Interview of the founders on the Spirit Advisors adventure
Why did you create Spirit? (the reason(s) for being)
Elodie : “You know, one of my clients once called me and said, “I love what you do because you’ve been able to make ordinary people do extraordinary things. And deep down, that’s exactly what we’re all about. That’s why we get up in the morning, that’s why Spirit was created.”
Why the 3 of you?
Bruno : “Because we’ve known each other for almost 25 years, we wanted to work with people we trust and we’re very complementary.”
Complementary in which way?
Nicolas : “We share a lot of values but we all come from different worlds: banking for Bruno, industry for Nicolas, orga/people for Elodie. This complementarity allows us to help regional banks to reorganize, as well as cutting-edge industries to waste less. And these sectors, however different they may be, may have good practices to share.”
If you had to pick the most important value you share, what would it be?
Elodie : “Difficult question : there is benevolence, sharing, personal fulfillment, but above all humility. In our company, the consultants do not wear white shirts, ties, chic suits and well shaved beards. If this were the case, we would have to ask ourselves how to make our interlocutors see the men behind our uniforms. Look at us, you’ll see personalities, not machines.”
The birth of Spirit Advisors
How was Spirit born?
Nicolas : “Spirit advisors was born in 2016, thanks to an opportunity at a client’s place that allowed us to test our model and confirm the desire to work together.”
Is it as simple as that?
Bruno : “Yes and no, the birth of Spirit is also the result of several factors: first of all meetings (we have known each other for a long time), a common love of the profession (we all come from operational consulting), complementary skills, and the desire to undertake without the disadvantages of the company.”
The disadvantages of the company, that is to say?
Nicolas : “The firm’s model and structure (a team of interns tightened around a large community of independent consultants) offers real flexibility and above all allows us to focus more on our clients than on ourselves/our internal problems.”
Which means that even the partners are involved?
Elodie : “Indeed, we are more the kind of partners who work with our teams and our clients.
The field is essential for us. And not to make pretty slides or long presentations ! We prefer action to rhetoric.”
Moreover, a new partner quickly joined the adventure?
Nicolas: ” Yes, the company is alive, it is evolving. Anders is one of the people with whom we built the project and it seemed natural to us to offer him to join us as a partner. »
Anders, who are you?
Anders: “I am originally Danish but living in London with my wife and two young children. I’ve been working in operations consulting for about 15 years, including a number of years with Hitachi Consulting where I met Nicolas.”
And what made you join the adventure?
Anders: “They made me join the adventure (laughs)! I mean Elodie, Nicolas and Bruno are real people who behave in life as they do with our clients: they listen, are demanding but always supportive. »
3 years after, are you still happy with your choice?
Anders: “Totally! At Spirit we all are the big wheels of a small machine and not the small wheels of a big machine. That’s also what our customers like. »
Spirit Advisors, another vision of consulting
What makes Spirit different from other firms is the involvement of the partners?
Bruno : “We don’t necessarily seek to be different, we are first and foremost here to make our clients shine, to help them transform themselves, achieve their goals and get results.”
And what are your secrets to achieve this?
Elodie : “There is no miracle recipe unfortunately because the same problem in 3 different companies does not solve itself in the same way (if only because the men and women who work in these companies are not the same). But there are a few ingredients that we think are important…”
Can you tell us a little more?
Bruno : “Experience already: The (independent) consultants in our community have almost 15 years of experience in consulting. This gives them a real ability to challenge. And then, we’ve known them for 10 years on average, we share the same approach to the business.
Then there’s the operational side: for us, it’s difficult to do our job properly by locking ourselves up in an office far from the reality on the ground. To fully understand a problem, we need to immerse ourselves in it, we need to be close to the teams on a daily basis.
And then, remain results-oriented: a successful transformation, whatever it is, is a transformation that gives results. When a client asks us to optimize the sales time of their teams, our approach will be guided by the results they want to achieve.”
Within these ingredients, there are also convictions. Which of these convictions motivates you the most?
Nicolas : “We are convinced that meaning is the basis of all change. In everyday life, as well as in the company’s life. Our job is to give meaning to our clients’ projects: why do it? why change? what’s in it for us? what’s the risk of not doing it?”
A final word on the current context and the impact on the business ?
Elodie : “It’s still early to define the impact of the crisis on the business. Our customers are adapting and we are adapting to our customers. But consulting is a business of exchange, relationship management, and immersion, so we are adapting maybe more than other businesses.”
What can we wish you for 2021 ?
Anders : All the best for everyone of us, and for Spirit as well (laughs)