Carl Saunders is the founder of Vorum Research Corp. (Vorum) – the company that pioneered the hardware and software that help millions of people with their custom prosthetic and orthotic devices. After 25 years in business, Carl revised his self-given title of CEO so his company could reach new heights and begin to scale.
Carl’s decision to look within, both organizationally and personally, was after 25 years of industry-leading operations, when annual revenue eventually plateaued. Within the first four years of working with Shannon Byrne Susko and the Metronome Growth System, Vorum doubled revenue and tripled profits.
In 2015, Carl began looking for a coach or growth system when he recognized his sales team was experiencing a multi-year plateau while being cautiously aware competitors were scaling and catching up.
At the same time, Shannon Byrne Susko was introducing the Metronomics System at various business and leadership summits.
“I think I honestly went to three or four of Shannon’s sessions over a span of 18 months. I was sitting there, absorbing this information and thinking ‘This just makes so much sense. But it also feels so big. Where do I start? How do I start?’’ So, I went out on a limb…”
During a break period of one of Shannon’s growth strategy seminars at ACETECH, Carl introduced himself as the CEO of Vorum. Carl told Shannon, “I just feel like we need to be doing this. But it's bigger than I can get my head around. I really need help. I would really like you to coach Vorum.” Shannon told Carl she’d really like to help him, but unfortunately, she had too much on her plate and couldn’t take on a new client at the time.
Carl, without hesitation slowly knelt down on his knees, clasped his hands together, and said “Shannon, I don't think you understand. I am now begging you to take on Vorum. I'm not getting up until you agree to help us.” And so began Vorum’s relationship with Metronome United. In their very first discovery meeting, Carl remembers being asked by Shannon where he thought his company was going to be in three years.
“I remember looking at Shannon and thinking 'I don't know where the company is going to be three months from now, let alone three years!' What was she talking about?"
Carl described the uncomfortable feeling that came over him as he began forging the 3-Year Highly Achievable Goal (3HAG). Not wanting to make false promises, Carl said this initial step was incredibly difficult for him and his team as he takes his words, promises and commitments extremely seriously.
“It was uncomfortable, but Shannon persisted with me and eventually we began to play along. I finally said “Ok, ok, ok… if we’re $5 million today, in three years we can be at $8 million.”
Once the goal was set, Shannon began to work with Vorum’s leadership and helped Carl evolve their strategy, corporate operations and functions into the Metronomics System. Just as a doctor braces unstable limbs and broken bones, Vorum began to strengthen from the inside out with Shannon’s guidance. As the team onboarded and leaders began to emerge, Carl had an epiphany:
“CEO was what it said on my business card because I was the CEO from 1989, but when I started working with Shannon, I realized very quickly that I hadn't truly been a CEO. I was actually a founder for 25 years and a CEO for only two. I learned this because in the first 25 years of business 99% of the decisions would come through me or my partner. That’s just how we ran the company back then. Then, as I engaged with Shannon and Metronome it was very clear: our structure was absolutely not scalable. The names we give ourselves as business owners can hold us back until we truly understand what they mean.”
In 2015, Vorum’s first 3HAG was to increase their annual revenue from $5 million to $8 million. While revenue was an intended result, Vorum focused on how often patients across the world were fitted using Vorum technology – which at the time was every 90 seconds. Vorum’s BHAG was to one day have their technology used to fit patients every single second. By aligning their 3HAG with the global patient fitting rate, Vorum’s team tapped into a momentum and rhythm that exceeded their $8 million goal in 2018 (within 3 years!) while achieving a patient fitting every 79 seconds. In 2017, Vorum set their 2020 3HAG revenue goal to $10 million and were rewarded with even more success: that goal was surpassed in 2019, a full year ahead of schedule.
“Metronome’s system was so massively enabling and supporting through the pandemic for the organization to survive. A pivot on how we would work differently with clients and implementation was identified through the quarterly planning process as something we had to do. With Metronome’s foundation in place, various team members stepped up and owned different parts of our pivot for different products, which was planned out and visible within the software platform. Everybody could see how we were doing on everything. We knew who was contributing, who got stuck and who needed help.”
Today, Carl is enjoying semiretirement after selling Vorum in November 2020. While Carl may have taken a knee to work with Shannon, business leaders and CEOs today just need to reach out through Metronome United’s website to get started and paired with a coach.
Since 2011, Metronome United has over 80 certified coaches, who specialize in every business sector throughout North America, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland and the UK.
Learn more about Vorum Research Corp.
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