Our Rant and Rave case study describes the company’s experiences as Julia Langkraehr worked with them to implement EOS.
Who are Rant and Rave?
Rant and Rave is a customer engagement platform which aims to help brands transform Ranters into Ravers and happy customers into engaged Ravers – lifelong advocates. It enables businesses to proactively communicate with and gather fast feedback from customers, deliver outstanding customer and employee experiences.
The platform is used by over 100 leading European and international brands and was founded in 2000 by Nigel Shanahan. It is based in Coventry and at the time it was implementing EOS, had 120 staff.
Rant and Rave before EOS
Before Bold Clarity started working with the company, internal issues had meant that the previously strong culture of the business had eroded, and there was a lack of trust and transparency.
The chairman Nigel Shanahan had stepped back in as CEO and realised drastic action was needed to rebuild the company culture and introduce a new, more robust structure to how the business was run.
Just before starting to implement EOS, the company appointed a new CEO, Kenny Bain.
Why did Rant and Rave choose EOS?
Nigel had read the EOS books Get a Grip and Traction, and really liked the system. He said:
“It appealed on a lot of levels; it referenced a lot of other business books I had read and admired. It was a glorious roll-up of all the best bits of business education that I had come across.
“We thought about implementing it ourselves then realised we would benefit from someone to sit alongside the leadership team and do it correctly.”
After some research, they came across Julia and Bold Clarity.
While Nigel, the new CEO Kenny Bain and others on the leadership team were convinced about EOS, and trusted Nigel’s judgement, he said others were sceptical.
They had a 90 minute meeting with Julia and despite the sceptics, decided to go ahead and implement the system.
Nigel described the first EOS session as a shock to the leadership team.
“You combine Julia – who is great, but also forthright, challenging and direct, and the fact that in the very first meeting you fire the whole leadership team then discuss who should be in each of the roles … there was a lot of discussion and argument about who should do what.
“It was exactly what we needed – someone to tell us to stop arguing and make decisions. The EOS approach was brilliant compared to so much management advice, which doesn’t actually achieve anything.”
The immediate result was that the two members of the leadership team who had been doubtful about EOS left fairly quickly.
“We had a sense that those people weren’t right, but previously had no formal process to put them through which says ‘do you know what, they’re not’. EOS gives you legitimacy that they’re leaving because they’ve gone through a rigorous process to show they don’t work. And they bought into that process as well.”
Nigel said it was interesting that after these two executives left, other members of staff were able to step up and grow in confidence.
After the initial changes to the leadership team, it took about a month for the penny to drop company-wide about how EOS would work, and the benefits it would bring both to individuals and the company. That’s when implementation started to gain more momentum.
Rant and Rave found that one of the best tools was the scorecard, which they published weekly across the whole business, focusing on it at their monthly town-hall meetings. It was hugely beneficial as everybody got behind it and worked towards achieving the most compelling scores for the business.
The team also found that documenting all the processes in the business was extremely valuable, making Nigel and the leadership team question how each one worked and how it benefited the business.
As the Level 10 meetings were rolled out, departments had differing levels of success. Some worked very well, while others found it a challenge with stronger personalities dominating so meetings were less productive than they might have been and opportunities and ideas weren’t discussed.
On reflection, Nigel feels the company could have educated different departments more effectively on how to deliver EOS tools such as the L10 and the Issues List, perhaps with some additional EOS sessions for middle managers with a facilitator.
“Overall, implementing the system went very well. Rocks were popular – particularly as the company offered bonuses for completion – and it helped me to focus on what every process, change and step would do for the business.
“It really resolved the culture problems we had. EOS is a business practice which reinforces culture. You can’t do the things that Traction talks about, the structure it gives you, without having a clean culture, where there’s trust, transparency. It brings all those behavioural things into the centre of it.
“By the end, that senior team was really strong. People would pull each other up, they didn’t have any issues about challenging somebody in the moment, it was really neat.”
Find out more: the Entrepreneurial Operating System
One of the aims of implementing EOS was to prepare Rant and Rave for sale, for an exit – and it did this extremely well.
Nigel said the fact the company was run on EOS was a very strong part of their pitch. Interested Parties heard the company used the EOS methodology and concluded that Rant and Rave was a very well-run business.
“It helped with the due diligence: when people asked what our processes were for particular areas, or what our management reporting looked like, everything was there. It definitely supported that smoothly.”
In October 2018, the company was sold for £52 million to the American firm Upland, becoming Upland Rant and Rave.
“The Leadership Team at Rant & Rave worked with Julia at Bold Clarity over 18 months. It was an exciting time of growth both financially for the company and in the Team’s development, the culmination of which has been the sale of the company to a larger software business in USA.
“Throughout this exciting time, Julia was our partner, guiding, challenging and cajoling. The company’s name is Bold Clarity, and that’s what she brings. The radical candour, challenge and direction has allowed the team to mature where trust, communication and healthy conflict have helped us to succeed. Thankyou, Julia!”
Nigel added: “I would thoroughly recommend anybody to look at EOS and in particular to take Julia as the practitioner, because she will get you there, she will challenge you. It can be reasonably painful at times but it is well worth it.”
He said that a major factor is that Julia isn’t just a “yes-person” who will say what you want and back down if you disagree, so she’ll get her fee.
“She comes from a good business background and experience. She is absolutely passionate about the Traction process. In my 30 years of being in business, I haven’t found a programme and a practitioner the combination of which will get you where you need to be faster than that.”