Devolving power

Transitioning to an international franchise 

After 20 years building a global organisation operating across 30 countries, the co-founders realised it was time to transition – one to start stepping back, and the other to continue decentralising leadership from the UK office. After devolving power to country offices via a franchise model, the next stage was to separate the ‘headquarters’ role of PFUK from its Europe wide delivery role, while continuing to devolve responsibility to in country leaders making best use of their expertise.

Ruth and Le organised externally facilitated team sessions to consider how PF Europe could be separated into a sustainable agile organisation. Building on a collective understanding of what was working well and what needed changing, PF Europe now has a shared leadership structure, guided and overseen by an Executive Directors group.

Ruth Nussbaum

Ruth Nussbaum

Group Director

Le Chen

Le Chen

Group Operations Director

Key lessons

1. The Founder’s willingness for change within, supported with coaching. Looking afresh at motivations, opportunities and beliefs was key to organisational change, as was a trusted relationship with the COO.

2. It is OK to hybrid models and approaches. in this case with a bespoke organisation design that combines hierarchical and matrix options to meet the organisation’s specific needs and circumstances.

3. Being the change you seek from the outset. Engaging talented leaders prepared to step up and co-create was key to successful adoption of the design. Role modelling shared leadership, clarifying roles & decision making processes, as well as a realistic transition plan, enabled them to transition step by step but at pace.

Next steps

Supporting individual team members with their continued development, alongside regular surveys providing feedback for adaptation and learning. 

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