Index

OUR NON-NEGOTIABLES: INTELLECTUAL CURIOSITY

At The Gunter Group, the leadership traits and characteristics that define us are our Non-Negotiables: Collaborative, Integrity, Intellectual Curiosity, Thrives in Ambiguity, Emotional Intelligence, and Grounded Confidence. These traits and characteristics guide us every day in our interactions with clients, each other, and our community.

When I think of intellectual curiosity, I think of someone who is constantly yearning for new input and has a natural curiosity to learn and understand complex systems. Someone who is aware of their blind spots, has the motivation to seek out additional expertise when needed, and focuses on improving their decision making abilities.  

At The Gunter Group, we search for individuals who exhibit intellectual curiosity because this trait tends to be a significant indicator of someone who makes good decisions and thoughtful recommendations. Almost everything we do in consulting is about helping our clients make the most informed decisions possible, ranging from small-scale projects to strategic visioning.  

I was recently talking to a client about some challenges a potential client was having with Workday. They had already implemented the software but it wasn’t operating well—business units weren’t happy and were finding it difficult to agree on ways to improve it. Frustration was growing and their leadership team approached us, asking for process improvement and system configuration to resolve the issues. 

So, I got curious about their situation, wanting to dig into the root cause of the problem and determine the underlying causes of frustration. As we talked further, the CIO shared more about each business unit and their respective leaders. It became clear that they were unable to find consensus when it came to problems stemming from the application. Even when they could agree on WHAT should be done, they would disagree on HOW. 

Through a series of conversations, I helped the client pivot from the assumption that they had a Workday problem to a realization that their core issue was around decision making and governance. Now we are working with this client to address the root cause of their issues and it was my curious inclination that led to a solution which will have lasting impacts within their organization. 

On a more personal level, intellectual curiosity has been a recurrent theme throughout my life. My undergraduate experience was a function of my interest to rigorously investigate the philosophical roots of my own belief system. I found the most difficult program I could, one that would challenge me on multiple levels, and pursued it as a source of intellectual growth. My military career was punctuated by the sheer enjoyment I found in having to learn new jobs frequently. The life of a Junior Officer in the Navy was one in which I made frequent role changes in order to quickly learn how to effectively balance mission completion and shipboard life. 

And now, as a Principal Consultant and a Market Leader for TGG, managing work across multiple clients in multiple states, my career in consulting is still satisfying my thirst for knowledge because of the opportunity to learn new things with every new client engagement. Enjoying the opportunity to shift from client to client is one of the main reasons consultants enjoy what they do and that is certainly true for me. It fosters both intellectual curiosity and engagement with the work itself. I’ve always said that I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up; a sentiment stemming from curiosity in many different domains. Consulting is where my natural intellectual curiosity intersects with the real world and TGG offers the opportunity to grow and thrive in a constantly shifting environment. 


More about Tony Schweiss:
Tony builds teams to support strategic change initiatives and helps leaders plan for highly impactful change. Thriving in the face of complex problems, he brings clarity to ambiguous situations and organizational questions. Leaders quickly come to trust Tony as a partner in making their tough decisions. A former Surface Warfare Officer in the U.S. Navy, Tony’s leadership and management philosophy is tempered by a career of bringing calm and planning to high-impact, high-stress scenarios. His track record of success in defining and overcoming challenges in demanding environments has led to consistent portrayals of him as an outstanding manager and a leader among his peers. 

OUR NON-NEGOTIABLES: INTEGRITY

At The Gunter Group, the leadership traits and characteristics that define us are our Non-Negotiables: Collaborative, Integrity, Intellectual Curiosity, Thrives in Ambiguity, Emotional Intelligence, and Grounded Confidence. These traits and characteristics guide us every day in our interactions with clients, each other, and our community.

Thinking of INTEGRITY as something that is non-negotiable requires that you define it as so much more than simply the absence of questionable behavior. At The Gunter Group, integrity is actively demonstrated in everything we do and is baked into the fabric of our culture, business, and day-to-day work.

Sometimes making choices based on integrity can be difficult or unpopular, but it’s critical in our work that we be willing to say what needs to be said.

Before joining The Gunter Group, I spent six years in the seminary, a career that offered no shortage of time spent discussing the meaning of integrity. My pastoral experience taught me how hard it can be to translate ethical theories into action—especially in the business world. When I first heard someone at The Gunter Group talking about integrity as a non-negotiable, I was skeptical. However, I quickly saw tangible evidence that not only convinced me of their commitment, but actually deepened my understanding of what true integrity looks like.

As an employee, I expect my employer to treat me with dignity and respect. In this way, The Gunter Group exemplifies this kind of integrity on a daily basis. The transparency and candor of our leadership team, the fact that they seek and incorporate feedback, and honor the diversity of experience, perspectives, and needs of employees sets the tone for the entire company. I’ve seen our Partners make long-term investments in their people, even at the expense of short-term gains. Rather than seeking growth and profit for their own sake, they see building a successful business as a means to provide opportunities for their employees and constantly seek improvement in everything from our 401k and health benefits to family-friendly policies and events.

In our work with clients, we practice integrity by focusing on results, first and foremost, and being truly worthy of trust as opposed to gaining it as a means to an end.

Each consultant contributes to The Gunter Group’s commitment to integrity. Sometimes making choices based on integrity can be difficult or unpopular, but it’s critical in our work that we be willing to say what needs to be said. No matter which client we are currently working with, integrity requires an honest assessment of our abilities, asking for help when needed, and following through on commitments. Additionally, integrity means celebrating a culture of inclusion and collaboration, always taking responsibility for ourselves and our work, and sharing credit where credit is due.  

In our work with clients, we practice integrity by focusing on results, first and foremost, and being truly worthy of trust as opposed to gaining it as a means to an end. When speaking about our clients and peers’ challenges and business problems, we do so with empathy and respect. We look for opportunities to exceed expectations and favor building an organization’s capacity over increasing their dependence on us. 

“Have the courage to say no.”

~W. Clement Stone

Finally, The Gunter Group embodies integrity by being willing to say “no.” On many occasions, I’ve seen The Gunter Group turn down work that didn’t align with our values. When the best solution for a client is one that doesn’t involve us, we recommend it anyway, even if it means less business for us in the short-term. 

When every decision is made through the lens of integrity, what many organizations think of as “nice to have” becomes fundamental. 

LEADING THROUGH CRISIS, OUR VETERANS’ PERSPECTIVE

At The Gunter Group, we are fortunate to have several military veterans on our team who have deep experience leading in times of crisis. They sat down with one of our consultants, Laura Emily, for a conversation about how they are leaning on their backgrounds in the service to navigate our current environment.  

We invite you to join us for this rich discussion on the parallels between leading in a warzone or humanitarian environment and leading in a business environment impacted by the coronavirus. Read on below to learn more about each speaker and the leadership topics they cover in the video.

WATCH NOW


Matt Bader

Oregon Market Lead and Principal Consultant
Served 5 years as a Captain in the Air Force

Listen to Matt speak about “Balancing Compassion With Accomplishing a Mission

Matt’s passion and leadership purpose is all about helping teams reach their highest potential. He loves building and leading high-performing teams and seeing what can be accomplished when strong values, sound strategy, and a relentless commitment to execution collide. He is a trusted advisor that thrives on building lasting partnerships and driving high-quality solutions for clients. As a results-driven leader with more than 14 years of leadership, strategy, project management, and process improvement experience in a wide variety of complex environments, Matt brings a deep knowledge of implementing enterprise-wide transformations across people, process, and technology domains. He has built and led multifunctional teams to deliver successful solutions in a number of industries to include: retail, education, financial services, healthcare, and government. Matt graduated from the United States Air Force Academy with a B.S. in business management in 2006 and has certifications in program management, LEAN, and contract management. He has spent the majority of his academic, military, and consulting career studying and employing character-based leadership principles in challenging and ambiguous environments. Outside of being a loving husband and father, Matt enjoys the intersection of all things hockey, heavy metal, fitness, and beer.

Tony Schweiss

Northern Nevada Market Lead and Principal Consultant
Served 4 years as a Lieutenant in the Navy

Listen to Tony speak about “Resiliency During Crisis”

Tony builds teams to support strategic change initiatives and helps leaders plan for highly impactful change. Thriving in the face of complex problems, he brings clarity to ambiguous situations and organizational questions. Leaders quickly come to trust Tony as a partner in making their tough decisions. A former Surface Warfare Officer in the U.S. Navy, Tony’s leadership and management philosophy is tempered by a career of bringing calm and planning to high-impact, high-stress scenarios. His track record of success in defining and overcoming challenges in demanding environments has led to consistent portrayals of him as an outstanding manager and a leader among his peers. His skill set is under-girded by his formal education in the Humanities, holding a Bachelors Honors degree in both philosophy and theology from the University of Notre Dame. In addition to an aggressive reading habit, Tony is deeply interested in everything that the Sierra Nevada mountains have to offer. Sun, snow, backpacking, and skiing all keep him, his wife, and kids busy in their free time.

Noah Rich

Senior Consultant
Served 6 years as a Captain in the Air Force

Listen to Noah speak about “Maintaining Confidence, Connection, and Healthy Habits”

Noah has a clear record of success in driving strategic initiatives across a broad spectrum of industries and business functions. Curious by nature, Noah is able to quickly develop a deep understanding of business problems, develop structured plans, and manage teams to deliver positive results. Noah’s professional experience includes work in government, IT, finance, insurance, manufacturing, construction, health care, education, and international business. He holds a M.B.A from the University of Colorado and a B.S. in meteorology from the U.S. Air Force Academy. Outside of work, Noah spends more time than he should cycling around Oregon.

Joe Spampinato

Account Lead and Senior Consultant
Served 7 years active duty and 3 years in the reserves as a Major in the Marine Corps

Listen to Joe speak about “Maintaining Momentum”

Joseph thrives in digital product and marketing management because of his affinity for analytics and the relative immediacy of data-driven change. Whether managing a host of agencies, internal teams or directly implementing strategies and tactics, he has a wealth of experience bringing products and projects to market. Joseph has more than 15 years experience leading teams, serving in product management, marketing, commercial operations and other roles in the consumer, pharma, life science and technology industries. Whether leading startups to profitable operations or managing multi-million dollar omni-channel marketing budgets, Joseph has demonstrated a path to success, regardless of scale. He earned an M.B.A in marketing from the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business. Outside of work, Joe is manifesting patience and unconditional love with his two teenage children. On weekends, look for Joseph in the backcountry of the Cascades, cooking for a cycling camp or racing cyclocross.

Jim Calko

Account Lead and Senior Consultant
Served 5.5 years as a Captain in the Army

Listen to Jim speak about “Building Your Team”

Jim’s collaborative, servant leader approach has earned him the reputation of being a problem solver who consistently gets things done. He has the unique ability to marry tactical actions with strategic outcomes. Jim’s experience spans across multiple industries including military, high tech manufacturing, eCommerce and health care sectors. His areas of expertise are program management, software and new product development, process improvement, and communications strategy. Jim holds an M.B.A. from the University of Portland, an M.A. in human relations from the University of Oklahoma, and a B.A. in political science from Youngstown State University. He is also a Scrum Master and Scaled Agile (SAFe) 4.0 certified.

A LETTER FROM OUR FOUNDING PARTNER

I founded The Gunter Group in 2011. Like many people that start companies, one of my primary motivators was to create an organization that could reflect my own values and interests. Integrity, trust, service to clients, authenticity, transparency, leadership…all of those were (and are) important to me. 

Many people that joined TGG early on are still with the company almost nine years later, and have been joined by many more talented, energetic, and awesome people. On my team, not only do I know the TGGers, I know their spouses, partners and significant others, kids (many since they were born), and a bunch of pets. That’s the way I always wanted it, and I have always felt a strong sense of responsibility for my team.

We have built an incredible group, we have the privilege of serving a wonderful group of client organizations, and we are deeply committed to supporting the communities in which we work. We have built TGG into a sustainable company with a solid foundation and we had a great start to 2020.

And then, COVID-19 happened. The universe saw things differently.

As I write this, we are completing our seventh full week of stay-at-home orders and 100% remote working. Now that some of the initial adjustment shock has worn off, I have spent some time reflecting on our purpose as an organization, the actions we have taken, and some of what may lie ahead.

First, what brings us TGGers together is a shared purpose: we exist to help our team, clients, and communities thrive. The mechanism that gives us the means to achieve our purpose is our company, and we need to survive current circumstances and come out the other side intact for us to continue to be of service. We have taken several steps to ensure the continuity of our business. We applied for the SBA Paycheck Protection Plan loan, and ensured our line of credit was up to date. We signed up for regular communications and updates with government officials in our markets. We formed a COVID-19 focused subgroup within our leadership team, are constantly sharing and discussing information we see, and forming our action plan for going forward. 20% of TGG team members are veterans, and we are leaning on their experience leading in times of crisis (we will share those experiences in an upcoming video).

Second, we have focused on the health and well-being of our team. Transparency is important to us and we have been radically transparent with our team about what we are doing. We have increased communication significantly, and have weekly all-company video calls in addition to written updates. Our leaders have stepped up the frequency of 1:1 meetings with the people on their teams. We have virtual happy hours to keep everyone across the company connected.

Third, we have doubled down on client service. It goes without saying that our clients are our lifeblood and serving them well is what we do best. Some of our client companies are struggling, and it has been painful to experience that with them—they are our colleagues and friends. We have gotten creative wherever we could to ensure continuity of work, working alongside our client teams. We have shared our own experiences in dealing with things like working remotely and in being adaptable wherever helpful. One of our senior consultants recently joined a client team to manage workstreams in their centralized task force setup to manage COVID-19 response efforts.

Fourth, we are considering what comes next. We are thinking deeply about our services, how they are delivered, and what will be most impactful in the future. We are sharing best practices for working in a more digitized world with our clients and networks. We are deepening several of our partnerships with other firms. We are continuing to recruit and look for exceptional talent to join our company when the time is right. In short, we are trying to straddle the line between being realistic about the uncertainty of our current circumstances, but yet remaining optimistic and hopeful about working our way through it.

There is tremendous uncertainty regarding what happens in the next few months, and beyond. I do not believe we will quickly get back to what used to be normal as soon as we start to reopen. I think there will be a slow transition back to something that seems more normal than the circumstances in which we currently find ourselves, but there will be lasting impacts on how we get work done. I think there will be a lot more remote working, video calls, and less travel. There will be more distributed teams. Leaders need to be ready to help people make the transition and be compassionate in their support. For those of us with kids, there will continue to be disruption in childcare and education, and that will reverberate into the workplace. Flexible arrangements will not only be a benefit, they will be necessary.

But there are silver linings in what we have learned. As contrary to inclination as it sounds, our team is communicating with each other better than ever, and in a deeper, more productive way. We are strengthening our most important relationships in our networks outside the company with our clients, partners, and communities because we are working together more closely than ever. And we are not the only ones: we recently conducted a survey and facilitated a webinar on change management in uncertain times in which 70% of respondents said many of their relationships have been strengthened in the last six weeks. I have found it has been helpful just having people in your network to talk to and understand shared experiences.

As we navigate our way through the circumstances caused by COVID-19, we remain focused on our shared purpose as an organization: to work so that our team, our clients, and our communities thrive. Our core values at TGG—honesty, integrity, radical transparency, ability to thrive in ambiguity, taking care of each other—are the pillars on which we lean to navigate through uncertainty. The pillars are more important now than ever. No one has all the answers right now, but whether you are facing a critical moment today or not, we would love to talk to you about our experiences and how our team might help. We remain ready to serve. 


Mike is passionate about client service and leading people. He enjoys watching people grow, develop, and discover their true path. Mike is a visionary and forward thinker with extensive multinational experience and a proven track record of serving clients. With more than 25 years of business leadership and consulting in a wide variety of challenging and ambiguous environments, Mike got his start in the industry at Deloitte Consulting and has since held executive leadership positions in consulting, supply chain services, and public education organizations.

COVID-19: OUR COMMITMENT IN DIFFICULT TIMES

As a global community, we have entered unprecedented and challenging times with major social, governmental, and economic disruptions stemming from COVID-19. Significant concerns around our health and the health of our loved ones and friends, economic dislocation and uncertainty, and the future are on all of our minds. What is certain, however, is that we are all facing this crisis together, and the immediate impacts are real and rapidly evolving.

Our consultants take pride in living out a culture centered around our non-negotiables. Like many of you, over the past few days we have had challenging conversations about how to process the unfolding events and the resulting impacts that each of us is experiencing. We have reacted quickly to adjust the way we work together, making the space for our team to have open and honest conversations about the challenges we all are facing.

How can we balance compassion and commitment to containment efforts with the responsibilities we have to support our families, our coworkers, and our broader communities?

The scope and impacts of COVID-19 are unknown at this point, but the uncomfortable reality is that it is already impacting our communities significantly. Our team has been discussing how we can continue to carry out our lives in the midst of the circumstances in which we find ourselves. We have been asking ourselves how we can balance compassion and commitment to containment efforts with the responsibilities we have to support our families, our coworkers, and our broader communities. These are difficult topics with which we are all wrestling to understand and navigate as the days unfold. 

The Gunter Group exists to help realize the potential of our clients, our consultants, and our communities. We are doing our best to support our team and we are working with our clients and the broader business community to support them as well. We are all experiencing real and immediate business challenges in the face of the COVID-19 outbreak. Our commitment to deep partnership and delivering real business value has never been more important than in this time of crisis and we are getting creative in order to support our clients when and where they need us most. 

The realities of COVID-19 are unique, but there are core principles for dealing with crisis that we have learned transcend the specifics of this event: remember your core values, focus on the mission, dramatically increase communications, and give your team the support they need to continue moving forward.

We are both Veterans, and have experience leading teams in difficult times and situations. Our unique team also brings years of experience in crisis operations to our clients, whether it is responding to unexpected, external shocks or leading military service members in war zones. Our experience leading in times of crisis drives how we respond to COVID-19, and how we focus our firm’s response. We keep core values, or non-negotiables in our case, at the heart of everything we do. The realities of COVID-19 are unique, but there are core principles for dealing with crisis that we have learned transcend the specifics of this event: remember your core values, focus on the mission, dramatically increase communications, and give your team the support they need to continue moving forward. Most of all, we know that now more than ever, caring for the personal and professional intersections of your workforce and community matters.

We will continue to share practices we have put in place for our own team, but we are also actively living out our commitment to our clients:

Crisis Management–leading, coordinating, or supporting unexpected challenges that have arisen as a result of COVID-19.

Business Continuity–partnering with clients to plan and execute business continuity efforts across a range of business models and industries.

Strategic Momentum–helping clients continue to move their long-term, strategic initiatives forward as they navigate timeline and resource challenges.

Human Resource Constraints–providing interim leadership and staff support for a number of clients in the face of uncertainty.

As this pandemic continues to develop, it will require adaptability to address evolving challenges. However, we know that we will get through this challenge together by focusing on our non-negotiables, remaining committed to our people, clients and communities, and being creative in the face of uncertainty.

We wish everyone in our communities the best as we all continue to navigate through the COVID-19 outbreak.

Tony Schweiss, Principal and Reno Market Leader. Tony builds teams to support strategic change initiatives and helps leaders plan for highly impactful change. Thriving in the face of complex problems, he brings clarity to ambiguous situations and organizational questions. Leaders quickly come to trust Tony as a partner in making their tough decisions. 

Matt Bader, Principal and Portland Market Leader. Matt’s passion and leadership purpose is all about helping teams reach their highest potential. He loves building and leading high-performing teams and seeing what can be accomplished when strong values, sound strategy, and a relentless commitment to execution collide. He is a trusted advisor who thrives on building lasting partnerships and driving high-quality solutions for clients.

TGG RELEASES NEW COMPANY VIDEO

As part of our recognition as one of the nation’s Best Small Firms to Work For by Consulting Magazine, we put together this short video summarizing our unique, “listen first” approach and showcasing some of the people and values that make The Gunter Group such a rewarding place to work. We are so grateful for our team of talented consultants, the clients we get to serve, and the communities in which we live and work. Together, they create meaningful opportunities to solve problems and grow a thriving business. Special thanks to Magaurn Video Media for their outstanding production work that so beautifully represents The Gunter Group. We look forward to seeing how our firm continues to evolve and grow in the year ahead and remain deeply committed to the mission, values, and people who helped us get where we are today.

OUR NON-NEGOTIABLES: EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE

At The Gunter Group, the leadership traits and characteristics that define us are our Non-NegotiablesCollaborative, Integrity, Intellectual Curiosity, Thrives in Ambiguity, Emotional Intelligence, and Grounded Confidence. These traits and characteristics guide us every day in our interactions with clients, each other, and our community.

At the Gunter Group, we consider EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE, or “EQ,” essential for understanding and solving complex problems. In short, emotional intelligence is the ability to understand and manage emotions in yourself and others. For us, it’s about more than accurately reading and adapting to social cues, although this is an important part of EQ. It’s pulling from the depths of our intelligence, experience, and heart to show up fully for ourselves, each other, and our clients. It’s an approach that not only feels great but gets the best possible results.

As consultants we’re accustomed to a steep learning curve, but EQ requires serious commitment to truly master and cannot be built overnight.

While emotional intelligence is often referred to as a “soft” skill, we think of it as quite a hard one – both in terms of tangible value and difficulty to master. I recall taking an EQ assessment early in my career for a job in the hospitality industry. What I thought of as sophisticated and mature responses at the time I now think of as cringeworthy. “Where was my self-awareness?!?” I think now, after gaining much experience and insight in the years since. It certainly didn’t come easily or overnight. I’ve learned that other skills can be taught, and as consultants we’re accustomed to a steep learning curve, but EQ requires serious commitment to truly master and cannot be built overnight, hence why it is one of the most important traits we look for when growing our team.

EQ enables us to challenge the status quo and deliver success without pushing too hard or coming in like a bull in a china shop. 

As stewards of our client relationships, our consultants must demonstrate the highest degree of emotional intelligence. With this in place, we can trust them to assess and respond to situations appropriately, enlist support as needed, persevere through challenges, and moderate their own impulses, especially during times of stress. Exceptional EQ also means being aware of potential burnout, building individual resilience, and integrating work into a fulfilling and healthy life. When our consultants thrive in and out of the office, they deliver outstanding value for the long haul.

Furthermore, emotional intelligence is essential for our other five non-negotiables, enabling and amplifying our most important traits. For example:

— Self-awareness, a component of EQ, keeps the ego in check (grounded confidence).

— We can sense when someone feels unheard or steamrolled and adjust accordingly to cultivate trust within a group (collaboration).

— Connecting to our own emotions keeps us rooted in a strong moral compass (integrity).

— Giving, receiving, and integrating feedback makes continuous learning and improvement possible (intellectual curiosity).

— High EQ people are better able to maintain optimism and intrinsic motivation in the face of uncertainty and rapid change (thrives in ambiguity).

Research shows that emotional intelligence in the workplace helps establish the psychological safety proven to increase group intelligence which then drives innovation. As one of our non-negotiables, EQ enables us to challenge the status quo and deliver success without pushing too hard or coming in like a bull in a china shop. 

Finally, when we enter a new engagement, understanding perceptions is crucial. I’ve been on the other side, when your company brings in an “outsider.” It can feel like a stranger who knows nothing about you or your work telling you how to do your job. We understand a degree of skepticism or even resistance to partnering outside your organization. Our clients have tremendous ownership and expertise – they are right to be protective of their work! It’s from a place of empathy and self-awareness that we navigate the at times tricky role of “third party” to eventually become true partners and trusted advisors. With emotional intelligence as a cornerstone, we know from experience that our non-negotiables will always lead to the best possible outcome for everyone.

TGG COMPANY RETREAT: A CHANCE TO CONCENTRATE ON WHAT COUNTS

Employee satisfaction is a tough nut to crack. 

Keeping employees satisfied is worth it: Forbes found that satisfied employees are more productive and profitable, and more likely to stick around. Everyone can agree that increased output and limited turnover are consequences that are worth investment.

To help companies understand their employees, there are a number of organizations that try to quantify what makes employees happy. If you were assuming that the sole factor in employee satisfaction is good pay, then you would be incorrect. Pay usually doesn’t even make the top of the list. 

Don’t believe me? Look at the data. The Conference Board polled 1,500 workers and found that the single most influential component in job satisfaction was “People at Work.” Wages factored all the way down the list at 11th. Your coworkers contribute more to your job satisfaction than your paycheck.

Other studies corroborate. Boston Consulting Group surveyed 200,000 people around the world on a number of topics, and found that the 4 categories that contributed the most to “happiness on the job” were: Appreciation for Work, Good Relationship with Colleagues, Work-Life Balance, and Good Relationship with Superiors. Gallup found almost identical results in their survey.

The point is this: to keep your employees satisfied and engaged, you have to treat them well. If they like being around one another, like being around their boss, and feel valued for their contributions, then they will be happier and more engaged. 

This is where The Gunter Group shines. 

Focusing on What Matters

Last week, The Gunter Group hosted its annual Company Offsite Retreat. Consultants gathered in Sunriver, OR with their partners, children, and pets, and enjoyed a weekend away from work reconnecting with their colleagues and their families.  

In addition to a number of social activities, TGG also used the Offsite Retreat as an opportunity to reflect on what matters. Mike and Ashleigh Gunter, the Founding and Managing Partners of the firm, created a new award internal to the firm. They decided to periodically highlight individuals who exemplify the TGG’s Non-Negotiables. This time around, Mike and Ashleigh highlighted 3 consultants: Ande Olsen, Beth Woods, and Kara O’Connor. 

Earlier this year, this team came together outside of the workplace. Ande ruptured his Achilles Tendon in an accident. After surgery, Beth offered to let Ande stay with her family for the first few days of his recovery. Once he was back on his feet, Kara offered to switch cars with Ande so he didn’t have to drive a stick shift with his left leg in a boot. On top of this, Mike and Ashleigh helped Ande with some delivered meals and allowed him to be flexible with his work hours during recovery. 

To the client, things remained business as usual; behind the scenes was a team of individuals that supported and cared for one another in ways that extended beyond the office. 

Mike and Ashleigh set out to create a company that puts its people first, and the Company Offsite was yet another example of their success in doing so. And as the polls suggest, an environment like this contributes to success. TGG not only continues to grow year after year, but they consistently rank among the best places to work. TGG has been recognized by the Oregon Business Journal as one of the Best Places to Work in Oregon for five years in a row. Just last week, Consulting Magazine placed TGG 4th on the list of “Top Small Firms to Work For” in the country. 

Interested in learning more about The Gunter Group? Check out our recent features in Consulting Magazine and the Oregon Business Journal

OUR NON-NEGOTIABLES: GROUNDED CONFIDENCE

At The Gunter Group, the leadership traits and characteristics that define us are our Non-NegotiablesCollaborative, Integrity, Intellectual Curiosity, Thrives in Ambiguity, Emotional Intelligence, and Grounded Confidence. These traits and characteristics guide us every day in our interactions with clients, each other, and our community.

GROUNDED CONFIDENCE is an integral part of our company culture. It is in the fiber of who we are and how we lead. This approach to leadership is built on self-awareness and a recognition that we do not have all the answers but also confidence that we have the ability to overcome incredible challenges. 

As a veteran, the concept of grounded confidence was a product of necessity to navigate the challenges of leading in the military. It became something that I intentionally practice and work hard to exemplify.

Being dropped into a deployment situation is inherently hard to describe. Nothing is intuitive. When you first deploy you have to reconstruct the fundamental context for how to function on a day to day basis from scratch. The foundational questions are endless, leaving you feeling vulnerable and exposed. It is an incredibly humbling experience.

Yet you have no choice but to persevere and tackle the unknown. And while the feeling of encountering the unknown is almost always uncomfortable, grounded confidence is knowing that you have the strength to move forward and lead for the betterment of the mission at hand and the people by your side.

TGG employs a number of veterans. Although nothing is the same as deploying to a foreign country, our TGG veterans embody the many parallels between the leadership traits and characteristics necessary for success in the military as well as in consulting. Grounded confidence is a key area of overlap.

We look to grounded confidence to grow our firm because we fundamentally believe that people who share this quality can accomplish great things together. By surrounding ourselves with people who flourish in the unknown, we sustain a culture that supports us in overcoming obstacles.

Whether at a client site or working with internal teams, we work collaboratively and support each other in the unknown to solve the most complex challenges. In doing so, we maximize the value we can provide our clients and the opportunities to grow and hone our own leadership skills.

The ability to lead with grounded confidence resonates with our clients. We don’t pretend to have all the answers. We don’t lead from a place of ego or superiority. Our clients’ problems change and the best solutions vary, so we opt to lead alongside our clients through unfamiliar terrain and challenging circumstances with grounded confidence. Together, we solve the most demanding problems.