By Jerri Stroud, BBB Editor
Mosby Building Arts is at a turning point. CEO Scott Mosby has been leading the firm, founded by Samuel J. Mosby in 1947, for many years, but he and his wife, Judy, have been planning for the next phase of Mosby’s leadership.
Mosby, a 2015 TORCH Award winner, said planning for the transition began in 2003. It zeroed in on Mark McClanahan in 2009 when Mosby’s wife, Judy, met McClanahan for lunch and talked to him about business, leadership philosophy, management and their favorite business books. When she came back, Mosby recalled, she told him that McClanahan “might be the one.”
“Mark seemed very much in synch with our beliefs, client service practices and business plans,” Mosby said. “And Judy had sensed a zest in Mark that he wanted to make a positive difference in a great company.”
McClanahan, who had been in the music industry, started working for Mosby as a part-time marketing manager in 2010, with the understanding that he could become full-time if things went well. He started attending management meetings, and eventually was put on a track to become president, which happened in May.
Mosby has cut his hours, but he remains active in guiding the company’s direction and future plans. The company’s mission remains “to make a positive difference in people’s lives every day and to deliver exceptional solutions that build lasting value.”
“I will continue to serve our clients because I love to be connected to the projects,” he said. “I intend to remain active and involved but spend less time at work.”
McClanahan said the company is “trying to create a high-performance organization with professional management. We’ve made major changes in how we provide customer service.”
Tracy Crider, client relations director since 2011, calls clients weekly to make sure the firm is living up to its promises. Every employee goes through customer service training that emphasizes delivering great service not only to external customers, but to fellow employees, suppliers and subcontractors.
The training covers phone and email etiquette, staying in touch with customers throughout a project and ways to “wow” the customer by going beyond their expectations, McClanahan said. Customers are surveyed twice – once just after they accept a proposal and again at the end of a project.
Mosby also has developed its own customer relationship management (CRM) software, which tracks all interactions with a customer. The software also tracks purchase orders, client documents and photos taken during the course of a project.
Every employee in the field has an iPhone with an app that they use to type notes into the CRM program in real time. A carpenter who runs into a problem can take a picture and upload it using the app. The project manager can look at the picture and diagnose the issue right away.
“It’s been a huge improvement in communication,” McClanahan said. Reports from the software show what stage each project is in, work schedules, closing rates and client concerns. If McClanahan sees that there’s a problem with a project, he can reach out personally to see what Mosby can do to allay the customer’s concerns.
McClanahan said the management changes are paying off. When he joined the company in 2010, sales were about $8 million, and the company had between 50 and 60 employees. Sales for this year are projected to hit $15 million, and Mosby has grown to 89 employees.
Mosby summarizes its core values with the acronym ICART: I for integrity, C for commitment to excellence, A for accountability, R for respect and T for teamwork. Employees are encouraged to nominate another employee for an award when they see someone living out the values.
The reward is a stuffed polar bear with a T-shirt emblazoned with ICART. Recipients keep the bear for 30 days and have their picture taken with the bear. The pictures are displayed on the wall along with the date, the person’s name and how their actions embodied a core value.
Mosby recently kicked off an employee certification program that will train every employee in the core values, history and other aspects of Mosby culture. Every employee must complete the program by the end of the year. New employees will have to pass it within 90 days of being hired.
Earlier this year, Mosby began a series of hour-long leadership workshops conducted every two weeks, which are open to any employee. Topics include managing basics, coaching, delegation and feedback. Another series will begin soon. About 20 to 25 employees have attended the sessions so far.
“If you want to be a supervisor or manager, this is what you should learn about,” said McClanahan.
Mosby was chosen as one of the “Best Places to Work” this year by the St. Louis Business Journal, and it has won awards from the Home Builders Association. The company has been active in Rebuilding Together in St. Louis and it recently participated in a Rockwood Schools career day.
Once a month, McClanahan invites three employees to have breakfast with him – part of an effort to improve employee engagement and satisfaction. Two years ago, a survey showed that 82 percent of employees felt engaged and satisfied, but Mosby wanted to improve on that. The rate improved to 91 percent in the most recent survey.
“My job at Mosby is to try to make everyone successful and inspire them,” McClanahan said.
“I think all of our plans are evolving nicely and this transition has been the low key change of responsibilities that we all hoped would occur,” Mosby said.
Profiles of BBB Accredited Businesses and BBB Accredited Charities are created as part of BBB’s TORCH Award process and are not intended as an endorsement. To register for this year’s TORCH Awards luncheon on Nov. 13, go to http://www.bbb.org/stlouis/events.