The Bayard Partnership was formed on the 9th. of February 2004 when four independent professionals joined forces to form a group practice of Interim Managers, Change Managers, Project Managers and IT Enterprise Architects. By doing so they were able to offer their clients integrated, innovative solutions to the challenges they were facing.
The full story on The Bayard Partnership
The concept of The Bayard Partnership stems from an October evening in 2001, when it’s founder, Harley Lovegrove was driving home from a particularly challenging re-structuring mission. He had a lot on his mind. Earlier in the day, he had prepared a shortlist of names of people he needed to let go. He felt alone. His immediate family were not from the business world and he wished that he had someone, outside his client, he could discuss his assignment with.
Wouldn’t it be better?
As the evening sun set behind the avenue of trees that lined each side of the road Harley was driving down, he reflected on the success he had found in Belgium in the six years that had passed since he arrived there from England. However, he was troubled by the fact that his newly formed interim management company Lovegrove Consulting bvba was not sustainable. ‘What if?’, he pondered, ‘my life were, for whatever reason, to be cut short? What would I leave behind?’
Just then, he was interrupted by a phone call from one of the big five consulting companies of the time, inviting him to attend an interview for an interim management assignment in Brussels.
After insisting that he had more than enough work on his plate and was therefore not interested, he realised just how crazy it was that he was turning away opportunities that one day could prove very useful. ‘Wouldn’t it be better?’ He thought ‘If I gave up Lovegrove Consulting and formed a group partnership instead?’
After all, there must be other people in Belgium who share my passion for interim management and for solving problems? There must be plenty of people like me, who are deeply motivated to deliver results for their clients?’
In the UK, in 2001, the concept of a group practice was an established way of working with all kinds of independent professionals coming together to share their clients, opportunities, administration systems and assets. However, in Belgium the concept was not common at all.
Harley’s idea was to build a group practice where each partner was independent, paid their own taxes, chose their own car, their working hours and type of work. Each would be bound by a common desire to work together; to share their knowledge and experience and to offer their clients high quality, sustainable solutions.
What’s more they would, in time, pass on their experience and knowledge, and even the ownership of the practice to the next generation of professionals.
Effort, loyalty and results
It took Harley three years to turn his first vision into a working business. Inviting potential partners, debating possible structures and setting concrete objectives all took time.
Early on a principle was established that a person’s percentage of ownership should be proportional to the effort, loyalty and results of their work they have done for the partnership. This meant, that unlike some partnership models, young associates and partners needn’t wait a lifetime to become owners and thereby have their say in the partnerships’ running and direction.
A horse called Bayard
One weekend, after several hours of going through the 1992 edition of Brewer’s Concise of Dictionary of Phrase Fable, Harley came across the story of a horse called Bayard.
‘A horse of incredible swiftness, given by Charlemagne to the four sons of Aymon. If only one of the sons mounted, the horse was of ordinary size; but if all four mounted, his body became elongated to the requisite length.’
The Bayard story struck him as perfect because, he wanted the new group partnership to be light and agile so it would not burden its clients by having to pass on the costs of large overheads.
Coincidentally, at this time Harley was talking with three other potential partners. So the fact that the Bayard horse was meant for four people to ride was perfect. He also learned that there was a town in Belgium that claimed the Bayard horse fable for their own. When he discovered that one of his potential partners loved horse riding The Bayard Partnership name was immediately registered. A memorandum of understanding was signed a short while later and a website built.
By 2003, The Partnership was taking shape, it had a full set of principles and an elaborate business plan, all that was needed was to agree the most suitable legal structure under Belgian law. Finally, on Tuesday, February 10, 2004, Lovegrove Consulting bvba (Ltd.) was finally transformed into The Bayard Partnership cvba, (a cooperative business).
100% quality driven
From the first four Partners in 2004, The Bayard Partnership quickly grew, attracting likeminded associates along the way. From the outset, Bayard was one hundred percent quality driven, only recruiting people who were known to be absolute top performers in their field. If a prospect did not match the exact standards set by the founding partners, then they were not admitted into membership. By 2009, The Bayard Partnership’s revenue had reached 5MEUR and in 2016 Bayard UK was formed, shortly after the establishment of The Bayard Holding (into which all the intellectual property and administrative governance was transferred).
A view of the future
Over the years, The Bayard Partnership regularly reviewed it’s operating model, documenting it into a set of ‘Household Rules’ that described in detail how the Partnership and its entities should be run. During 2017 and 2018 The Bayard Partnership went through a period of self-reflection, looking back to its roots and re-aligning itself to its original vision.
The outcome was a stronger, better defined and united group practice with a new sense of purpose. This new view of the future would allow The Partnership to continue to grow and to adapt to the changes happening all around it. In short, to be sure it would successfully continue beyond the years of its original founders.
Today, The Bayard Partnership continues to be a cooperative business that delivers quality solutions to its clients. It returns sustainable income to its collective owners in the form of its Associates, Partners and Managing Partners
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