In 1984, Al and DeeAnna Oliver had a dinner guest who changed their lives. Al was a successful attorney, and the guest represented a company that had developed a behavior assessment tool called the Predictive Index® that enabled organizations to improve the hiring of new employees and the development and retention of existing staff.
The Olivers were so impressed with PI® that they quit their jobs and started a home-based company selling the system to companies and organizations looking to improve productivity. It was a huge risk for the young couple.
But the gamble paid off, and, within a few years, The Oliver Group had moved into a downtown office building. In 1988 it hired its first full-time colleague – Michael Wohl, who’s still with the company. The first client of The Oliver Group, Maker’s Mark, is still a client today and is one of the most recognizable brands in the world.
From the start, Al’s vision was to provide unique services that would directly improve a company’s bottom line by using objective criteria to evaluate and improve performance. Al understood that any real, meaningful change in an organization required a total commitment at the top, so he insisted on working at the CEO and leadership team level.
Although Al started out strictly selling the Predictive Index, he soon realized that clients wanted The Oliver Group’s expertise in other areas, such as Executive Development and Executive Search. So The Oliver Group’s areas of service quickly expanded. The services have adapted and grown ever since to meet client needs, including Customer-Focused Selling™, Executive Coaching, Strategic Planning, Succession Planning and Employee Surveys.
The company moved to its current home – a historic Civil War-era mansion – in 1992. In 1994, the Olivers’ daughter, Jennifer Mackin, joined the company full-time and expanded operations to the Chicago area. She became president of The Oliver Group in 2004 and president and CEO in 2006.
The Oliver Group has worked with an impressive list of more than 1,000 clients in a variety of industries, from healthcare to manufacturing. The Oliver Group’s clients range from family-owned enterprises to Fortune 500 and international corporations.
Tragically, Al Oliver succumbed to cancer in 2006. But the company that he and DeeAnna founded still adheres to the vision they crafted more than a quarter century ago.
And it all started with a dinner guest . . .