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…”
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.
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.”
Why Work Here
Racial Equality and Diversity
ghSMART acknowledges that bias, prejudice, and violence against Black people 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.
203 N. LaSalle Street
Chicago, IL 60601
Employer Type: Private
Chairman: Dr. Geoff Smart
Managing Partner: Randy Street
2020 Employees (All Locations): 125
US and UK