The Frontier Project is a strategic consultancy home to a portfolio of ventures delivering growth in a way that benefits shareholders, employees and society (yes, it can be done). Engage Thinking is a log of what we're thinking about, what we're discussing, where we've been and where we're going.

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Sorry. And Thank You.

When we started this thing, the goal was to create a tiny operation that would become one of the most influential firms in the world. We’d be discreet, boutique and very very small.

We learned this week we landed on the Inc Magazine list of the 5000 fastest growing private companies in the United States.  

Sorry. That’s not so discreet and not so boutique.

To make amends for our sins, know that we continue to fragment our business so that, while we all live under the same operating company and in the same buildings, we’re serving specific and discreet markets - Innovation; Corporate Events; Talent & Leadership Development; Digital Publishing.

We trust that fast growth is a sign that partnerships with clients are going well. Deepening, ripening, and expanding.

So we should take a minute to say thank you. 

As clients, you trust us with your biggest market and organisational challenges. You give us room to do our best work. You pay your bills on time (always a pleasant surprise). And, most importantly, you encourage us to disagree with you. You recognise that’s the loyal value we seek to bring, and you give us the space to make that argument. Our team is tremendous. But they know that already. What we celebrate are our clients who engage that team to deliver positive change. Thank you.

We’re thrilled to see a gang of our RVA neighbours rank above us on the list, including ImpactMakers, Mobelux, and our shirt-maker friends at Ledbury. Congratulations.

We’re working on some enormous projects that have deep social, economic and environmental ramifications. We carry that every day. So while the badge of “Fast Growth” is nice, when they create a “Hard Impact” badge, trust us that we’ll be fighting for that recognition.  In the meantime, sorry. And thanks.

- SW

Meet Kelly Lewis. Women’s Leadership Series Facilitator

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Kelly Lewis is the Senior Director of Leadership for Luck Companies, a family-owned and operated producer of crushed stone that is dedicated to igniting human potential through Values Based Leadership (VBL).

Prior to joining Luck, Kelly was the principal of The Bounce Collective, a leadership development and coaching firm, where she specialized in building leadership capacity through the transformative wisdom of reciprocity, community, and connection. Kelly works from a principle that leadership is a way of being, not just something we do. She believes the seeds of leadership exist in every man, woman, and child and those seeds blossom when we experience that sweet spot between being supported and challenged.  This mindset also guided her through her fifteen years as a Fortune 500 executive and change leader.

In October 2011, Kelly was awarded Workforce Management’s Game Changer Award for the innovative ways her company developed leadership capacity in today’s leader. She is honored to serve on Georgetown University’s Leadership Coaching faculty and as the Director of Relationships for Georgetown’s Institute for Transformational Leadership.  Kelly earned a Leadership Coaching Certificate from Georgetown University and has been designated a Professional Certified Coach by the International Coaching Federation. Additionally, she earned a B.S. in Business Management from Virginia Tech. 

So yeah, we’d say she’s worth listening to. Send in your application for our Women’s Leadership Series workshops (3 days, over 3 months) and learn leadership from the best.

Meet Katie Lackey. Women’s Leadership Series & Frontier Academy Facilitator

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Katie is a Consultant for Frontier Academy, which provides experiential learning and development workshops for companies, and individuals, hoping to be challenged in order to grow. 

Armed with a deep background in recruiting, training, and business development for national investment firms and fast-growth start-ups, Katie has a valuable perspective of understanding the internal workings of a business while being considerate of the external needs of customers. A typical day? Taking a 30,000 foot idea from an executive client and breaking it up into bite size pieces to execute a successful and tangible result.

Spend a day with Katie and you’ll feel inspired, motivated, and we dare say, smarter. Spend three days with Katie - well, that’s what we call our Women’s Leadership Series. Apply now. The guarantee of a smarter, more inspired, motivated you, is something worth looking into.

For more about Katie, check out our conversation that dives deeper into what makes her tick.

We Are All Negotiators: 3 Tips To Influencing Outcome

Ways to negotiate effectively can not be summarized in just three tips - hence the need for our Frontier Academy Negotiation workshop (shame-free plug) - but it’s a start. 

1) Understand the key decision makers. Know these individuals and what motivates them on both a business and personal level, and know the emotion behind what is currently driving them. This will allow you to tailor your message toward their needs, their fears, and their wants. 

2) Separate emotion from outcome, for you personally. Have awareness behind why you want what you want. Your emotions can negatively effect the outcome by blurring wants from needs. For example, think about negotiating the salary you have in mind and being so stuck on that dollar figure that you are unable to weigh both the tangible and intangible benefits of the job - the unlimited vacation policy, for example. 

3) Know your BATNA (best alternative to a negotiated agreement). This is the final outcome you are willing to accept after all options have been exhausted. Though not ideal, it is an option that you should be comfortable with if the original desired outcome cannot be reached. 

For more on negotiation, go here. And keep on the lookout for Scott Wayne’s first book, The Cartography of Negotiation, due out this Fall.

NGRLWBC (a collaborative effort) 

Flip Those Meetings

You hate them right?  Corporate meetings.  They jam up your day.  Half the participants don’t need to be there, the other half are plugged into their email instead of the meeting.  

Enter our modern meetings flipdeck.  A visual reminder of the contemporary rules of modern meetings.  Each one customized with the language and protocols of your organization.  

A simple tool to reinforce to your people the habits of effective gatherings.

What’s next.

Talk about shifting your meeting culture?  Drop Stevie a line.  

Run a Leading Effective Meetings workshop? Drop Katie a line.

Request a complimentary copy of our flip deck for your desk?… Email Becky.  

"…our government, our United Nations, our world, is not that interested"

To be a great negotiator one needs to see the other side.  In a world of lazy journalism and powerful government press offices (rightly, doing their job), it’s hard to see both sides.  On this occasion, Jon Snow of Channel 4 News, uses YouTube, not his own news program (UK broadcast regulations forbid this type of editorial) to share the perspective outside the Iron Dome.  Give it five minutes of your time.  Not to agree with Hamas, just to experience the other side.  It’s good practise for your negotiating mind. - SW

Yes, we’re the big blue cock*

It’s rarely easy to describe to potential clients where we ‘fit’ in the consulting industry.  But occasionally there’s an analogue that works.

Today, walking through Trafalgar Square, I was given such an analogue gift.  In the square, the centre of London, is Nelson’s Column, protected by statues of lions and then four surrounding statues on plinths.  The “fourth plinth” was due to have a statue of William IV, but due to lack of funding was never created.  So the plinth sat empty for 150 years until, in 1999, a decision was made to rotate modern artworks through the plinth.  

So while there are three static statues, the fourth regularly changes.  Think of the three statics as the rest of the consulting industry (the usual suspects).  The fourth is us.  We morph every year or so according to client needs.  That’s okay. It’s just who we are.  But if you’re a potential employee that likes certainty, this is your indication that we’re not a fit.  Right now we’re a figurative big blue cockerel. Who knows what we’ll be by the end of the year.

*Yes, the title is simply to attract your attention.

SW, London

First in a series of podcasts with the gifted crew of FrontierAcademy sharing thoughts and perspectives on a current book.  For this broadcast, the debate is shifting habits, and a discussion of Charles Duhigg’s Power of Habit.  

Your background listening as you commute to work or sift through that inbox.