Jim Owens, Principal Consultant, Performance Strategies GroupJim Owens, Principal Consultant
“Leadership isn’t always easy. Sometimes it feels like you’re going for a long walk without being sure anyone is following. That’s when you have to ask yourself ‘How can I get better so my team can get better.’ The answer to that question—if you’re willing to change—will make you a more effective leader,” says Jim Owens, principal consultant at Performance Strategies Group (PSG).

For more than three decades, Owens held leadership positions in national, international, and community banks. During that career, he saw how cultures built on trust and strategic thinking differentiates organizational performance. So Owens left his banking career behind to establish Performance Strategies Group to help leaders solve their biggest challenges and seize opportunities, working with clients to improve processes, build more productive teams, and ensure the organization aligns its vision with its tactics.

“We’re a boutique advisory firm providing talent acquisition, development, and retention services and strategic business consulting to help our clients improve their performance. In short, we help leaders become more effective,” says Owens.

A Boutique Advisory Firm

PSG works with businesses across industries including financial services, hospitality, manufacturing, and government sectors, with clients across the country. “Our clients face similar challenges in different environments, says Owens, “but our approach cuts across industry lines.” Owens attributes his banking experience as invaluable in that regard noting his most successful clients as a banker focused on relationships as much as on finances.
  • Everything we do is meant to move people from the theoretical to the actionable, ensuring team members remain connected to their organizations mission and tactics

As a former bank CEO, Owens knows that the leadership teams are busy with tactical execution and often don’t truly have time to think about the strategic aspects of their operation. So PSG act as a “force multiplier” in this regard, helping leaders think strategically, then align and execute tactics with long-term business objectives. Their proprietary guidance process helps clients build a coaching culture instead of a managerial culture. In some cases, PSG also helps clients lower their expenses or build revenue strategies to grow top-line revenue through effective sales processes. The firm also assists organizations with hiring and retaining the right people, using a variety of psychometric tools to ensure people are placed in positions where they can be successful.

“Unlike other advisors,” Owens says, “we tend to have longterm relationships with its clients. Change takes time but “if we sign an agreement and fail to deliver, our clients have the option to pay what they think it was worth, or nothing at all. We think that’s a huge differentiator.”

Creating Trust and Credibility

As the principal consultant, Owens complements his own expertise with a team of expert associate consultants. Based on the belief that culture and strategy define business performance, the PSG team includes associate experts in accounting, education, human resources, and business valuation, and in other fields.

“Our firm is committed to understanding what is unique about our clients so that we can tailor our approach. That helps create trust and credibility,” says Owens. When PSG onboards a new client, they ask “what do you want to be different in your organization,” which uncovers a variety of threats and opportunties. Clients get an opportunity to contemplate their organization’s strengths and weaknesses. Most of the time, clients highlight two points; under-performance of their teams due to the inability to collaborate or align with organizational goals and challenges pertaining to revenue generation and customer acquisition.

Once they have agreed upon the engagement, PSG undertakes a multi-phased approach. The first phase is benchmarking, where it works with clients to establish key performance indicators to ensure they get a measurable return on investments. Those benchmarks can include measures like interdepartmental referrals, productivity, client and donor retention, contact-to-close times, sales activity, and a variety of others. It also evaluates the organization’s policies and procedures to make sure policies, people, and procedures are aligned. Once complete, they move into the solution building phase, which is all about developing appropriate policy and procedure changes, and delivering training. Once PSG proposes and clients want to implement solutions, the firm stays engaged with its clients to ensure their success.

During contractual period, normally 12 to 24 months, PSG remains engaged to ensure organizations are getting measurable financial results from the implemented solutions. The company meets with organizational leadership and their teams to review and update benchmarked key performance measures, offer training refreshers, and coaching to reinforce the importance of the solutions implemented. This comprehensive approach has enabled Owens and his team to create long-term relationships with clients and drive them to success.

We are a boutique advisory firm offering talent acquisition, development, and retention advisory services in the form of consulting and coaching to help clients improve performance. In short, we help leaders become more effective

“Everything we have developed reinforces the notion of integrating daily actions with a clear strategic mission and in the context of the organization’s values,” says Owens.

Providing a Unique Perspective

PSG believes that the success of every project depends on better understanding a client’s challenges. That’s why it always interviews multiple members of the company’s leadership team and never hesitates to ask challenging questions based on the company’s past financial performance. This results in a comprehensive knowledge of the strategies that worked for the client, and the ones that didn’t.

In one instance, a large financial services provider undergoing leadership turnover came to Owens for help. After a going through the assessment phase, PSG determined the business wasn’t scalable since prior leadership did not focus on collaboration or engagement of the executive team. They didn’t have a strategic plan or an organizational chart to get out of the situation. Using a 360-degree assessment tool, PSG helped the new leadership team better understand one another and their staff, then begin work on establishing values, a clear mission, and new organizational structure.

Walking the c-suite through multiple communication, teamwork, and leadership materials and providing one-on-one coaching, PSG has enabled the executive team to improve their communication and collaboration. The engagement was so successful that the client asked PSG to work on their strategic initiatives. It is currently in the middle of a business development project that will help them become more proactive about client acquisition and retention. PSG is also helping them develop a comprehensive strategy for talent acquisition, retention, and development.

“The amount of collaboration we do with clients by understanding their values, their mission, and culture before we start proposing solutions is our biggest differentiator,” says Owens. “Prior to starting the company, I spent 30 years in banking as a sales executive, risk executive, and CEO. So, I’ve been privileged to see a lot of what makes companies successful. I think that gives us a unique perspective.”