Empowering Sustainable and Cost-Effective Growth

A Case Study with a Small Company


Samin Saadat
Executive Director, Posted on Jan 22, 2024


We specialize in collaborating with small and midsize businesses to leverage the science of psychology and technology, aiming to establish a robust infrastructure and foster a sustainable culture. The case study highlighted features of a company we worked with. In this specific instance, the company is undergoing significant growth but faces limitations in resources to build the necessary infrastructure, team, and culture. The challenge is to support this growth without creating dependencies on Jalapeno resources.

Client Profile
Company EEC (for confidentiality purposes, this is not the actual name of the company) is a rapidly growing consulting firm that has successfully acquired a substantial number of clients with complex projects. With a team of 20 members, the company actively sought substantial support in establishing a resilient operation and fostering a vibrant organizational culture. The primary objective for Company EEC was to align these efforts with achieving profit targets and sustaining their upward growth trajectory. In the face of the ever-evolving challenges within their industry, they were in search of a strategic partner capable of addressing both immediate and crucial issues while simultaneously contributing to the development of essential teams and infrastructure.

Challenges Faced by Company EEC


  • Misalignment within partnerships regarding growth strategies, responsibilities and communication.
  • Lack of trust within the executive team and operation team.
  • Experiencing high turnover and the need to recruit to fill roles.
  • Limited budget for hiring seniors, necessitating the production of high-quality work with constrained resources.
  • Beginning to encounter resentment, ‘blame game’ and resistance within the team due to a heavy workload and ineffective communication and processes.

Immediate Needs

  • Company EEC needed swift solutions to address critical issues and challenges they were facing in their current phase of growth, ensuring profitability while keeping costs low.

Building Infrastructure

  • The company needed assistance in creating an operational model, essential roles, training personnel, and establishing effective systems and communication flows.

Gradual Delegation

  • Company EEC aimed to transition from dependency on external support to becoming self-reliant, gradually delegating departmental responsibilities to newly established roles.

Our Approach: A Phased and Data-Driven Strategy

Our Philosophy

  • We refrain from fostering an "engage me" mindset, opting instead to empower both parties to assume accountability for sustainable change and growth. The equation for sustainable growth underscores the shared responsibility:
  • Employee’s Responsibility and Self-Engagement (50%) + Organizational Conditions and Employer’s Responsibility (50%) = Sustainable Growth

Our approach encompasses the comprehensive design of the “hardware” and “software” within the organizational framework. While we develop the necessary hardware, (processes, structures, and templates to guide communication flows and conversations), we concurrently refine the software (interpersonal skills, habitual thought processes and behaviours conducive to a thriving organizational environment).

Our Values
Our values play a critical role in how we work with our clients:

  • Individual Empowerment: We empower our clients to become independent without relying on us for the same problem.
  • Transparency: We ensure that the right information is in the hands of the right person at the right time, promoting informed decisions within the scope of their influence.
  • Action: We steer clear of lecturing and creating lengthy reports that end up on shelves. Instead, we empower action by encouraging bite-sized steps.
  • Collective Mindset: We refrain from engaging in politics or harbouring hidden agendas. Our success is intertwined with the success of the company.

Our Ongoing Collaboration Support

  • Project Management Model: We designated one primary point of contact for executives and the individual we report to, who will serve as our project manager and client direct report. Additionally, we provide the rest of the client team with resources to reach out confidentially for access to coaching and consulting.
  • System Thinking Design: We focused on identifying the root cause of issues and understanding the relationships between roles, and individuals and their impact on each other. Our specialization lies in recognizing destructive patterns and replacing them with constructive alternatives.
  • Benchmark and Progress Tracking: Utilizing our proprietary advanced technology, we established benchmarks for employee engagement and the current state of resources, systems, and processes across all stages of the employee life cycle (i.e., attraction, recruitment, onboarding, learning and development, recognition, progression, and performance). Progress is consequently tracked throughout the journey to ensure continuous value addition and measurable progress.
  • Executive Check-ins: Conducted regular weekly check-ins with each manager individually. These sessions provided support in scaling their highlights, overcoming challenges, and prioritizing activities that deliver the most value. Each manager was assigned a dedicated consultant with strong coaching skills.
  • Staff Check-ins: A two-way communication channel to check with staff, creating a safe and confidential space where they can access a coach and/or a consultant for proactive support in navigating their daily challenges.

Our Journey

Addressing Urgent Needs

  • Utilizing Coaching and Consulting: Our team immediately engaged with Company EEC's leadership to identify and resolve urgent issues hindering progress across various levels l (partnership, management level and staff level).
  • Data-driven decision-making: We employed our data-driven approach, and we prioritized and addressed critical issues that required immediate attention, such as recruitment, ensuring a solid foundation for future growth.

Building a Strategic Planning Process and Culture

  • We created a process and meeting templates for business partners as well as for managers for entry-level positions to start having constructive strategic conversations.

Building Infrastructure and Teams

  • Partnership Alignment: Created business partnership norms and structures that allow for smooth collaboration
  • Defining Roles and Responsibilities and Organizational Chart: Through comprehensive consulting, we worked collaboratively to define essential roles and responsibilities tailored to Company EEC's unique requirements.
  • Leadership Training: Our leadership training programs equipped key personnel with the skills and knowledge necessary for their roles, fostering a culture of continuous improvement.
  • Growth Management and Salary Matrix: We designed a growth management system that facilitated staff in establishing connections and relationships from their onboarding, fostering transparency and certainty regarding their role's growth trajectory. This system was integrated with a salary matrix that enables pay transparency, ensuring objective and equitable compensation packages.

Gradual Delegation and Empowerment

  • Strategic Role Delegation: We leveraged coaching and counselling and facilitated the gradual transfer of responsibilities to newly trained personnel, ensuring a smooth transition.
  • Continuous Monitoring and Optimization: Our ongoing support included monitoring the performance of the new teams, refining processes, and optimizing the structure for long-term sustainability.

Project Timeline

This project started in 2018, and since then, the client has continuously engaged with us to address emerging challenges and sustain their strengths. We have played a pivotal role in supporting both the business and its individuals in their growth journey. Notably, 92% of our clients are longstanding partners, a testament to the enduring relationships we cultivate with them.


  • Addressed immediate needs such as recruiting for existing roles and mitigating employees' resistance to cooperation and collaboration.
  • Conducted an employee engagement and culture scan, collected data, and established benchmarks.
  • Conducted an audit of the employee life cycle.
  • Identified issues within partnerships.
  • Identified issues within the current team structure.


  • Identified the ideal state of the team, company, and partnerships.
  • Designed an organizational chart aligning with business objectives.
  • Identified the required competencies for roles and responsibilities.
  • Designed a culture that suits the structure and aligns with business objectives.
  • Created a strategic plan to overcome challenges.


  • Taught employees how to work with an agile mindset, encouraging constant reflection on the ideal state and fostering a
  • culture of reflection and readjustment.
  • Started piloting bite-sized changes within the team to understand customization.
  • Strategically began recruiting for identified roles.
  • Established the management and leadership team.
  • Conducted staff training on the designed culture.


  • Developed a growth management plan.
  • Created a salary matrix for pay transparency.
  • Implemented leadership training to ensure leaders are equipped.


  • Conducted executive check-ins with new leaders to ensure they are equipped and working independently.
  • Conducted check-ins with founders to ensure progress and make necessary adjustments.


  • Conducted maintenance work and ensured the organization has been sustainable and is reliant.
  • Supported partnerships in becoming more hands-off, allowing for reduced business hours (supporting early retirement initiatives).

Through a strategic blend of coaching, consulting, leadership training, and the implementation of employee engagement software, our partnership with Company EEC yielded impressive results:

  • Cultural and Structural Redesign: Company EEC successfully shifted its organizational paradigm from their assumed agile and flat structure to a hybrid hierarchical model. This strategic transition ensured an alignment of operational methods and cultural values with their overarching business objectives. Contrary to previous assumptions of a flat organizational structure, the company embraced its identity as a hybrid hierarchical entity. This shift was facilitated by the implementation of tailored structures and resources designed to enhance the organization's specific hybrid framework. Throughout this transformation, a comprehensive integration of robust systems, templates, and processes unfolded, targeting every stage of the employee life cycle. Central to this evolution is the introduction of a comprehensive growth management system, fostering employee development from their initial day to their final day with the company. Moreover, a robust salary matrix was introduced, ensuring fair and objective compensation for all employees.
  • Operational Efficiency: Company EEC witnessed a significant improvement in operational efficiency fostered by a culture where everyone was provided the space and equipped with the skills needed to continually reflect on and refine their processes for enhanced performance.
  • Cohesive Teams: Defined roles, targeted training, and effective communication tools resulted in the formation of highly cohesive and skilled teams.
    Sustainable Growth: Gradual delegation and empowerment paved the way for Company EEC to become a self-reliant entity, positioned for sustained growth in the ever-changing business environment.

This case study exemplifies our commitment to helping small and midsize companies establish strong operational people and culture systems. By leveraging a data-driven approach and combining coaching, consulting, leadership training, and innovative software solutions, we empowered Company EEC to not only overcome immediate challenges but also to thrive in the face of ongoing change. Our comprehensive support ensured that Company EEC could focus on what they do best—innovating and growing in a competitive market.

About the Author: The human brain, behaviour, and interactions with their environment never fail to intrigue Samin Saadat. After spending long hours in psychology labs at UBC and completing her Master's at the Sauder School of Business, she entered the workforce. She observed a gap between what research suggests and what companies do to increase productivity and profitability. Over the last 10 years, Samin has developed expertise in people growth and culture building by working closely with business owners and individuals to develop the right mindset, skills and environment for cultivating a thriving workforce. Also, Samin strongly believes every single individual, regardless of their race, age, status, gender, position, mental health matters and physical conditions, deserves to reach their full potential. They all have something unique to offer. Now, Samin is on a mission to bridge the existing gap in the workforce and support individuals and companies to reach their full potential through Jalapeño Employee Engagement—leveraging technology and psychology to bring research findings to life to help companies save invaluable dollars and to help individuals enhance their quality of life.