When Tanglewood Legacy Advisors engaged Allen Austin for a retained search I expected just that. What we received was so much more.
You have exceeded my expectations over and over again; and continue to. I secretly suspect you may have cloned yourself because whenever I have needed your input or assistance, you have been there. That includes during the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, when our office building was not available for 6-weeks-You generously offered us the availability to use your conference rooms whenever needed. You also introduced my team to your breakthrough concepts of Total Performance Management, which generated immediate results.
You’ve been incredibly generous with your time, your insight, your candor and your passion to help others.
We have been working with Allen Austin for almost ten years. As a result of our 16 years in business as WoodRock & Company, as well as each MD’s experience prior to WoodRock & Company with other management recruiting firms, we feel that we have a broad perspective and experience from which we can recommend Allen Austin to any company, in practically any situation. We have recommended them to investment banking clients as well as hired them ourselves for our merchant banking projects. Their approach is different than the big three or four firms, and they deliver a much more hands-on experience led by senior executives. Interestingly, their approach is much like what we explain to our clients: that they are a small, professional services firm with world-level expertise, delivered in a personal manner, by an industry expert. We don’t make referrals of three management recruiting firms: rather, we make a single recommendation when the opportunity arises. More importantly, we recommend meeting Rob Andrews often before the need becomes clear to the others in the room.
I have had the opportunity to engage with a number of different recruiting firms over my career and have to say that I thought the experience with Allen Austin was exceptional. They did a fantastic job of keeping me informed throughout the process by providing timely and insightful feedback. The team at Allen Austin also did a great job of helping me through the transition period, to ensure that a fantastic opportunity became an extraordinary reality. The Allen Austin leadership consulting team has helped our firm complete a comprehensive strategic planning process that included the entire senior leadership of the company. They helped us navigate the process each step of the way which resulted in the company developing an exceptionally focused plan that we are excited to execute. Allen Austin played in important role in helping us reach our potential.
We initially engaged Tom Fritsch (Allen Austin) to work with the Global Drilling and Completions organization in Hess Corporation. We wanted to elevate the performance of the organization and the quality of its primary product – oil and gas wells delivered around the world in land, offshore and Deepwater offshore locations. Wells represent the largest capital spend in Hess and are critical to the company’s success. They are the conduit to produce the oil and gas that are the lifeblood of the company.
The work often represents the most challenging part of the business given the safety and environmental risks, especially if the work is not planned and executed well. In 2009, Hess was in the 3rd quartile of industry drilling and completion performance before the beginning of our Well Delivery Excellence (WDX) program. Tom was instrumental in helping us build a strong vision of where we needed to be and a viable strategy to get there. It started with my leadership team and with me. If I did not demonstrate the values and behaviors needed to achieve our vision, we were doomed from the start.
Tom was instrumental in providing one on one leadership coaching starting with me and extending to my leadership team. He used quite of bit of inquiry to help us find who we needed and wanted to be as leaders – he did not “give us the answers in the back of the book”. The ability to be a great leader was within each of us and Tom helped bring that out in each of us. He worked with us on our leadership team dynamic – how we could become not just high-performing leaders but a high-performance leadership team. We brought this strong leadership to the rest of the drilling and completions organization as well as to our internal customers in Hess and our contractor companies. We touched every part of the organization, including and especially our field supervisors. They very much appreciated being a key part of our overall transformation and providing their valuable insight and experience to help shape our vision and journey planning. In the end we elevated the company’s drilling and completions performance to the top quartile in each part of our business – land, offshore, and Deepwater, and we maintained that high performance year after year. For example, in a critical Deepwater drilling project in Ghana we delivered the best 7 Deepwater wells ever drilled in West Africa at the time.
Tom was not just a consultant; he was a member of our team. I very much appreciate the impact Tom had a me as a leader, and the impact he had on our performance for Hess. I very much support Tom for anyone looking to elevate their performance and to make sustainable, positive change in their organization. Tom has a calm demeanor, but he has a fire inside to help others improve. He is a great listener and seeks to understand before jumping to conclusions. He showed the ability to work one on one with leaders at all levels and work with teams at all levels. He has extensive knowledge and experience of working with organizations to improve their performance and to keep it at an elevated level. I was very happy to have Tom part of the team and the impact he had on me continued well beyond my time leading the Wells organization.
Allen Austin is pound-for-pound the best executive search firm that I dealt with over a 40 year career — no contest. In general, the executive search business has become a cookie-cutter industry, sort of a Match.com for clients and candidates. Maybe that works for some clients, but it does not serve the client well, and quite often results in mediocre placements and multiple do-overs. Allen Austin takes the extra time, and puts in the extra effort, to UNDERSTAND the client and, more importantly, the client’s culture. Yes, “The Process” is a pain up front, but it virtually ensures a one-time, long-term successful candidate placement. The two-year placement guarantee (for hi-comp candidates) should say it all. AA’s track record is outstanding and (in my experience) is unique in the ES industry, particularly when compared to the bigger firms in the business.
I had the opportunity to partner with Allen Austin to assist my organization at Frank’s International in transitioning from a family owned, private company to a public one. Our initial challenge was to assemble the global leadership team and develop our first ever strategic plan. Over the course of a few days, Allen Austin developed an outcome-based agenda and facilitated discussions that eventually lead to the formulation of a successful plan. Tom Fritsch, President of Allen Austin encouraged participants to contribute and he challenged conventional wisdom when exploring future possibilities. You can imagine how challenging it was for an enterprise that essentially had been conducting business the same way over its 75-year history. Of particular note, with the ever increasing role that technology is playing in the energy space, our new plan needed not only to result in our winning in the marketplace in the near term, we also needed to build a plan that intersected the oilfield of the future and allowed us to win longer term. As a final product, our strategic plan including a new vision, mission and measurable objectives that set the company up to be successful in a very dynamic, cyclical and changing business environment. I was extremely pleased with the quality of the contributions from the Allen Austin team and feel the partnership we shared with them during this effort was an unmitigated success.
Most service providers offer a menu of product solutions and the feeling is much like buying a major appliance, which may or may not satisfy. The Allen Austin experience is an enjoyable, interactive, educational and lasting relationship with a partner who helps identify and solve the right problems. You’ll do a little more work on the front end but the results will be phenomenal. Allen Austin could very well be the next great global firm. Engaging an Allen Austin partner in a half day needs assessment could be your fastest route to dramatically improved top and bottom line performance.
Allen Austin uses one of the most exhaustive and thorough screening processes I have ever seen in many years of working with executive recruiting firms as an executive consultant and senior human resources professional. My guess is that only the FBI and NSA delve deeper. If a candidate is not willing to undergo this process, they “do not get to play.” This eliminates the non-serious window shoppers from the start. The consistent result is a group of very high quality candidates from which to choose. Our partnership with him contributed to outstanding outcomes and extremely high client satisfaction.