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Case Study – 5R Solutions: A Smashing Way to Work on the Business


5R Solutions is a New Zealand company specialising in window glass recovery. Their reprocessing sites in Auckland and Christchurch process tens of thousands of tonnes of glass each year, producing the processed glass components for a range of end products, such as filtration systems, insulation and sand-blasting. Their purpose is to help industry preserve natural resources for future generations.

What Was the Challenge That Brought You to AGLX?

The company was founded in Christchurch in 2009 by Chris Grant, the owner-operator and has 23 staff. They have experienced substantial growth year on year, but Chris was buried working in the business, with little time to think strategically.

This was brought to a halt when Chris had a mountain bike accident which led to 3 months off work and became a catalyst for transformation – shifting him to “work on the business, not in the business.” Chris says this was the first time he really stepped back from the business to think about what they were doing.

“work on the business, not in the business.”

He started to explore how to shift the way they worked, including joining The Executive Connection (TEC); having a coach; talking with his board and working closely with his New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE) Customer Manager, Keith Mitchell.

They identified lots of opportunities and challenges, but realised that fundamentally they were lacking direction.

Chris started working with his board and Senior Leadership Team (SLT) on the strategy, which included building trust with the team to enable vulnerable conversations and for Chris to go through his own transformation as a leader.

Once the groundwork was done, Chris had a session with NZTE to explore the next steps and was introduced to Doug Maarschalk and AGLX, one of NZTE’s service providers. Having the NZTE funding and being part of NZTE’s Focus 700 helped.

5R Solutions

What Did You Do with AGLX?

Chris felt that 5R Solutions was lacking a vision and purpose to help them look forward and wanted help to develop this. Doug worked with Chris and the SLT to set a direction for success and give them clarity on priorities.

Chris says the team had quite an operational mindset initially and struggled to connect with the concept of ‘strategy’. They used AGLX’s Adaptive Strategy process to develop the 5R Strategy and to build the team’s capability in strategic thinking. This meant the team could learn -by-doing.

AGLX started the engagement interviewing the SLT to get individual perspectives and input on the business.

Developing the Strategy

AGLX ran two Strategy Development workshops which:

  • Identified 5R’s strategic intent
  • Framed their guiding principles for decision-making
  • Identified key strategic challenges to prioritise
  • Developed OKRs (Objectives and Key Results) to track progress
  • Developed a ‘Detect-Respond-Exploit’ way of working to adapt to unpredictable aspects of their context

Strategy Activation

To help bring the strategy to life, AGLX provided 5R with a visual strategy which helped communicate the strategy across the business, building engagement and buy-in with the board and employees. They also ran an activation session with the SLT to familiarise the team with the new way of working. Keith was involved throughout the process to identify where NZTE could provide further expertise and connections for overseas expansion.

What Have Been the Outcomes of the Engagement? (Results)

Before starting

Doing this activity wasn’t something that was on Chris’ radar initially and was not included in the financial plan. Chris said he initially thought “this is going to cost” and wondered “what value are we going to get?”

“Now I know what I know, I would do it in a heartbeat, even without the funding,”

The after story

Chris says the work they did with AGLX has “been hugely beneficial.”

He says the work with AGLX provided the structure for them to focus on strategic areas; opened up 5R’s thinking and helped them identify opportunities for the future that impact the organisation.

The leadership team has been “galvanised” and now bring a whole different mindset and energy levels, working much more as a team. They now have a shared agreement about the purpose of the organisation and where they are going, rather than just focusing on the operational tasks.

This has been beneficial in their recent recruitment activity – in a tight labour market, being clear about our purpose and how we work has provided them with a strong pool of candidates to choose from.

Chris describes AGLX as having a wealth of experience.

“It was how they simplified the process and got the outcomes that were valuable.”

Specifically, Chris says:

  • A key to success is how AGLX connect and understands the journey you are on
  • The strategy activation was of value, not just having a document that will sit on a shelf
  • They were also really good in terms of helping take our people with us


“Previously I was travelling 6-7 months a year, trying to drag everyone along; now I’m setting the direction and supporting the team.”



Do You Want Help in Strategy Development and Activation? 

If you would like to learn more about how AGLX can support your organisation to develop your strategy (direction of success) and to ensure it does more than sit on a shelf, but gets brought to life (strategy activation), then we would love to talk. 

AGLX is an adaptive strategy consultancy that allows organisations to be confident in complexity & turn uncertainty into a competitive advantage.  We help you enable an adaptive approach that makes a real & ongoing difference to your organisation, even as the world continues to change.  

We work with the leaders of organisations who are looking for fresh thinking and want to challenge the status quo. 

Get in touch with us for a confidential discussion about how we can help you.