One on One with Navigate's Rob Kathol

Philadelphia-based Navigate Consulting is a young firm that debuted in magazine as one of our Seven to Watch as part of our Seven Small Jewels 2014 ranking. This was in part owed to the firm’s tremendous growth over the past two years—42 percent in 2013. Founder and Managing Partner Rob Kathol says Navigate’s approach is different than many other firms.

Rob Kathol Philadelphia-based Navigate Consulting is a young firm that debuted in Consulting magazine as one of our Seven to Watch as part of our Seven Small Jewels 2014 ranking. This was in part owed to the firm’s tremendous growth over the past two years—42 percent in 2013, and they’ve far exceeded their projected 65 percent growth this year, being on track to achieve 105 percent. Founder and Managing Partner Rob Kathol says Navigate’s approach is different than many other firms in that they take the time to really understand how an organization works from the inside to ensure it places the right people on the right engagements. Kathol sat down with Consulting to talk about how the firm blazed a trail to exponential growth and how staying true to its core values got it there. Consulting: You’ve seen impressive recent growth numbers. What’s been the secret?

Kathol: We’ve had tremendous growth this year, both on the revenue side but probably more importantly on our team. The capability and foundation we’ve built is probably what I’m more excited about than the revenue growth. Full-time Navigate employees perform the majority of the work that we do. Some have come from traditional Big 4 firms, some from industry, some from other boutique consulting firms. Right now we’re right around 40 full-time employees, about 35 billable. We understand from time to time to manage our bench risk, so we use anywhere between 5-8 subcontractors that work in conjunction with our teams to deliver for clients. Some of them we’ve been working with as long or longer than some of our employees. Consulting: What’s fueling the growth?

Kathol: We live and breathe core values every day. That was established immediately when the company was founded. When you operate under that culture it’s important to define that so you can message that to people coming in. The service areas we work in are very important, but nothing is more important but how we do what we do. How we treat each other, how we treat our clients, how we treat competitors is really the heart and soul of the company. The clients really feel that. When you walk into our office or talk to our people you really know what we’re all about.

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