The Griffon Group, LLC is a Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) with three Managing Directors. The first Managing Director is responsible for operational and training issues related to the development and long term management of income producing real estate. The second Managing Director is responsible for operational and training issues related to Finance, MIS, PHAS, SEMAP and other similar topics. The third Managing Director is a HOPE VI specialist with extensive experience managing a variety of complex revitalization issues within this innovative HUD program.
Reporting to the Managing Directors are a variety of employees, contract employees and subcontractors who make up the Griffon talent pool. When a task is identified and a quote is requested, one of the Managing Directors is assigned the responsibility as the project’s Program Manager. The Program Manager then selects the team for the project from the talent pool and oversees the collaborative creation of a response to the original quote request.
If a task is small or extremely focused on a single topic, the Managing Directors may also choose to select a team member with the necessary skills to function as the Program Manager.
The Program Manager is responsible for every aspect of the assignment from the proposal, to contract execution, to planning, to mobilization, to implementation, to reporting, to performance evaluations, and finally to billing. Throughout this process the Program Manager is responsible for maintaining appropriate and thorough communication with the GTR, HUD and PHA staff. There are no layers of management to delay or confuse responses to a client’s requests. Griffon provides one contact that is always available, always responsible and always focused on completing the task on time, on budget and within the organizational objectives set forth below.
The Griffon Group believes that the goal of a technical assistance provider should be to eliminate the need for its services as quickly as possible. Griffon sets high standards of performance that can only be met by teams of highly motivated professionals working in a collaborative effort. It is not enough for Griffon to complete its task on time and within budget. The Griffon goal is to provide extraordinary results, even in the smallest tasks. Since no individual has the ability to perform at this level in more than a few areas, Griffon management has identified a large number of professionals with the same high standards.
The role of Griffon’s senior management is to aggressively motivate, direct and monitor highly motivated professionals working in an intensely managed team to produce extraordinary results. Team members are carefully selected and have usually worked with senior management on other projects over many years. Many of these working relationships have been in place for more than twenty years.
Griffon believes that its management approach also results in significant cost savings over the existing consulting model which utilizes one or two professionals over a longer period of time. First, the Griffon method delivers the broadest possible knowledge of the task as quickly as possible and understanding the task is essential to completing it successfully. Second, time is money, especially when dealing with real estate assets. Delays in making management improvements can increase costs as much as construction delays, deferred maintenance or a late PHAS filing. Third, the quick and reliable completion of the task reduces the burden on the client’s staff.
At the moment a task is identified, Griffon selects a Program Manager with appropriate skills from its staff and a carefully chosen team is assembled to create a proposal that will provide the results the client needs. It is essential to create a well-developed plan that clearly identifies the tasks to be completed and that can only be accomplished by the team that will actually do the work. From the start, every member of the team is fully involved in contributing to the company’s goal of extraordinary performance under the leadership of the Program Manager.
Once a task has been awarded, the Griffon team develops a final work plan that is carefully tailored to produce the best possible results. A central focus of the work plan is always the timely completion of deliverables for the client. Griffon always maintains the resources necessary to get the job done on time.
While the Program Manager is the primary client contact, Griffon provides its customers broad access to its team members to insure that the communication meets the client’s objectives.
In the field, members of Griffon team are closely focused on their goals and report progress at close intervals. Any redirection of the effort that is needed is implemented immediately.
It is, however, impossible to measure performance without accurately reporting to the client on a regular basis. Griffon is accustomed to providing weekly and monthly progress reports on its efforts. These reports, like all deliverables, are reviewed and edited by the Program Manager who is responsible for their content.
Finally, Griffon tries to carefully monitor and measure its own performance. While it is routine for HUD to require performance evaluations of its technical assistance providers and trainers, Griffon performs its own as well. The focus of these evaluations is to identify ways to increase the level of trust, understanding and cooperation between PHA staff and team members. Since it is impossible to build capacity without first being able to communicate effectively with PHA staff, Griffon is always mindful of how it is perceived by PHA staff.
Management of the Griffon team requires a reasoned reliance on the latest technology. Each use of new technology is carefully tested and if it cannot be made to work securely, quickly and easily by everyone, it is not integrated into the management process. All photographs and video are taken digitally and when completed are posted to a secure area on the company’s website for the client to download immediately. In order to avoid clogging email servers with large files and attachments, information is often made available to clients through this secure web access.
Griffon also maintains its own web-based email system that permits secure email retrieval from any location. Whether by email or web-based delivery the timely electronic transmission of deliverables by Griffon is routine. Faxes are routed through the company’s fax server to the appropriate staff in the field. Using this system, faxes to one common number can reach any team member, anytime, anywhere, in minutes.
Historically, Griffon and other technical assistance providers performing an assessment were often forced to copy, re-copy and distribute hundreds if not thousands of pages of documents. Griffon now uses portable high-speed scanners and easy-to-use software to reduce documents to digital files that can be searched, collated, organized and distributed easily at nominal cost. As part of this program Griffon maintains a secure website where all documents related to a contract or transaction are posted and available for all participants to use. These postings include closing binders more than 1500 pages in length, indexed with a single PDF file.
These are not systems that are anticipated or planned; they are in place and being used on a daily basis.
Additionally, Griffon is beginning to implement its own simple web-based management system. This system will mean that all project-related emails, faxes, written documents, photos and architectural drawings will be available on a secure website that can be accessed by HUD staff from any computer with web access and a basic web browser. This system will also support web-conferencing and will permit Griffon to deliver limited web-based technical assistance and training.
Griffon Group also provides a wide array of training services. Griffon maintains a Director of Training and Technology skilled in setting up and implementing multiple simultaneous training sessions in different locations. Griffon’s training sessions do not just deliver the material; they are lively, entertaining and deliver their message to all of the “participants” in the training. Well organized and engaging training sessions help build staff capacity from the moment they begin.