This is us, who are You?
Why are we here in the first place?
We start with the "why" because it is the most important. Over time, companies can lose sight of what they first set out to do. We actually did this with our very first company even though we had a strong, well-defined mission statement than most. But we grew fast, very fast. Money rolled in and we thought we were invincible to anyone or anything that found their way in front of us. We found ourselves not asking why we were there anymore or what we were doing. Our only question was “how much ($) can we make today?” There was great tension every day in the company between being successful in terms of growth, and what this meant in terms of my social impact.
Now, well let’s just say we ask this question each and every morning when we start our day.
But what helps guide our company at all times is the knowledge that we arose out of our love of helping people and the success that that brings. When we started this company, it was basically about getting a foot hold once again for what we love, growing to expand our sphere of influence, and trying to inspire other companies.
What does the world need most that we are uniquely able to provide?
This was the question that we wrestled with a few years ago, and it led to the launch of North West Consulting.
Of course, with droves of consulting firms in so many outlets, North West Consulting has always been "uniquely able" to provide affordable business consulting and coaching to people without those deep pockets the other firms go after. But then we started asking ourselves, “What more can we do?" We felt like, we wanted to put our bodies on the line. What gradually became clear was that North West Consulting was in a position to provide not just affordable consulting but a more complete and excellent experience for those dealing with small consulting budgets.
What matters more than money?
In the past we thought nothing. But now, well, it’s easy to lose sight of the big picture when we start caring too much about our quarterly financial results. The reality is, company value or stock price is not something you can create anyway. It’s a by-product that only happens if you make a difference in people’s lives. And you can only do that, by continually asking mission-related questions—about what truly matters to you as a company and what’s needed in the marketplace or the larger world.
But unfortunately, many business leaders have been trained to care obsessively about short-term results—specifically, they tend to put too much weight on financial metrics like IRR (internal rate of return) and ROCE (return on capital employed) because they’ve been conditioned to treat capital as precious. In reality, Capital today is abundant and cheap (so much so, that investors had to pay Square for the privilege of having the hot startup take their funding). With so much available capital, it’s an opportune time for companies to invest in expansive, game-changing innovation—and in people who have the skills to solve not only today’s problems but to ask what tomorrow’s challenges will be.
Yet many businesses have remained focused on efficiency innovations (aimed at reducing costs) in order to free up more capital, which in turn is used to create more efficiency. How to break this cycle? Business leaders must step back and ask: What do we actually care about? What are we trying to achieve and how will we get there, in the long run?