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At a Glance

Uppers

“We have an amazing mission and equally amazing team.”

“World-class colleagues and directly advise the world's top CEOs and boards.”

“Freedom and flexibility of type of work and work/life balance”

Downers

“Working without colleagues around you.”

“Small size limits ability to invest in things.”

“Uncertainty of consulting industry.”

The Buzz

“Among the best, very good at C-suite level work.”

”Market leader on leadership assessment.”

“Small but talented group.”

About ghSMART

 

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 combo 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 is 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.

COVID-19 Update

COVID-19 Update

At ghSMART, the health and safety of our team and clients remain our top priority. Given that we have always worked remotely, we are fortunate to have had less disruption due to the novel coronavirus than others. However, to support our team and better serve our clients during this time, we implemented a series of new processes to address the unusual challenges we have all faced.

Our Credo states that we exist to help leaders amplify their positive impact on the world, and the work we do to help leaders has become more critical than ever. Global leaders consider ghSMART consultants among their trusted advisors and have relied on our team to help them figure out how to stabilize their own teams, minimize business disruption, and find a path forward. We take our responsibility for supporting our team, clients, and communities very seriously, and will continue to find ways to improve the situation for all of our stakeholders. 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.

Racial Equality and Diversity

ghSMART acknowledges that bias, prejudice, and violence against Black people and other underrepresented groups exist in the United States and around the world. We believe a key part of the solution is leadership—on all of our parts, in the public sector as well as in the private sector. We believe that a great leader, more than anything else, elevates the quality of life of the individual, group, and society. Not satisfied with the status quo, ghSMART is increasing its commitment of resources and time to hiring and developing more diverse leaders, including leaders of color, within our firm, within our clients, and around the world. We stand together with anti-racist people from all backgrounds, taking action to improve the state of freedom and justice for all.

In the News

November 9, 2020: Hiring government leaders: Lessons from the private sector

Selecting the individuals to build a president’s cabinet and lead executive agencies is one of the biggest challenges facing a newly elected president and likely one of the most important sets of deci­sions the president will make in his or her presidency. Our half century of research in industrial and orga­nizational psychology; our over 25 years of professional practice in assessing tens of thousands of candidates for hiring, primarily in large private-sector organiza­tions but also large not-for-profit organizations; and our experience working as advisers across five cabinet and senior staff selection processes for several sitting governors have demonstrated a more robust approach to selecting cabinet leaders and senior administration staff.

July 02, 2020: How CFOs Can Be Better Leaders in the Age of COVID-19

Productive relationships are as important for chief financial officers (CFOs) as for any other C-suite role. In fact, the quality of their relationships will be the differentiating factor for CFO success during the COVID-19 pandemic and increase the odds of improved business performance, according to  consultants with ghSMART, a leadership advisory firm.

June 05, 2020: Four Ways to Keep Teams Calm and Focused During a Crisis

During the global COVID-19 crisis, ghSMART consultant Jeff McLean discovered that many lessons he had learned during his career as a Navy fighter pilot on aircraft carriers are relevant for business leaders during troubled and fast-changing times. In this opinion piece, he shares four ways that leaders can help their teams stay calm and focused on their goals during the pandemic.

une 2020: The Importance of CEO Self-Care During Prolonged Crises

When a prolonged crisis turns CEOs into “Chief Emergency Officers”, self-care is critical for CEOs to perform at their best.  ghSMART consultant Shoma Hayden's "The importance of CEO self-care during prolonged crises" is one of many useful resources in the latest publication from Marshall Goldsmith, which features thought pieces to help business leaders through challenging times. 

April 2020: 4 Behaviors That Help Leaders Manage a Crisis

Employees thrust into leadership during a crisis need to be coached in four behaviors to be most effective in their roles. They must decide with speed over precision, adapt to changing circumstances boldly, reliably deliver despite environmental factors, and engage deeply with their teams. Managers should remember that moments of crisis can tell you a great deal about the leaders under you. Identify who rose to the occasion, who struggled, and why. Evaluate how roles will change in the postcrisis world, and consider whether your key leaders are positioned for success. Most important, ask yourself whom you want at the table both during the crisis and in the longed-for tomorrow when we emerge. 

January 10, 2020: Unexpected Companies Produce Some of the Best CEOs

It is tempting to assume that the largest academy companies like GE and McKinsey have an edge when it comes to developing talent. As part of ghSMART’s CEO Genome research, we discovered that some surprising companies produce remarkable numbers of CEOs. Moreover, the CEOs these companies produce tend to perform well, thanks in part to the leadership development practices the companies embrace. We estimate there are over a dozen “stealth CEO factories” across a range of industries and geographies; these include Medtronic, Rohm and Haas, and Danaher. This study shows they do this by giving leaders broad authority; encouraging them to think like CEOs; and challenging strong performers early with big opportunities.

Why Work Here

Racial Equality and Diversity

ghSMART acknowledges that bias, prejudice, and violence against Black people and other underrepresented groups exist in the United States and around the world. We believe a key part of the solution is leadership—on all of our parts, in the public sector as well as in the private sector. We believe that a great leader, more than anything else, elevates the quality of life of the individual, group, and society. Not satisfied with the status quo, ghSMART is increasing its commitment of resources and time to hiring and developing more diverse leaders, including leaders of color, within our firm, within our clients, and around the world. We stand together with anti-racist people from all backgrounds, taking action to improve the state of freedom and justice for all.

ghSMART

203 N. LaSalle Street
Suite 2100
Chicago, IL 60601

Firm Stats

Employer Type: Private
Chairman: Dr. Geoff Smart
Managing Partner: Randy Street
2020 Employees (All Locations): 125

Major Office Locations

US and UK

Major Departments & Practices

Leadership Advisory

Human Capital