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April 17, 2014

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Thrive!

I’ve been fortunate that my business has been less affected by the recession of the last three years than many of my colleagues’ businesses. Still, the firm has felt the pinch like so many other consulting firms. We have been able to continue to deliver the great service and quality work our clients have come to expect, but unfortunately, we have had to do so within a tighter economic model. While we have been able to make this work, it has placed a tremendous burden on the company and its shareholders. In some respects, this strategy has also kept the firm from evolving.

Although over the last ten years, we have shifted our business model to a place that has allowed it to survive and keep its people employed and its clients satisfied, we’ve not had the resources to move from survive to thrive. It is time to now make a large shift to become a different company—a company positioned to thrive in this new economy.

Fifteen years ago, the firm began a shift in focus from being a good technical firm to being a design firm, caring about cultures, natural systems, and the environment. The firm became interested in value-added services and began seeing and providing these types of services to its clients. As I said previously, this served the firm well and positioned the firm for a new change—a change that will be more profound and important than the incremental shifts of the last ten years. The firm has become a butterfly, which must shed the caterpillar’s body to be able to fly.

I know the changes ahead will be difficult, but only when viewed through the lens of the caterpillar. When viewed through the eyes of the butterfly, I see nothing but blue skies in which to soar. Change is never easy, but now is the time to put everything I believe in and have written about into play. We are not choosing to change because we cannot survive—we are choosing to change because we believe it is the right thing to do at this time. A person who I respect deeply described firms in my profession as either “intentionally or unintentionally going out of business.” In my case, our firm must intentionally move from the current business model it is in to the one which holds the keys to the future. I have faith that the firm will reposition itself to reach a great place and I am poised for the challenge.

I once worked for a man who always said that if you weren’t growing, you were dying. I like to rephrase his wisdom to, “if you aren’t changing and getting better, you are destined to die.? Here’s to thriving!

What are you doing to position yourself and your firm to thrive?

Until next time…

Craig

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