Topgrading to an Award-Winning Culture
No. of Employees: 145
Industry: Professional Services (Leadership Advisory, Executive Assessment and Development)
ghSMART attributes its success primarily to the talent of its team. It is why ghSMART is considered one of the most selective and development-oriented professional services firms in the world.
- Geoff Smart, Chairman & Founder
ghSMART is a leadership advisory firm founded in 1995 by Geoff Smart, son of Brad Smart and collaborator on Topgrading theories and practice. The mission of ghSMART is to use its expertise in business and human behavior to help CEOs, boards, and investors build valuable organizations.
Forbes named ghSMART to its list of Best Management Consulting Firms for the last three years. Fewer than 3 in 10,000 firms receive such a designation. Harvard Business School has published two case studies on the firm as a pioneer in the leadership advisory business. ghSMART maintains its fundamental competitive advantage through hiring, removal of mis-hires, and rigorous development in a supportive culture.
ghSMART uses Topgrading hiring methods thoroughly and rigorously in their hiring and on-boarding processes. Chairman Geoff Smart contends that the time saved by not having B or C Players on the team, and the time that would be wasted by undisciplined hiring, is at least 100 times that spent on the Topgrading process.
The firm updates their “Scorecard” for each role annually. They source through an internal recruiting team of 5, as well as by paying colleagues a $10,000 referral bonus for new hires. Two screening interviews are conducted, a 5-hour “SmartAssessement®” (which is an industrial-strength Topgrading Interview conducted by a senior partner in the firm), 4 colleague “peer interviews,” and 5-7 reference interviews.
The firm is the only one Brad Smart is aware of that has a 100% A Player policy. Not one B. Not one C. Since 100% hiring success is not possible, the firm has to remove non-performers to maintain a 100% A Player team. Performance is evaluated using client and colleague interviews and surveys, and results are shared monthly, quarterly, and annually with all consultants, so it is no mystery who is performing and who is not. Consultants and staff find that they receive more feedback and coaching than at any other firm.
Best Place to Work
ghSMART & Company was ranked #1 in the 2021 Vault rankings of Best Consulting Firms to Work For in the categories of client interaction, level of challenge, and overall satisfaction. The leadership advisory firm also ranked the “#1 Best Boutique Firm” and placed in the top 5 firms in seven additional categories including hours in the office, work/life balance, compensation, internal mobility, selectivity, relationships with supervisors, and exit opportunities.
"The employees at ghSMART that responded to our annual survey hold their colleagues in such high esteem that we'd be remiss not to highlight the firm's culture as a crucial differentiator. While consultants at most firms are quick to lavish praise on the people they work with, hearing one ghSMART insider describe their coworkers as the 'most accomplished, good-hearted, and enjoyable team on the planet' speaks volumes to the caliber of talent ghSMART hires."
Topgrading ghSMART has led to the building of a client-satisfying (over 90% “high” client satisfaction metrics), colleague-pleasing (over 93% retention rate) high-end consulting firm that has enjoyed profitable growth (23% compound annual growth of profits over the past 10 years on 20% annual growth in revenues), and provides a fun atmosphere of talented, goodhearted, diverse colleagues. The team feels proud that they are building something that is sustainable, meaningful, and special – which could have only been accomplished through strict adherence to Topgrading principles.