final stretch

What is Final Stretch?

FINAL STRETCH is a leadership development program for startups.

It’s focus area is the 2nd tier of leaders, reporting to the Founder/CEO.

We make 2 claims:

    1. Most program participants will display on-ground change, even as the program is in progress
    2. This change will sustain over the long term.

These are big claims, given that most MDPs fail to achieve objectives.

So, here is a customer testimonial, to back it up:

The not-so-secret sauce?

The program incorporates fundamental principles of helping people change mindset and behaviour:

Hyper-customisation: The program is entirely based on 1-on-1 interactions between a mentor and your core team members (there are no group sessions).

Long-duration & high-touch: Participants speak to a mentor EVERY WEEK FOR 3 MONTHS. This intensity overcomes inertia and provides ample time for change of habits.

Bias for action: The program goes beyond telling people what they must do. It handholds them through making concrete changes in their workplace practices and habits.

Do you see how different this is from the usual weekend MDP?

 

Which leadership capabilities does the program build?

You can get a good idea of that from what our customers say:

My BU Heads have moved towards faster decision making, better communication and more clarity around their roles, says Advait Gupt, Co-Founder & CEO of Kulfi Collective, a digital media startup

I slowly saw my team get more independent. Both speed and quality of decision making of the team has improved, says Jofi Joseph, MD of Promethean Power, a tech startup.

By the end of the program, I saw these changes in my core team:
– More long term orientation to planning
– Committing to deadlines more carefully and then working with sense of urgency“,
says Abhimanyu Bhosale, Co-Founder & CEO of CrelioHealth, a SaaS startup in MedTech space.

How is the program structured?

The program has 3 clear stages, as the illustration below shows.

The bulk of the program builds new habits. The key to building these habits is the Plan-Do-Review cycle.

Week after week, mentor and participant plan together, then experiment with changes, review whether it worked and keep improving.

The mentor meets the participant either at the office premises or online, depending on the need and COVID-related restrictions. Typically, one meeting every week, with additional interactions where needed.

What’s the right stage to avail this program?

The program is best used during your startup’s GROWTH STAGE, either just before or during rapid growth.

At this juncture, the 2nd line of leaders need to step up their game very quickly:

    • Their teams are growing larger. So they must Build and Manage them.
    • Complications are increasing. So, move from ad-hoc to systematic work.
    • There is much to do. So, they must prioritise well
    • They need to zoom-out / delegate & get long term perspective

It’s very difficult for them to learn so many new things, while doing their existing roles. That’s why strong handholding from an experienced mentor is needed. This is where Final Stretch comes in.

Check out this short video to hear how one of our mentors helped BU Heads at Kulfi Collective.

Is it really worth it?

 

 

As the illustration shows, there are several alternatives to such an intense program.

Some will cost less (on a cash basis), but hardly give you any returns. Others are just impossible to sustain continuously.

Final Stretch eliminates non-cash costs like absence from work (productivity loss) and unnecessary effort (out of context learning).

It is a no-frills program, which emphasizes fine-tuning for every individual participant.

One customer who grappled with this question says…

There was no clear way to attribute a value to this entire exercise initially. But coming out of this entire program, I think tremendous value has been added

 

Do Founders also participate in the program?

Only indirectly. Core team members (who directly report to the Founder) are the main participants of the program.

But Founders support the program from outside, in 2 ways:

1. At the start, they specify which capabilities each core team member must develop. This is done via a chat between Founder, Mentor and Participant.

2. Intermittently, they provide additional feedback to the mentor, about the changes they’re observing in the core team; and where tweaks need to be made.

Need to know more?

Simply write to me at shirish@shirishkher.com