Case Studies

Barbeques Galore: Angus McDonald

Having been in the market for more than four decades, Barbeques Galore needed to transform to remain relevant and continue to be at the forefront of its sector when retail executive Angus McDonald was appointed the CEO in 2019.

McDonald’s appointment followed a successful career in retail with several executive positions within Super Retail Group over a 10-year period, as part of a retail career spanning more than 20 years.

He was appointed to lead Australia’s largest specialty retailer of grills and smokers, accessories, outdoor furniture and heating. The company includes 87 company owned and franchise stores.

His first role in the top job was to transform the much-loved brand to retain its relevance, keep it at the top and ensure it was engaging for its loyal and future customers.

While the company had a celebrated history, legacy and team of experts, it hadn’t significantly changed its offering in many years. Within a short period of starting as the CEO, Angus facilitated and led a number of key changes, such as:

  • updating the store experience to incorporate a more ‘user-friendly’ layout
  • creating a greater customer focused representation as expected in modern stores
  • programs to attract new customers
  • stronger e-commerce platforms
  • resetting the brand framework
  • refreshing the product offerings
  • optimising the store network with a number of stores relocated, closed and opened.

The changes were received well and quickly reasserted Barbeque Galore’s position as a leader in its retail category in Australia.

Once the transformational stage had been implemented, Angus saw an opportunity to continue and improve the company’s strategic vision.

To achieve this, Angus quickly realised he needed to invest in the team’s professional development to ensure the team was well placed to continue to provide superior service for its valued and loyal customer base.

This extended to his own development as an effective leader. To do this, Angus partnered with the team at Executive Performance Partners.

Watch Angus’ full interview here: Barbeques Galore: Angus McDonald

Our Scorecard for Success

At the end of 2020, Angus reflected on his leadership style and determined he needed further support in becoming a more effective leader for the organisation.

He felt he had laid the foundation for the company to facilitate accelerated growth and now he needed to switch his leadership style to help the organisation maintain and build on this.

He engaged the team at Executive Performance Partners in February 2021 and together they set clear objectives for his Scorecard for Success. This included:

  • Arm Angus with the right tools to become a more effective leader to drive the organisation for the next two years – a leader the company needs at this stage of their growth period.
  • Work with Executive Performance Partners to ensure he was providing the right support for the team during this period of change and growth.
  • Develop stronger communication techniques and tools to help his leadership team, with the goal being that the methods would filter down through the company.
  • The first 12-18 months as CEO required a lot of heavy lifting, now it was time for Angus to switch gears and focus on the next stage of the company strategy.
  • Provide ongoing support to develop and maintain a results-driven focus and increase commercial performance across the business.
  • And ultimately, shift the company from good to great, and even greater, through smart processes.

Angus meets with his executive coach from Executive Performance Partners weekly. In each meeting they look at the strategic plan and weekly business operations.

By applying a dual viewpoint, Angus has noted a significant change in his leadership style and one that quickly filtered down to his team.

Within one month, Angus says he saw a shift in the way he engaged with his team and the results that fed off that change.

He also saw instant value in having a coach he could treat as a sounding board, bounce ideas off, and have an opportunity to reflect on matters.

Angus also shares that:

“I had worked with David at my previous role, where he had implemented a leadership development program. I’ve always enjoyed his style and approach.

At the beginning, David really took the time to learn and understand the business and the strategy we had implemented. He got where we were going very quickly.

He is very intuitive and understands the dynamics that are connected to a retail business. Retail is very unique to other industries and has a stronger pattern of change. Retail is broken into 52 one-week sprints. Each week matters and if you don’t have someone who gets that, then it won’t work.

This requires a coach who is quick to adapt and gets the speed with which we need to work. I really appreciate that he gets that and moves at that speed as well. He really integrates into your world and aligns with your success and goals.

He is really thoughtful and is always bringing new ideas and techniques that I can implement and translate to my team.

The demonstration of value in this partnership was almost immediate for me. I’m proud of the work we’re doing together.

I’ve worked with a number of executive coaches over time, and they all had their value, however David’s style and approach really connects with me.

For me, it’s less about applying theory and more about practical techniques and drawing on his background in HR, organisational psychology and behavioural science.

I find that perspective refreshing, and it really aligns with what I need to continue to become an effective leader.

He has a very practical approach, which means you can achieve immediate results.”

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