Case Studies



When we approached Orbit we were looking for help with strategy and collaboration across an experienced but widespread team. However, we actually got way more than we bargained for. Orbit showed us that strategy alone is one-dimensional. They took the time, did their homework, studied the Microlease business and delivered a model that embraces our strategy, our people and our culture. They listened. Without Orbit we wouldn’t have got there.

- Peter Collingwood, CEO Europe, Microlease

The Client

Electro Rent, a portfolio company of Platinum Equity, finalised its acquisition of Microlease, leading global ‘test equipment management’ specialists early in 2017. Microlease provides solutions combining test equipment, applications advice, asset management, financing, with innovative trade-in and disposal options, to organisations across 150 countries in industries such as aerospace, automotive and electronics. Founded in 1979, from London headquarters, the business has grown to be recognised one of the leaders in its field. Now with 370 specialists serving customers from offices across Europe, the US and Asia, Microlease is a regular winner of the Frost & Sullivan Global Company of the Year Award in Test and Measurement Rental and Leasing Services.  

The Supplier

Orbit Business Development Limited is a leading business change consultancy with particular expertise delivering strategic alignment and leadership programmes for organisations in the IT and Financial Services Sectors.   Orbit also has a first-class reputation for working with businesses to address sales productivity and brand/culture realisation.

The Brief

Over recent years Microlease has seen rapid growth, both organic and through acquisition, and with a strong US investor behind it the company forges ahead with ambitious goals for further growth into the future. The organisation’s 11-strong leadership team is the product of two merged companies and Peter Collingwood Microlease’s CEO for Europe saw that bringing their best people together to lead the business would require some development in terms of strategic thinking and team bonding, to equip the business to rise to its goals and respond to any challenges it may meet along the way.

Peter Collingwood, CEO Europe, for Microlease said, “The team was a group of individual leaders who were very strong in terms of tactical management but they had their heads down achieving ‘current’ objectives.  I wanted the team to lift their heads, look to the horizon, measure the right things and come forward with the innovation needed to deliver sustainable growth.

“What I was really looking for was a people development partner who had done it before, i.e. operated at executive level with a good track record of success. Orbit came highly recommended by someone I know well and trust greatly.  We met up and I quickly discovered they are great listeners. Rather than pushing programmes they’d already delivered to other companies in my face, they took the time and put in the effort to understand what THIS business is all about. They took the trouble to work out what it was WE actually needed.  They challenged me. They challenged all of us. They asked  - have you thought about this..., you could do it that way but have you considered...?”

Peter Spillman, Global Inventory & Procurement Director, for Microlease said, “With a good few decades in business under my belt, as you might imagine I have taken part in many development programmes of this nature, over the years. This resulted in me being quite sceptical when I was invited by Peter Collingwood to be involved with this particular programme quite early on and I immediately put my analytical hat on. I looked at Orbit’s track record and sent quite a long and challenging list of questions. Their skill and flexibility very quickly became apparent and I was satisfied this wasn’t going to be a cut and paste job.”

The Solution

Orbit delivered a nine-step model which mapped out a practical journey for strategic thinking, underpinned by a structured 360 degree feedback process and leadership profiles to establish a deep understanding of strategic roles and contributions. It involved a number of workshops and team events with work set in between. It was reinforced with one-to- one coaching and mentoring, to tackle individual challenges whilst maintaining momentum, with regular reviews with a specially appointed project steering team.

Peter Collingwood, CEO Europe, for Microlease said, “Orbit delivered a complete tool-kit for strategic thinking. They also delivered individual insight on personal performance in the form of one-to-one coaching. Orbit carried out a 360 analysis on each individual across the entire leadership team and what I expected from Orbit was a great level of helpful feedback. However, again totally exceeding my expectations, what I didn’t expect was the level of insightful commentary and coaching that they gave everybody. What you normally get from this kind of thing is the dozen or so inputs, the ratings and the report. But the extra dimension, personalising that feedback for all those involved within the coaching is what sets Orbit apart for me.”

Microlease's Top 5

We asked the Microlease team to list their top 5 benefits as a direct result of the Orbit Strategic Thinking Programme: 

“Orbit did an exceptional job, not only did they show they are absolute experts when it comes to strategy, but they are a pleasure to work with. They were constructive, inclusive and supportive throughout. I cannot think of anyone who they did not positively include and encourage in the sessions, and this has led to vastly improved collaboration across our teams. I think Orbit’s ability to facilitate this kind of change is a true differentiator.”
George Acris, Director of Marketing – Europe, Microlease

“We now have a far more comprehensive, global strategy that we are using to move the business forward, which of course was the main objective of the exercise.  But on our own we would not have achieved the richness we achieved with Orbit. I expected to be taken from A-B by Orbit. What they did however, was take us off at all kinds of tangents to C-D –E and then F, and by doing so they delivered value that far exceeded my most extreme expectations. It’s an exceptional skill.”
Peter Spillman, Director, Microlease

“Orbit’s skill at challenging leaders should not go unmentioned. They were able to not only emphasise to all the importance of having a clear strategy, but they skilfully pulled that strategy out of us in a way that really stretched our thinking to the extreme.
Peter Colllingwood, CEO Europe, Microlease

“Orbit have provided powerful tools that have enabled us to come together as a team and create a strategy we believe in that excites and connects us as a team. They’ve done a fantastic job.”
Steph Colman, Director of IT & Customer Experience, Microlease

 “Orbit facilitated the generation of our own strategic thinking model, “The Tree”, which is fast becoming a symbolic tool we now use globally within Microlease to communicate the way we are heading and what the business will look like in 3 years’ time, 6 years’ time and so on. To have something like this embraced on a global scale has been incredibly powerful for the business.”
Peter Colllingwood, CEO Europe, Microlease

“I feel I am now working in sync with the strategic plan every day. I am pushing back things that don't fit, despite the environment becoming even more challenging than pre-programme. I am still safeguarding thinking time, delegating more, pushing back on areas that I do not believe warrant as high a priority as others.”
George Acris, Director of Marketing – Europe, Microlease
“As part of this plan we have had a lot of help in terms of material work individually and this has accelerated personal development for each person. Now people have clear insights into their own strengths and weaknesses there is much more willingness to seek help and also provide support for each other. The group has an identity in its own right. This has been so tangibly beneficial, I want to see a plan going forward for us to continue this work, topping up regularly with one day sessions.
Peter Spillman, Director, Microlease

“The three-dimensional aspect of this programme is what has impressed me most, in particular the way Orbit has used it to help us achieve engagement. I have been calling it the ‘holy trinity’ which is 1) strategy 2) people 3) culture. Orbit demonstrated to us how ‘strategy’ in isolation is one-dimensional but that how a model that embraces people and culture has far more chance of success. Without Orbit we would have left out people and culture out for sure. As a result of the ‘holy trinity’ we have had amazing engagement. Orbit’s concept of the ‘volunteer army’ has been great at all levels. Highly motivational.”
Peter Colllingwood, CEO Europe, Microlease

“One of the negative misconceptions I came along to the programme with initially was – yes this is all very interesting but go back to your day jobs and the one million pending email messages and all our good intentions will end up in a big black hole. But people immediately started doing things differently as soon as they got back and this has continued. Orbit managed the top-down, bottom-up approach marrying up the strong opinions of feisty directors, the private equity house with the grass roots and managed to get a huge number of developmental issues onto the table and processed with great clarity. I am very pleased to have been proven wrong.”
Peter Spillman, Director, Microlease

The Final Word

A great part of the success of this programme has been down to the Orbit facilitators’ ability to listen and for that reason they come to you super-prepared. That in my opinion is a real skill that you don’t see too often.  For any business considering a partnership with Orbit for the delivery of strategic thinking programmes, I would say do it. Zero in on the biggest issues and challenges you’re facing as a business and talk to the Orbit team about them. Leave all pre-conceived ideas behind and have a deep discussion. You will find it highly engaging, they will deliver the max in terms of benefits and you will have lots of fun along the way.
Peter Collingwood, CEO Europe, Microlease

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