CM High

Client Profile

Clair High purchased the electrical portion of the business from his employer in 1977. Ten years later, he incorporated it to become C.M.High, Inc. It began in residential and agricultural markets and has since expanded to commercial and industrial markets, including the traffic signal market. In 2003, the company designed and built its first distribution warehouse. Since then, it has a strong presence in the warehouse distribution market as well as having expanded to gas and energy projects and to the food processing industry.

The company focuses on exceptional customer service. If there’s anything that sets apart the company, C.M.High would say it’s their people and their commitment to the company’s Mission and Values.

 

The Challenge

This client was referred to us by their accountant. They needed to transition leadership to the second generation, from Clair to those interested of his five sons. The group knew transition was needed, but they were only asking one question: Who is going to be Clair’s successor, the next president? They needed a transition process that had a much broader focus.

 

Our Approach

North Group did an organizational assessment to understand the leadership and cultural dynamics of the business and to provide a picture of those dynamics to the company.

We provided individual coaching to each of the brothers to identify their leadership styles, develop self-awareness and define and clarify roles. We helped the High family bring more intentionality to their family meetings, and we facilitated owner meetings (with Clair and his sons).

We helped them develop family business principles in a document called their Family Policy Manual. This defined how they would select a new president. This “handbook” also included rules governing board responsibilities, how to enter the company, stock ownership, etc.

 

Results

North Group appreciated the high degree of trust the client placed in us and how open to guidance they were. To his credit, Clair did a great job as outgoing president in relinquishing his responsibilities with grace and finding new endeavors to focus his time and energy.

Our work together is ongoing. There is clear understanding that they are moving from an entrepreneurial-led company to a team-led company. Gerald High was recently named the new president; however, it’s not so much about who is president, as about a commitment on the part of each team member to fulfill their role as a team member.