Thought Meetings Featured in Gazelle’s Newsletter



As someone who has followed Verne Harnish’s newsletter for years it was very exciting to be included in one of them. After talking with Thought Ensemble CEO and co-founder Jim Smelley, Verne wrote a piece about our internal Thought meetings in his weekly “Growth Guy” column. These Thought meetings are a core part of who we are as a company and are something that we truly value and enjoy, so it was a great distinction to be able to share this with a person of such great acumen as Verne. Here’s what was featured:

Strategy Think Time — monthly “Thought” meetings have helped propel Denver-based Thought Ensemble, a technology strategy consultancy, to more than double its size last year, and to double again this year with $6 million in revenue and 24 employees ($250k/employee — impressive). Notes Jim Smelley, co-founder and CEO:

One of our key differentiators is our Thoughts: new and innovative ideas to solve our clients’ complex technical problems. We have found that this is heavily dependent on giving ourselves and our teams the time to think through and explore client issues. To encourage this we conduct monthly Thought meetings.

‘Thought’ was initially an agenda item for a broader company meeting. “We encouraged team members to bring tough client challenges to our ensemble for discussion, however, we found that while the intent was good (and we had sporadically good results), we ended up rushing through the thought topic – and we were not very thoughtful,” explains Jim.

Two-Hour Monthly (Single) Strategy Discussion — Jim continues, “We have since re-structured the Thought meeting to be a dedicated time that takes place monthly. We focus on a single topic each month and send pre-read materials and questions before each meeting. The questions and responses are used to drive a two hour discussion on a single topic. During the meeting team members sign up to write related blog posts which are then posted as thought leadership on our company blog.

Strategy “Cerebrations” — Each month, we also award “Cerebrations” for the best blogs or whitepapers from the month. (We know it’s a cheesy title, but hey, we’re consultants. Isn’t that requited?)” Concludes Jim, “our last Thought Meeting focused on technology innovation. We conducted a lively conversation and debate and then set out to produce Thought pieces. It’s working. Our small company wrote dozens of articles read by thousands (perhaps tens of thousands) of people.”