2020 Vault Rankings
- Firm Culture#18
At a Glance
“Client impact and C-suite engagement.”
“Wonderful and unique culture and values.”
“Freedom and flexibility.”
“Fast growth can create a frenetic pace.”
“Demand can be hard to manage.”
“Lacking collegiality in a virtual workplace…”
ghSMART is a management consulting firm based in Chicago, with offices across the U.S. and in London. The firm was founded in 1995 by Geoff Smart after the publication of an award-winning Ph.D. dissertation study on management assessment in private equity.
The early leaders of ghSMART set out to create a top firm in the emerging segment of professional services called management assessment. Nearly 25 years later, the firm is made up of more than fifty consultants and, while management assessment is still the core of their business, ghSMART’s scope has expanded as well. Today, the firm serves clients on a broad range of their most critical talent and organizational challenge.
Who’s on First?
ghSMART is the firm clients go to when they have questions about their people—the “who” that makes an organization work. This is why the firm hires not only top strategy consultants, but also talent from psychology consulting practices, law firms, and corporations. Hiring expert talent from such diverse backgrounds gives the firm a more complete, well-rounded perspective in their work.
The firm deals with many aspects of business leadership, but some of its areas of expertise include CEO succession; leadership succession, coaching, and development; acquisition diligence and integration planning; team and board effectiveness; and talent and organizational strategy. Thoughtful leadership and seamless teamwork are a tough combination to beat in the business world, and ghSMART helps its clients to optimize both.
Skin in the Game
A unique aspect of ghSMART is that it’s 100 percent employee-owned; only team members have the opportunity to buy stock if they choose. As a result, the only shareholders ghSMART reports to (and indeed, the only shareholders at all) are its own employees—so its freedom and objectivity are not restricted by any corporation, outside investor, or public market shareholder. This structure is representative of the firm’s entrepreneurial spirit as well as its commitment to accountability within its structure—everyone sinks or swims together.
ghSMART is a “flat” organization that values proactivity and ability over bureaucracy and tenure. All of its decisions and actions are guided by its corporate Credo and Values.
In the News
July 10, 2019
HBR Article: When the Heir Apparent Is the Wrong Choice for CEO
“The succession process enhancements we recommend here help ensure that the right candidates don’t get overshadowed by the “safe” ones. As the chair of a succession committee recently reminded his board: “We’ve worked very hard for the last few years to execute this process smoothly. It’s worth reminding ourselves that shareholders will judge us on the outcome — Did we pick the right person to run this company? — not on how good we felt about our discussions to get there.”
June 25, 2019
16 Great Books for Anyone Who Wants to Get Ahead in Life
"Getting the right team on board is as important as anything else you can do as a leader. A single hiring mistake can cost a company more than $1.5 million a year and countless hours wasted. Based on 1,300 hours of interviews with more than 20 billionaires and 300 CEOs, [this book] gives you the strategy to fill your team with A players in easy-to-follow steps that easily cascade throughout a company."
--Steven Auerbach, CEO of Alegeu
May 17, 2019
ghSMART's "The CEO Next Door" Honored at Kensington Palace as Business Management Book of the Year in the UK
“Leadership advisory firm ghSMART & Company was honored at Kensington Palace on Wednesday for publishing Business Management Book of the Year in the United Kingdom”
April 2, 2019
Forbes Names Leadership Advisory Firm ghSMART to 2019 List of America's Best Management Consulting Firms
“Randy Street, ghSMART's Managing Partner, said, "We believe that great leadership is the ultimate lever for good in the world. Whether you are a CEO of a multinational corporation, the head of a not-for-profit hospital network, or leading a team that invents solar products for impoverished communities, your success is determined by who is on your team more than any other factor. Our clients tell us that our work helps them build confidence in their teams to execute and achieve results."
May 28, 2019
10 Of The World's Great Sages Share Their Most Important Leadership Advice
“It’s not the big decisions that differentiate high-performing CEOs, it’s the volume and speed of their decisions. It’s about the speed rather than the precision on the hundreds of decisions they need to make.”
203 N. LaSalle Street
Chicago, IL 60601
Employer Type: Private
Chairman: Geoff Smart
Managing Partner: Randy Street
2019 Employees (All Locations): 120
US and UK