Case Study

Rider Levett Bucknall Victoria

Rider Levett Bucknall is a global market leader in construction, property and management consultancy, with a strong reputation for quality and accuracy in quantity surveying.

Like many organisations, COVID-19 prompted Rider Levett Bucknall Victoria (RLBV) to rethink their approach. In 2021, they identified the need for external expertise to deliver a business plan supported by an evidence-based strategy and inclusive organisational culture.

“We wanted to be led and taken on the journey to achieve the best for our business regarding our future outlook,” says Director, Arif Uzay.

“It was good chemistry with Melanie Bois from the first meeting. It was also really important for us to have someone that the Board felt comfortable with and could value and trust. From a personality and character point of view, she definitely fit that bill,” adds Managing Director Tony Moleta.

Connecting strategy to culture for strong operations

Three Chairs believes in connecting strategy to culture and creating a pathway to operationalise strategic objectives.

Principals Melanie Bois, Cathy Singleton and Rob Walliser contributed their specific expertise to align the head (strategy), heart (culture) and hands (operations) of RLBV.

“What we were impressed with Melanie is that she brought other professionals in. She didn’t profess to do everything herself,” says Tony. 

“Both Cathy and Rob were really well received by the group,” says Arif. 

Three Chairs undertook discovery interviews with staff, strategy facilitation with senior leaders, a culture assessment, a strategy launch event and custom planning approach.

“A benefit of having Three Chairs on the journey with us was that they armed us with all the information that we needed,” says Arif.

“Melanie would take feedback really well and work with whatever we threw at her. She was flexible enough to manoeuvre and ensure that our concerns and needs were met,” says Tony.

A strong process that led to positive outcomes

Three Chairs sparked the momentum by interviewing and documenting staff experiences. 

“The discovery phase was really positive. Even though some comments weren’t what you wanted to read, it was well received – particularly by management,” says Arif.

“Adding substantiation to what we thought the issues were was really important to us,” says Tony. 

Strategy formulation workshops with directors helped identify the purpose, vision, strategic objectives, drivers, measures of success and priorities. Three Chairs ensured all participants could make strategic choices based on understanding, empathy and evidence.

RLBV unveiled this new strategy through an open and collaborative all-staff forum – a turning point for the business.

“Melanie and Cathy held a fabulous forum, where staff could see what we’d been talking about. It was ‘warts and all’ – raw and full of emotion. Everyone’s values, opinions and contributions were there,” says Tony.

“The feedback we got from staff was that they’d never felt valued like this before, that they’re part of the journey.”

During the forum, Cathy conducted a real-time measure of current culture, followed by staff agreeing on their aspirational culture measure and characteristics.

“Everyone’s on their phones and you get live action. People want tangible things; they don’t want to just talk. The culture session really provided that,” says Arif. 

While there was some initial resistance from staff prior to the forum, Arif recalls that by the end, everyone felt it was worth it.

“I think it was beyond useful and definitely needed,” he says.

The momentum is here

“We’ve seen the wider team – outside the director group – being really excited and bought into what Three Chairs is trying to achieve. It’s been music to their ears to see that as a business we’re opening ourselves up to more structure for how we do things,” says Tony.

“The process we’ve gone through has created this great bit of momentum. I can see this wave of support coming through. That to me has been the big win.”