TGG PARTNER Q&A:
2022 CONSULTING MAGAZINE BEST FIRMS TO WORK FOR
This fall The Gunter Group was recognized as a “Best Small Firm to Work For” by Consulting Magazine for the fourth consecutive year. This marks the fourteenth workplace award that TGG has received in the last eight years.
We visited with TGG partner and head of TGG’s Nevada team, Tony Schweiss to hear more about the award and the significance of being honored nationally for The Gunter Group’s culture and workplace.
This is the fourth consecutive year TGG has been recognized as a Best Small Firm to Work For by Consulting Magazine. What does this consistency and recognition mean to the team?
Tony: It’s a reflection of the amount of effort, energy and thought that we put into building a team that is aligning its culture to the work that we do and the outcomes we are trying to deliver as a team. It’s also a reflection of the caliber of people that we have on our team and the commitment our team has to do high quality work for our clients, to support each other, to collaborate and live out our Non-Negotiables, and hold ourselves accountable.
The consistency, year-in and year-out is amazing and is incredibly exciting in terms of the ongoing acknowledgement of the effort we put into our culture on a yearly, monthly, weekly, daily basis and I think everyone on the team should be really proud of it.
Not only has The Gunter Group’s team grown geographically over the past 24 months but the location of clients has been broadening as well. How does the Consulting Magazine honor validate these geographic developments?
Tony: For us it is an essential priority that as we expand as a company and our footprint grows, that we stay culturally committed to what makes us a great team. The pursuit of excellence and the goal over time to create an engaged team no matter where they are, has been a driving requirement for us as we grow.
To be recognized for this award four years in a row as we continue to grow geographically proves that it is possible to create highly engaging cultural value as we scale up as a firm. The recognition also validates the effort and resources we have dedicated to our team and organization, and serves as a celebration opportunity as well.
You are located in Nevada, what is it like for you to work with individuals across the country in different hubs/areas and how does TGG develop and maintain its strong organizational culture with geographically dispersed team members?
Tony: For me, I think it’s really exciting to work with team members from so many different areas. Whether it’s the Denver area, Southern California, the Salt Lake City area, the East Coast, or the Pacific Northwest, the variety of experiences and perspectives that generate from a collection of unique locations is exciting to be a part of and see benefit our client partners.
It’s been fun to experience but also presents a challenge: how do we maintain the value of our culture in a more virtual environment and dispersed geographies.
Having been geographically removed from our main hub for a while now, the best version of an engaging team and workplace is one that is aligned in terms of its goals and mission as an organization. And for us it’s about helping our clients achieve their goals in a way that is better and faster than what they could have done on their own.
I think it’s helped bring into focus opportunities for engagement with each other and how we’re doing our work but also how we are connecting as a team. It has forced us to try new things, evaluate quickly and then double down on methods that have really added to our cultural foundation across multiple geographies. As much as possible we continue to utilize not only virtual opportunities to engage with teammates but also encourage our local teammate hubs to spend time together in person and support that activity from an investment perspective.
What are you most excited about for the TGG team and culture in the coming year?
Tony: At the end of the day we’ve grown a lot over the last 3-4 years and we’ve grown purposefully so that our team has new and interesting opportunities in the future. As we grow we have to continue to be thoughtful about how we do our work internally, engage and connect with one another, how we collaborate, and how we deliver our work as a team.
What I’m really excited about over the next year is to continue to mature how our employee experience presents itself and matures across geographies so we can ensure a great professional opportunity for our entire team regardless of where they are located. I think it’s the most crucial work we have in front of us but it will also be the most rewarding for our entire organization in the months and years to come.
A LOOK BACK
A year and a half ago, we introduced a blog series on our company’s Non-Negotiables. At TGG, our Non-Negotiables are six traits and characteristics that guide us in our everyday interactions with each other, our clients, and our communities. They are the pillars on which we have built, and will continue to build, the company.
The Non-Negotiables came about in a particularly organic way. We did not sit down in a “strategy session” to “identify our Non-Negotiables”. They came about naturally as we thought about the values that are important to us, how we wished to create, cultivate and maintain relationships, our culture, and most importantly….the traits and characteristics we saw really successful TGGers demonstrating. The Non-Negotiables became an articulation of how we were already living.
Our Non-Negotiables are reflected not only in our day to day interactions, but in our recruiting, our professional development, and our feedback process. They are our framework for holding ourselves accountable in our work and relationships, and it is our greatest point of pride that our team consistently reflects them.
Our six Non-Negotiables are:
- 1. Collaborative
- 2. Integrity
- 3. Intellectual Curiosity
- 4. Thrives in Ambiguity
- 5. Emotional Intelligence
- 6. Grounded Confidence
When we began this blog series, we asked different members of our team to write each of the six blogs, and we are really proud of how they turned out. The authors reflect a group of individuals with different backgrounds, varying years of experience (and time with the company), diverse perspectives, and different working styles. We also sat down and filmed the historical context of our Non-Negotiables and how they guide our focus as we grow our firm.
Little did we know that half way through this blog series, we would find ourselves in the middle of not only a global pandemic, but also significant societal upheaval in the ongoing fight for equity, inclusion and racial justice.
We knew how our Non-Negotiables guided us in “normal” times, but how would they hold up in such uncertain and stressful times?
The answer is that we have relied upon them even more heavily. We focused on taking care of and supporting each other (Integrity, Emotional Intelligence). We engaged even more deeply, and in many cases with more flexibility and an even stronger sense of service, with our clients (Thrives in Ambiguity, Intellectual Curiosity, Collaborative, Grounded Confidence). We also revamped our recruiting and evaluation processes to further embed these characteristics and traits (all six).
We believe the increased level of depth and focus on our Non-Negotiables has been motivating and rewarding for our entire organization. It has also furthered our commitment to putting people and culture first in times of prosperity and uncertainty alike.
Our Non-Negotiables continue to be the most accurate representation we have of our company’s culture. They reflect who we are and who we will continue striving to be as we build our team and company.
We hope you have enjoyed this blog series as much as we have enjoyed sharing it. We encourage leaders and teams to think critically about the aspirational and lived culture you desire for your organization and orient everything around bringing it to life.
About the Author:
Mike is passionate about client service and leading people. He enjoys watching people grow, develop, and discover their true path. Mike is a visionary and forward thinker with extensive multinational experience and a proven track record of serving clients. With more than 25 years of business leadership and consulting in a wide variety of challenging and ambiguous environments, Mike got his start in the industry at Deloitte Consulting and has since held executive leadership positions in consulting, supply chain services, and public education organizations.