before, during and after an acquisition we completed recently. We certainly did a better job developing our criteria, finding potential acquisition targets and integrating than we would have without Les’ support. Les’ support has been a game changer.
Scot Lowry, President & CEO
Fathom Online Marketing
With Les facilitating our annual executive strategic planning meeting, we accomplished more than we ever have before, and we have been doing these for a long time.
Rudy Karsan, Chief Executive Officer, Kenexa (Nasdaq: KNXA)
Sold to IBM for $1.3B
After 6 months…
Our executive team has been working with Les for just over six months. Within that time period, Les’s impact has far exceeded our expectations. Les has helped us introduce new processes that have every employee focused on our top priorities on a daily basis. As a result, sales have increased by over 100% in one quarter.
5 years later…
We’ve been working with Les for about five years. Les has brought structure, discipline and accountability to our strategic planning process. Working with Les is not just about planning, it’s about execution as well. We’ve experienced rapid growth over the past several years and Les has played an important role in our success. I can’t say enough positive things about our experience working with Les.
Paul Genier, President, Veritaaq
Deloitte – Canada’s 50 Best Managed Companies
After 4 more years…
In Q4, Les facilitated our annual offsite planning session. During that session, Les helped the management team distill down to the essence of our business around what changes were needed to spur growth. Our team left that session for the first time with a single priority! 6 months later, our bottom line is up 30% year over year and we owe a ton of credit to Les. He has an incredible ability to help the management team distill down to what really matters in the chaotic business environment we operate in. Les has been an invaluable member of our team and has been with us to see the business triple in size. Thank you Les!!!
Jordan Huck, President, Experis-Veritaaq
Deloitte – Canada’s 50 Best Managed Companies
Sold to Experis & Paul Genier successfully transferred the lead to his #2
Another year later…
We crushed the targets and increased EBITDA by 81% this year. Structure and process. Les so thankful to you!
Jordan Huck, President, Experis-Veritaaq
Deloitte – Canada’s 50 Best Managed Companies
Sold to Experis
I am writing to thank you for all you have done for our organization. ASL Distribution Services Limited and our Precision Home and Office Deliveries division have just recently been recognized as a recipient of one of Canada’s 50 Best Managed Companies. This prestigious national award, sponsored by Deloitte, CIBC Commercial Banking, National Post, and Queen’s School of Business, has recognized the most innovative and best managed companies in Canada. I certainly believe that executive level development is a crucial aspect of building a successful organization and this is one of the areas you have been both strategic and instrumental to our growth and success.
I have learned much from you through our time together including priority setting; meeting structures and rhythms; talent management including Topgrading; and sales and marketing strategies to name a few. For all this I thank you. We are a stronger and better organization through our association with you and your organization and I have personally grown through my association with you. Thank you for everything you have done for the ASL team.
Cole Dolny, President, ASL Distribution
Deloitte – Canada’s 50 Best Managed Companies
We have been working with Les for the last 3 years; he came recommended from one of my YPO forum members. Les has assisted our company with our quarterly planning sessions and annual strategic meetings; specifically with our growth, focus and internal alignment.
Les’ strengths are in knowing how to pull issues within a company and facilitate discussions on how to solve them. He uses a simple but effective model that helped us focus on key and fundamental issues that are common in all businesses – people, strategy, execution and money. He is very good at seeing the big picture and quickly capturing the key issues.
Overall, Les has been a great help in getting us through what has been the biggest and most challenging growth spurts in our company’s 65-year history. I personally wouldn’t have been able to do it as successfully without Les’ guidance and support!
Anthony Broccolini, COO, Broccolini Construction Inc.
Dear Les – It is coming up on a year since we first met, and I wanted to share with you, and thank you for the impact that you’ve had on me and my company.
As you will likely recall, I was pretty skeptical about the whole coaching concept, ( and consultants in general for that matter), and I believe that my team was probably even more skeptical than I was.
Today was the 7th full day that we have spent with you. Tomorrow we will have completed our 4th consecutive quarterly strategy meeting.
This is significant because I believe it is the first time in the 9 year history of the company that we’ve been fully committed to a strategic process.
So for those 4 meetings, I’d like to point out 4 ways that we are all better off for the experience.
- Rockefeller Habits. An alignment of purpose, promise, BHAG, Priorities, KPIs, etc… You introduced us to an amazing set of tools, and reinforced them in a way that we couldn’t get out of simply reading a book. Your insights in applying these concepts to our business saved us an untold amount of time and energy.
- Personnel. Putting the right people in the right places seems like such an easy concept, but by working on not just our hiring process, but our redeployment process has helped us focus on keeping the #1 thing the #1 thing rather than getting bogged down in bad hiring decisions or having underutilized unhappy employees.
- Alignment. Watching the functional group leaders progress from role confusion with orphaned projects to an aligned leadership team with defined accountabilities is simply beyond what could be a reality series of “Extreme Strategy Makeover”.
- Results. Obviously we will never know what would have happened if we had never met and started this process. But I can state with certainty, that if we had not started the process when we did, we would not have been prepared, or even aware, of the challenges we faced this year that could have been “material” to the operations of the company.
Thank You, Les – Without a doubt, we’re a better company today than we were a year ago. I even went as far as determining the ROI on this whole process – when I got to the final calculation, all I could get the spreadsheet to tell me was “No Brainer”.
Tim Storm, Founder & CEO, FatWallet, Inc.
50 Best Small & Medium Workplaces in America – Entrepreneur magazine
Rack Attack was still going through the final stages of the transition from old ownership to private equity when we had our first Scaling Up strategy session with Les Rubenovitch. The sale of the company had been a real test for the whole executive leadership team. We were positive but also apprehensive of the changes to come and the strategy sessions were a world apart from prior ownership discussions. There had been very little strategic thinking, all our meetings were about fighting fires or looking at the same problems again through the same lens. We could communicate well as a team but were not aligned with our goals, each working through seemingly never ending minutia. We believed we had all the experience we needed in our industry and that would be enough for success.
This was now 6 months ago and after 3 sessions we’ve developed as a team far beyond what we could have become alone. Our daily and weekly structured communication across the whole company has all employees from top to bottom invested in making the company growth a success. We’ve found employee engagement and productivity has multiplied with some great new initiatives that all came from the sessions.
We can all be proud of what we’ve achieved over the past 6 months, the team has grown in confidence and direction. We’ve now set ourselves up for success and it’s clear that experience with drive helps but strategic discussion with direction and thought is far more effective. Our regular quarterly goals and the who, what, when is proving to be a powerful tool. We track and implement more than ever before! By narrowing down company and personal priorities going forward, it is easier to measure success and we all feel like we are getting more done than ever before.
Les has a way of leading but not influencing discussions and he’s the ideal facilitator for us. We always come out of the two days charged up to continue the great progression we’ve already seen. Rack Attack is a better company working with Les and Winning Edge; we look forward to continuing these sessions.
Graeme Paterson, President, Rack Attack
3 months after the first Workshop/Strategic Planning meeting…
Our executive team started working with Les this year and we have really enjoyed and benefited from having Les as part of our extended team. The process that Les has guided us through has greatly improved our communications, our planning and our execution. We have achieved a balance of short-term performance while planning and scaling for future growth that we were previously not able to strike. Like most groups, our Executive had skeptics of varying degrees before we started working with Les but his warm and patient approach coupled with his knowledge and credibility quickly brought everyone on board and into the process and the results have spoken for themselves. It is as though Les has shifted the focus on our lens ever so slightly and with this focus the business and its future have become much clearer.
Jamie MacKay, CEO, Paramount Commerce
Since we met with Les, my whole company meets daily (each has a 10 minute huddle) – management first, then down to the teams. We do “what’s up, where are you stuck, metric update and good news.
It has completely realigned the company with clear communication and efficiency. Proof: we are having record sales and cash flow by far with minimal stress. Before we were very stressed and having the worst months ever (just six months ago!) We have a quarterly theme (CASH!) and will celebrate by going to Six Flags when we reach our cash goal.
David Mammano, Founder/CEO, Next Step Publishing, Inc.
After first two day workshop…
Wow! Completing the 2-day strategic quarterly meeting has left myself and the team super energized. We have a clear line of sight of where we need to go over the next quarter and feel
strongly about the execution of our plan.
I have spent years learning and self-educating but having Les facilitate our meeting is education at the next level. There is no way we would have made it through all the content if Les wasn’t there, really helping us stay on focus. The number of practical tools given to help us has also
Les also identified a large bottleneck in our company with action items on how to overcome. I believe the outside perspective looking at the inner workings of our company has been so beneficial at exposing our weaknesses. Super excited for the future, thanks again Les.
Mark Faris, CEO, Faris Team
Thank you very much for facilitating last week’s offsite meeting. I would like to repeat what I stated at the end of our initial 2 day introduction to the Gazelles program in December: my only regret was not finding the program and YOU a few years sooner! Thank you for your insight and guidance!
Larry Andrews, President/CEO
Cipher Pharmaceuticals Inc. TSE:DND
A day with Les is like adding rocket fuel to your business! He has an amazing ability to listen, to ask the right questions, and to learn about you and your team. Les will excite you, challenge your thinking, and get you right into building a considered actionable framework for your business’ success.
Great session today! We’re all pumped!
Andrew Cariboni, Co-founder, Unbound
We started working with Les in the fall, by the spring our business felt super charged! Les helped us find our inner direction and we fell in love with execution again. Although there were a lot of people involved in producing exceptional results through this period, I atttribute Les for being the spark that ignited our passion for results.
Matt Larochelle CEO & Cofounder, Matt and Steve’s
Les , it is a pleasure working with you . You bring a refreshing perspective and strong expertise. You’ve challenged us to look at our approach differently and as a result to continue growing. Many thanks from all of us at Forum.
Richard Abboud, Founder & CEO, Forum Equity Partners
After facilitating at my first EO Forum retreat, I immediately discovered that Les’s style of accountability and growth management was what my team needed in order to realize the success I was looking for. Les helped me build the foundation upon which my company was able to grow at an exponential rate. Les’s coaching and assistance in setting hard goals and providing us the tools to meet them, helped my company grow 242% in the last four years. Our quarterly strategic planning sessions have become invaluable and are now an integral part of our business; the cost of which is now built into my annual budget and has proven to pay dividends.
Steven Christodoulou, President & CEO, ICC Property Management Ltd.
Les has been instrumental in our company growth. When CompuStaff started we were a group of talented and hardworking people but we needed guidance and direction. Les provided us this through his insight and his teachings of the Rockefeller habits. He worked very hard and celebrated our success as much as we did. In the end we have seen dramatic growth in revenue, margin and employee retention. I know for a fact that without Les there is a good chance we would not be where we are today.
John Welch, Co-Founder, CompuStaff
We wish to express our gratitude to you and your company. Our company is doing well and we are having fun! It is nice to be able to say that.
Earlier this year Marie and Riyaz had a visioning session with you and the effect of the product they presented was profound. The “Les Sessions”, as we refer to them, have conditioned us to be more measured in our decision making and accountable for the results of our initiatives. This, in itself, is a great achievement but it is so good to be able to say that WE ARE HAVING FUN! The discipline you have taught us will continue to take us closer to our goals.
Thank you for what you do. We look forward to your involvement in our future. I believe every company should have a Les!
Barbara Dale and Eric Germain, Co-founders IS2
I just wanted to thank you for all that you’ve done for us during our quarterly strategic planning sessions over the past 5 or so years. We are running so much better than we were when we first met. Our people know our values, our purpose, where we are going, how we are going to get there, and what they can do to contribute. As a result, our employee survey results are the highest they’ve ever been and we’ve been named one of the 50 Best Places to Work in Canada for two years straight. We have a very strong operational rhythm and our strategy is well engrained in our business plans. So much so that our recent hire of an executive from GE has been impressed! We are set for future greatness as we continue to execute going forward. Thanks again for all of your help!
Scott Shawyer, P. Eng, President & CEO JMP Engineering
President, YPO Canada – Great Place to Work – Best Workplaces
I have worked with Les Rubenovitch for over one year now as he has been a Coach to DMTI on implementing Gazelles and many other business topics. Les is the best meeting facilitator I have worked with, his knowledge of a broad range of business aspects is substantial, as his ongoing study of current best business books. Given his own personal background running companies he has an excellent feel for when he needs to step in and guide and when he should step back and watch. DMTI values Les’ ongoing contributions greatly!
Alex MacKay, CEO, DMTI Spatial Inc.
Working with Les Rubenovitch from Winning Edge Consultants has been a great experience for the Purity Life leadership team.
Les drives accountability while teaching and re-enforcing the Rockefeller Habits. There is no hiding in the shadows with Les. He knows how to mine for conflict within the leadership team to create meaningful discussion that drives the business forward.
Les’ direct style and ability to communicate the key concepts in a simple but impactful way makes the learning process interesting but most importantly memorable. The concepts and behaviours that Les teaches are essential for any business to reach and exceed their potential.
The accountability, clarity and focus as a result of implementing the concepts that Les teaches has transformed how Purity Life’s leadership team manages the business.
Matthew James, President and CEO, Purity Life Health Products
After Day 1 of a 2 Day Strategic Planning Workshop…
We have made more progress today, than we have in two years.
Six months later…
We’re a completely different organization today; we have established and empowered our leadership and management teams.
Alex Campbell, Co-founder, CEO, Vibes Media
We have been working with Les for the last 18 months and in that time our business has gone through a transformation unlike anything before. We enlisted Les because we wanted to take our business to the next level but didn’t have a clear line of sight on how to get past some of the internal challenges we were facing – people, processes and strategy. From the onset it was clear we enlisted the right individual for the job – Les’ ability to navigate a room and quickly understand the individuals and challenges in your business is second to none. Les has a very strong grasp of high performing companies and the individuals needed to take them to the next level.
Chris Magnone President and CEO, Temple Lifestyle
The coaching you did with Kjell and Dan was fabulous. With Dan, I have seen significant growth in his understanding of what he needs to do in his role. Through his ownership and sense of empowerment, I think his career has considerable runway. It’s worth mentioning that we just returned from our company leadership retreat and Dan was awarded Top Sales Assist Award which is an award for explaining our technology and the operations behind the solutions we provide; although the award is not for security, it is an indication that he is leading in the area of security. The influence you have given Dan is to raise his level of thought and influence in strategic ways through a number of changes.
With Kjell, I have seen increased development. Over the last couple of quarters I have seen him mature in an understanding of what his role needs to evolve into. This understanding has been matched with an increase in his transparency and a focus on managing his various relationships effectively. Kjell was awarded Principal status in the company which is a general acknowledgement of his growth.
I’d very much like to thank you for the work you have done and you can be sure that I will call you again. Thanks Les.
Jim Restivo, Chief Knowledge Officer, Kenexa (Nasdaq: KNXA)
Les, we have been growing rapidly and more importantly, doing it the ‘right’ way – having the right people in the right roles. I have to thank you for your support. The systems implemented have allowed me to expand. Its an exciting time – we are slated to move end of Q1, 2016 and are currently looking to buy a building to house the operation now and into the future. Thank you for your contribution to where we are today and more importantly, where we are headed down the road!
Neil Shepherd, President, CEO The Shepherd Group
Winters Instruments has greatly benefitted from your coaching and appreciate your involvement over the past couple of years. We were amazed how quickly you grasped the operations of our company and you always were very sharp when moderating our discussions.
Les, you taught us many useful tools. Thank you. We look forward to maintaining a long term relation with you.
Jeffrey Smith, President, Winters Instruments
Since we started working with you and began implementing the Rockefeller Habits, We are enjoying record sales, are in a better cash position than ever before and have a team of employees with the highest morale and best attitudes.
The two day Rockefeller Habits Strategic Planning session was the first time we invested time and energy in discovering our Core Values, identifying our Purpose and setting a BHAG. Now, these are reference points that we all regularly rally around and are a part of our daily conversations.
Everyone in our company is now in a daily huddle and this has helped improve morale, eliminate the communication problems we were experiencing and enabled us to provide clarity around our short and long terms priorities.
We are so much more productive now that we have clearly identified our top priorities for each quarter. Instead of everyone having more things to do than they could handle, we all know what the top priorities are and what role each person can play in completing them. This clarity of purpose has helped us resolve some of our biggest challenges and we are well positioned to keep working through the remaining challenges and any new ones as they come up.
Another large area of focus for us was our people. We have many outstanding people, but they were not all in the right positions. In the last six months we have moved people to Canada from the UK, shifted contract people to full time employees, freed up the futures of some of the wrong employees and filled several critical seats. Our leadership team is now in place and we are ready to grow! Les, our business is in better shape than it has ever been. We value your support as a critical element in our success and look forward to celebrating the attainment of our BHAG in 2012!
Roy Grant, Former Chairman, CEO, CCi
Sold to Wincor Nixdorf
Our Strategic Planning session with Les was an eye opening revelation for us. We now feel focused and have a clear plan to re-energize the company.
Hugh Barit, Chairman, CEO, P.R.P. Performa
Bermuda based financial services company
Les brings exceptional experience and discipline to our strategic planning process. We were already practicing some of the Gazelle’s teachings, but he has really helped us to take it to the next level, and focus on the parts that matter most. He challenges us to find answers to the hard questions and brings out the best in the team. Above all else, we have seen an enormous improvement in the alignment of the company around our strategy, core values, and mission. We highly recommend Les as a coach for growing companies.
Mike Assad, Co-founder, CEO Agility Inc.
I had the opportunity to work with Les shortly following a large acquisition which caused my business unit to double in size to in excess of 500 employees. We had big dreams but very little structural organization in place and at times I felt like I was running the fastest sprint of my life and getting nowhere.
Following our sessions with Les we were able to create and cascade an in-depth Accountability and Responsibility grid that serves as our organizational chart today. We quickly grasped the value of the Daily Huddle Rhythm which has allowed us to communicate and stay focused on the key priorities we have as a business. Huddles have become a part of our culture and have allowed us a venue to share critical communication throughout the business which is vital when you are growing rapdily and constantly changing.
We still have our big dreams and I am often still running that sprint, but extremely happy to say I am now getting to where I want to go.
Becky Sterling, Talent Management,
International General Manager, Kenexa (Nasdaq: KNXA)
Having Les as a business coach has made a huge difference in life and in the life of my business. Being at the top of an organization, I find that I need someone who is like-minded to keep me accountable for my responsibilities when it comes to growing and expanding my business and achieving some aggressive corporate goals.
Les is a great sounding board helping me navigate through difficult situations when they arise. I would recommend his professional coaching and facilitating abilities to anyone seeking personal and business growth in their own company.
Andy Buyting, President, Green Village
Author of The Retailers Roadmap to Success
The thought of working with Les in a coaching capacity was an exciting prospect but also somewhat intimidating and not without apprehension. Seeing myself as an A player, was coaching even necessary? After my first meeting with Les it became very apparent I could use some coaching. Les puts you at ease in an atmosphere akin to a fireside chat but on steroids. The topic of our hour long conversations are planned in advance and have an open structure allowing the topic to morph into something completely different if necessary. If ever you were going to be put in a vulnerable position, this is where it is going to happen because no topic is off the table or sacred. The coaching and teaching that Les provides is in no way one sided, it is very much a collaborative affair where you are constantly challenged throughout the process. For me, the end result was literally like a light turning on, you come out on the other side of the conversation with greater clarity and a better perspective on whatever the topic of discussion was. Really exciting is the fact that I could immediately put what I learned into action with extremely positive outcomes.
As someone in a senior position I have learned through this experience that coaching is not only necessary but a must for executives and anyone who wants to take their business intelligence and leadership skills to the next level. Les has gained my trust and admiration as a coach and mentor, his advice and teaching has proved to be invaluable for me and my employer.
Don Gonder, Director of Brand Management & Innovation
Purity Life Health Products