Accelus Results

Case Studies

These case studies will give you a better idea of how Accelus can partner with your company.

Accelus Client Success Story: Meador Staffing

Finding Strength in those who Find Opportunities for Others

– United team members and oriented them toward a shared goal and purpose
– Cultivated personal and company­wide identity of strengths
– Established roles where each team member could excel and enjoy.
“Strengths add purpose and meaning to an organization”
Meador Staffing is a staffing agency that finds the right candidates for temporary, contract, and
permanent work with a reputation for providing excellent service to employers and candidates
alike. The firm was established by two former human resources professionals in the
petrochemical industry in December 1968 and continues to thrive today.

With such a legacy of service, the most daunting challenge Meador faced was overcoming its
employees’ age ­based misconceptions of each other. Half of the company are over 45 ­the
baby boomers­ while the other half are under 30 ­the millennials. The boomers had laid the
groundwork for the company before the age of the internet and had a traditional work ethic.
Their perception was that millennials in the company were unappreciative of the hard work the
boomers had initially put in so the millennials could work at a successful company. On the other
hand, the millennials felt that their hard work was underappreciated because senior employees
did not account for the fact that the millennials were putting in extra efforts mobily.

Meador Staffing requested Accelus’ services to foster unity and a new found understanding
between staff members.

“If you want to grow your company in a successful way, it starts with people and
understanding them and having them understand each other.”
Accelus had a plan to bring coworkers and management to a level where they could see eye to
eye through Accelus Organizational StrengthsCoaching™. Instead of allowing people to build
walls between each other based on arbitrary attributes, StrengthsCoaching™ allows people to
build bridges based on what they have in common and learn how they can work together in a
meaningful way.

First, Accelus met with leadership in the company to understand their short and long term goals,
what obstacles lie in the way of those goals, and how team members interact and collaborate.
To determine what unique insights and skills they bring to the table, a 45 minute
StrengthsFinder® assessment was completed by employees in all 6 divisions of the company.
The next step was to have team members communicate their strengths with each other.
Barbara, Accelus’ lead StrengthsCoach™, guided teams through exercises like “Love, Crazy,
Envy” where members openly talked about the strengths they loved the most, the strengths that
drove them crazy, and the strengths that they admired in others.

Games and exercises allowed team members at Meador Staffing to discover the drives and
dreams they shared; they saw that their shared strengths such as Responsibility®, Achiever ®,
and Belief ® were more important and central to their professional relationships and happiness
than their age. Accelus then provided one­-on-­one coaching with members of leadership so they
could use the information provided by an individual’s strengths to keep everyone excited about
their work and keep them on track for continued growth and development.

Accelus used the StrengthsFinder® Assessment to show the group that what united them was
not age, but unique, individual viewpoints and skills that coalesce into effective, and productive

“Strengths gave us an identity: we’re problem solvers. We have a purpose and a mission
and we have to get this done.”
The difference in performance and understanding at Meador was palpable. Each new project
could be assigned to employees with the strengths needed to complete it. Employees felt their
ideas and individual strengths were respected, and it showed in their work.

This new change was not only a breath of fresh air for the company but also demonstrated its
value in the face of a direct business challenge in spring of the following year. In March of 2016,
Meador experienced a major computer crash, losing all of its data from 2015­ – 2016. This would
leave many without a paycheck unless the situation was handled quickly and efficiently.

Fortunately, Meador team members were able to find the right strengths for the monumental
task of piecing their data back together. Over the course of an entire weekend, those with the
strengths of responsibility, achievement, and significance were able to get the information
needed together to pay employees on time. Whereas previously such a challenge might have
hamstrung the company for a much longer period of time, employees were able to put their new
skills and understanding into action to overcome this challenge and keep Meador on track.

Accelus StrengthsCoaching™ brings results in the short term, and success in the long term.


Accelus Client Success Story: The Advisor’s Resource

Uncovering employees’ strengths so they could Discover their company’s potential

  • Guided company in goal-setting process to finish around 80 disclosure documents over 5 months
  • Identified founder’s and her employees’ strengths, so the company could use its people more effectively

Approximately 80 disclosure documents on deadline
When Congress passed the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act in 2010, it brought on a new challenge for The Advisor’s Resource, Linda Shirkey’s customized compliance company for hedge funds, private equity firms, and investment managers. It was October, and she and her team of three had until the end of March to rewrite around 80 disclosure documents that would update the entire regulatory disclosure for each of their clients.

The team had to draft each document, send it to each client for review, and then edit based on their comments. Linda, who was in charge of the project, wanted to be confident so that her team could be confident. However, she was nervous and did not want her team to know that she felt that way. So, she turned to her friend and executive coach Barbara Stewart for help.

Interim Goals and Visualizing Progress
“Barbara knew I needed to talk things through, and she helped me set a schedule and held me accountable to it; Barbara structured it in a way that I didn’t feel like I was beating up my team, because we were working horrendous hours,” Linda said.

In addition, Barbara helped Linda develop a project spreadsheet that showed the Advisor’s Resource team where they were on completing each of their clients’ disclosure agreements as well as the client feedback.  This spreadsheet allowed Linda to easily track her team’s progress, ensure they were hitting their goals, and see that each disclosure document matched her client’s expectations.

A stronger sense of control
The interim goals Barbara helped Linda set gave her a greater sense of control over the project. That, coupled with the progress documented on the spreadsheet, led the team to not only finish all of the disclosure documents, but to finish them on time and provide her clients with quality work.

To this day, Linda considers the disclosure document re-write a project that helped her grow as a leader.

A team pulling in different directions
The Advisor’s Resource had more than documents to sort out next. While Linda felt like that particular project had made her team stronger and closer, by the spring of 2014 she felt her team was not working together as effectively as they could be. She thought she was “pushing a string” with her employees, and did not know “how to give them incentives.”

“It just didn’t feel like it was running smoothly,” Linda said. “It didn’t feel like we were doing the best we could for our clients and pulling together as a team, and I didn’t know how to get us to pull together as a team. I felt like I was wielding a whip, and pulling the wagon, and I think we all felt like we were pulling the wagon in different directions.”

A different kind of personality test
To further unite The Advisor’s Resource team, Barbara introduced them to the CliftonStrengths assessment.

The assessment, which maps out a person’s top five strengths across a board of 34 strengths, showed Linda how to focus on the positive, and how to talk to her employees about their skills and behavior in a neutral language.

Finding new potential in old employees
Immediately, Linda saw that her team had strengths she did not. While Linda is strong on the strategic side, none of her top ten skills are on the execution side, the assessment revealed.

“That’s where my team is strong, and that was happenstance. I like to think it was brilliance, but I ended up hiring people that supplement my strengths in a way that makes us better as a whole,” Linda said.

However, the assessment revealed even more. For instance, one of her employees is a former proofreader and editor. The test uncovered that she has Woo™- the ability to easily win over others- in her top five strengths. Before taking the assessment she had been stuck working on manuals behind a computer screen. After learning her top five results, Linda arranged for the employee to market the company’s off site training program to clients, in addition to manual writing.

Giving that employee a new, hybrid role that had her interacting with people led to more business from existing clients.

“Once she understood the training programs – and understood what we were doing with them – she was comfortable pitching them, and she’s increased some of our relationships by 20% or more,” Linda explained.

The assessment also changed the way The Advisor’s Resource delegates tasks to its employees for each client. Whereas before, the company would have a point person handling everything for a particular client, now it divides up tasks. There is still a point person, but someone handles the registration process, another team member writes the manuals, and so on.

“We’ve shifted who does what across the board, both for job satisfaction and for effectiveness,” Linda explained.

Now, Linda has a team where each member understands her strengths. And because the Advisor’s Resource organizes how they tackle tasks based on their team’s strengths they have a focus and direction that allows them to grow their relationship with current clients, and effectively onboard new ones.

Linda still meets with Barbara once a month for personal coaching sessions, and even uses her StrengthsFinderⓇ service so The Advisor’s Resource and their long-term contractors get the most from their experience together.

“I think it’s helpful to anybody,” Linda said about the CliftonStrengths® assessment. “And it’s very helpful to me as the team leader. I want us all using the same language.”

If you want your company to grow stronger, and aim to better understand your team and clients, give Barbara a call now at 713-623-2808 or email her at

Accelus Client Success Story: RISK Inc.

Discovering a Framework for Communicating Effectively

Accelus Partners was hired to facilitate a ½ day workshop on Communicating with Style at the company’s three-day retreat.

For RISK, the quality of work produced and client satisfaction depends on team members’ effectiveness in facilitating lengthy (up to two weeks) planning sessions to develop safety procedures. These sessions involve participants from all areas of a client company including executive leadership, management, engineers, safety managers and operators. Not only does this involve differing opinions on how to effectively manage safety and plan responses to emergencies, it involves hierarchy, education and experience levels, company politics and interpersonal relationships. RISK needed training for its facilitators to master the most basic yet challenging obstacle, effective communication.

Adding to the complexity of helping the team develop communication skills is the fact that all employees of RISK work remotely, scattered across the United States and globally. With fewer opportunities to encounter each other on a daily basis, knowledge and best practice sharing around communication was limited. In fact, communication within the organization was somewhat of a challenge with multiple time zones and employees involved in week-long facilitations. Coming together for the company retreat in The Woodlands, Texas would mean that many RISK employees were meeting face-to-face for the first time.

Beginning with a strategy session with RISK founder Rene´ Murata and key employees Janet Benaquisto and Randal Murata, Accelus helped leadership identify the outcomes they desired from the workshop. RISK facilitators needed to be able to:

  • Anticipate communication collisions within the groups they facilitate
  • Read people and situations
  • Develop “presence” to effectively manage the room and the facilitation
  • Maintain and develop the relationship with the client, a key value of RISK

With different styles already present within the facilitators, Barbara Stewart, workshop leader, requested to interview several of the RISK facilitators to hear first-hand the challenges they encountered in facilitation. This would ensure that insight from all areas of the organization were considered.

Accelus provided a communication styles assessment to each RISK employee prior to the retreat. This assessment introduced the framework for communication styles in advance, familiarizing the RISK team with the concepts and language they would experience in the workshop.

The retreat kicked off with an exercise designed to demonstrate the various styles of communication and the confusion or clarity that can be produced. The discussion that followed provided RISK team members with the opportunity to share their observations, get feedback and get to know each other better. It was an engaging start to the ½ day workshop.

The workshop was supplemented by a 1½ hour virtual follow-up session led by Accelus ten weeks later. This structure provided team members the opportunity to use their newly acquired insight and skills in client facilitations and company communications. During virtual follow-up session, questions and challenges were presented and discussed, and best practices shared among all of the participants.

The communication assessment and its results had a few of the RISK team members resisting the idea of being “characterized” by a specific descriptor of their communication style. Even after the workshop, with greater clarity around the communication styles framework and the ability to move between the descriptors, several participants still bristled at the characterizations. However, what RISK team members shared in the virtual follow-up session was an appreciation for the simplicity of the style characterizations. The framework worked!

Rather than being confused or put-off by another’s communication style, the facilitators for RISK now use the style framework to explore the communication style of the other party. They adjust their own style of communication when needed and gauge the response of the other party. Adaptability is now an option and it does not mean giving up control of the room or the facilitation. Communication collisions are now foreseeable and avoidable.

For new or returning clients for RISK, consideration is given to the client team make-up and identifying the “best fit” facilitator not only for skills and experience but also for the ability to best mesh with the client’s communication style. When a client or a facilitation becomes challenging, the RISK team collaborates on the issue, using a common language and insights they learned in the workshop to move the work forward.

Equally as powerful as the results achieved in client facilitations are the changes within the remote group of RISK team members. As a direct result of the workshop, team members now know more about each other. Individuals who never worked together prior, now initiate partnerships and collaborate on projects without direction by Rene’ or the other leaders. With an understanding of what other team members can contribute, resources within the RISK team are better and more fully utilized.

How could understanding the simple framework of communication styles help your team work better together? Find out in an Accelus Communicating with Style workshop.


I have a much better understanding of what’s important to differing personality types and how to more effectively work with them at a detail level that is meaningful to them.

Communicating with Style Workshop Participant

Barbara’s presentation style engaged the audience, allowing us to tailor the tools and tips she provided to our firm and individual needs. I accomplish more and have increased my billable hours!

Yvonne StricklinTax ManagerReimer, McGuinness & Associates

We continually struggled with maintaining the appropriate mix of creative thinking and staying on task with our objectives during this time of planning. This challenge motivated us to search for someone who could lead a group of “strong minded leaders”. Barbara is this leader. She stepped in and helped guide us to our most successful retreat.

Cole Campbell, CFP®, ChFC, CLU, CASLPresidentHouston Financial Planning Association

The Strengths Finder training has provided insight to the deep rooted traits and characteristics of each team member. These traits can now be seen as positive contributions to the team’s success.  We are seen by each other with understanding eyes as opposed to judgements on our personalities.  

Manager & Strengths Workshop Participant

We were amazed at your ability to engage our group. Not only did they listen and participate, their smartphones were nowhere to be seen. The mix of conversation and activities kept them engaged, moving and learning.  

Alden & TimSalon on Kirby

I hired Barbara to help me with my transition when I changed firms and It was one of the best business decisions that I made. She is extremely knowledgeable in the field of financial management and has the ability to share that knowledge for the benefit of her clients.

Terry MooneyhamWealth Planning AdvisorLincoln Financial Advisors

Barbara deftly guided me through my elaborate list of excuses to the core issue. I am still amazed at how quickly she coached me to my own “a-ha” moment!

Lisa SchwallerStrategic Initiatives | Change Management | Portfolio Management | PMO | Compliance | High-growth Environments

When I first met Barbara she was so easy to talk to and had very key thoughts and suggestions; I immediately wanted more! Her process is real and authentic; she gives whole-hearted thought to the next actionable steps to help you achieve your desired goals.

Sasha CrabtreyRemote COOYour Operations Resource

Barbara helped me take a step back and look at the big picture. She challenged me to chase my dreams and to think differently about my path to the future. I cannot say enough to say how much Barbara helped me during our sessions.

Mark StaudtSenior Sales RepresentativeAssurant Employee Benefits, now part of Sun Life Financial

Every resource, tip and accountability nudge Barbara provided has pointed my feet in the right direction for a future full of opportunity and true success. To date my earnings have exponentially increased, I feel more at peace with my life and the woman I am, and many dreams I’ve had for many years are coming true.

Christy StrattonCoach and Media Professional

Since working with you I have greatly reduced my stress level, I have eliminated hassles, and have come to realize that I would rather have more time for myself and family than an extra dollar.  I have come to understand that I cannot be happy unless I am exactly who I want to be both in words and actions.

Chad Abbey, CLU ® ChFC ®Texas Advantage Insurance

With each challenge I faced, growing my business and relocating my office, Barbara helped me focus on the IMPORTANT details. I am enjoying more referrals and spending time on the things I am most passionate about.

Ann Baker Ronn, LUTCFOwnerThe AFP Group

Barbara’s most important contribution was to help me understand who my Ideal Client is. She focused my efforts on serving those clients who value my experience and expertise. She helped me realize my strengths and to have the confidence to apply them on a daily basis.

Paul M. Smith, IIIPrincipal Financial Group

I truly appreciate the “peace of mind” your process has brought me, and it is definitely one of the best things I’ve done for the business this year! I just signed on a new client so I have to add on to my client list; hooray!

Naomi ScrivenerBack Office Solutions, LLC

Barbara helped me discover the target market that “made my heart sing.” If you are looking for a way to get focused and have a great accountability partner, I enthusiastically recommend you hire Barbara Stewart as your coaching partner.

Ray J Fernandez, Jr., CPA, CFP®, CLU®Certified Public Accountant and Financial Advisor

Working with you exceeded my expectations.  I hired you because I was unfulfilled professionally and wanted to do something about it.  You provided a fresh perspective and a holistic approach to achieving happiness, both professionally and personally.  The Clean Sweep is a great tool.  Thanks for the objectivity, challenging me to think outside of the box, and your genuine interest in my success. 

Vice President, Lending

I was having difficulty thinking strategically about my future due to a multitude of unresolved issues. I gave little thought to how I wanted my life to be both now and in the future. Barbara helped me begin to think and operate in a different manner and to develop a clearer vision of my future.

Mike SkowronekOwnerStrata Business Consultants

Barbara and I closed every call with specific management tools and “to do’s” to achieve the short and long-term goals. We made our deadline, created work that made us all proud, strengthened our team, and accomplished more than we ever thought possible.

Linda ShirkeyOwnerThe Advisor’s Resource, Inc.