The firm I founded, ghSMART, turned 25 years of age today.
And below is the celebration message I just sent to my team today. We are hiring.
If you know anybody whose professional talents and interests match up with what you read here, please send them my way! Thank you!
ghSMART’s 25th Anniversary Message
Today is our 25-year anniversary, ghSMART! As your proud Chairman and Founder, I have some reflections on our past, present, and future.
PAST: In the beginning, I wanted to build a special kind of firm unlike any other. For colleagues, I wanted there to be a place for wildly talented and good-hearted people to do meaningful work in the area of leadership and management and to have a life outside of work. It was selfish—I wanted to found a firm that I’d actually want to work at! The kind of place where you could sit in a boardroom with colleagues and the CEO of an influential company, providing life-changing advice and counsel on her most challenging leadership issues. And then to be able to sit the very next day with your family on a blanket in a park watching the leaves change, or sit with a sick friend in the hospital who is getting his next course of chemo, or sit with a rising young leader at a not-for-profit you volunteer on the board at, and help her chart her career strategy.
I believed then, as I believe today, that leadership is the ultimate lever for good in the world.
For clients, I wanted them to benefit from our expertise in human behavior to build valuable organizations. I wanted us to advise not any ol’ leaders, but the most influential leaders in the world—so that our positive impact could have a multiplier effect and radiate outward to the millions of people they employ and to the billions of people they serve.
PRESENT: Today, with a group of more wildly talented and good-hearted people than I’d ever imagined, we HAVE built a special firm unlike any other!
Brilliant minds and hearts have come together to do meaningful work in pioneering the leadership advisory business. These same hardworking folks are able to make their kids soccer games, eat dinner with their families, go to concerts with friends, exercise and do paddle board yoga any day of the week they want, and enjoy a culture of freedom to choose their work-life balance. Name me one other firm that offers this much opportunity for impact, wealth creation, and freedom and flexibility.
And today, we don’t just sit and assess. We still assess, but we also move our clients forward. We build leaders.
We find ourselves walking around the top-floor boardroom late in the day with the jittery new CEO of one of the largest companies on the planet, as his most trusted advisor.
We stroll with the highly-respected President of a Children’s Hospital around the medical campus on a Monday afternoon and help her to continue to evolve, to re-prioritize, to hire and develop a talented team, to lead her organization effectively, and we do not rest until she achieves her goals.
We run after our kids or nieces or nephews as we teach them how to ride a bike on a Tuesday after school.
We guide newly-elected governors through the daunting process of hiring their cabinets and we work for years alongside the executive directors of several of the largest and most influential not-for-profits in the history of humankind, helping them literally save more lives through adopting the leadership practices we are pioneering.
Under our awesome Managing Partner Randy Street’s leadership and management, we have built a culture that today has achieved 4.9/5.0 Glassdoor ratings. But wait, there’s more.
This year, we were named by Vault the #1 best company to work for in our industry in overall satisfaction (and challenging work and client interaction), after taking two #1 categories last year as well.
And I don’t know if you saw this but in March Forbes just named ghSMART for the fourth consecutive year to its Best Management Consulting Firms list for 2020. Only 222 firms made this list out of 774,100. That’s less than 3 out of 10,000 firms, or .03%.
We share our knowledge about leadership with the world. Our books Who, Power Score, and CEO Next Door keep selling like hot cakes and keep making top 10 lists of best business books as they get translated into more languages and permeate the world’s business and not-for-profit communities.
But all is not rosy in 2020. The state of the world is poor in many respects—social injustice and inequity remain; a pandemic is still killing 5,000 people a day in the world; the prospect of more wars seems to grow. My wife Lauren is 9 months pregnant and our twins will be born any minute now. What gives me hope for the future of the world for our children is leadership. Leadership is the solution. We are part of the solution, folks.
FUTURE: We will build the #1 firm in the world, for the good of our colleagues present and future, our clients, and society at large.
The work experience here will continue to get even more awesome—which means you will make more of a positive impact, you will make even more money, and you will have more fun. There will be better opportunities for learning and doing. With growth come more career paths to choose from here for client leadership, thought leadership, and firm leadership.
Over the next 10 years, we will become known as not just the best firm to work for in consulting, but the best company to work for anywhere.
We will be more even more diverse and inclusive, and we will become more fluent in the languages and cultures of the world. We will have a fuller set of solutions for our CEO clients to help them succeed—MTA style consulting, digitally-amplified insights and data analytics, and who knows what else we will innovate. We will double in size, then double again, then double again, to over 1,000 Smarties globally, half a billion in revenue, $100m+ in EBITDA which gives us more power to innovate, to educate, to influence, and to make the world a better place.
I’m so proud and happy of you, of us!
And I’m so grateful to be on this journey with each of you.
How can we make the most of our journey together, to maximize our success? Let’s aim high and seek to build the best firm in the world—life is short, and we probably only get one shot at this. Let’s hire the most talented and good-hearted people and help one other learn and grow. Let’s treat each other with a spirit of generosity and gratitude. Let’s always balance freedom of choice with a spirit of teamwork and service.
Let’s take great care of one another and our clients, let’s build future leaders who will elevate the quality of life of everyone. And more than anything else, please remember, when in doubt, let’s lead!
Thank you and Happy 25th!!
Dr. Geoff Smart is Chairman & Founder of ghSMART, the leadership advisory firm. The firm exists to help leaders amplify their positive impact on the world.
ghSMART has published three bestselling leadership books: Who (by Smart and Street, #1 in the category of “hiring”), Power Score (by Smart, Street, and Foster, The Wall Street Journal bestseller about leading talented teams), and The CEO Next Door (by Botelho and Powell, the New York Times bestseller about CEO success).
Geoff can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.