The 2017 Seven Small Jewels: Toffler

Tofler_Deb_Westphal

Toffler 

Headquarters: Reston, Va. Additional Offices: N/A Service Lines: Strategy, Operations Management, IT, Financial Consulting Client Industries: Homeland Security, Federal Government

Billable Consultants 2014: 19 2015: 23 2016: 27

Revenue (in millions) 2014: $6.1 2015: $12.7 2016: $16.8

Toffler Associates is in the disruption business, says CEO Deborah Westphal. And it’s been that way since the very beginning.

Futurists and authors of Future Shock and The Third Wave, Alvin and Heidi Toffler, together with former KPMG executive Tom Johnson, founded Toffler Associates in 1996 as an outgrowth of their work with global political and business leaders, forecasting key shifts that would later disrupt society and industry. They insisted, however, their firm approach consulting differently, led by the primary imperative of helping organizations succeed in the “Third Wave,” or knowledge era.

As an early client of the firm, Westphal experienced that difference first-hand, and after being recruited by Al himself, has been with the firm nearly since its inception. She’s been CEO for 10 years.

“Our client engagements are a testament to the legacy of the Tofflers’ work and mission to create a better future for our clients and society through the work we do,” Westphal says. “The increasing pace of change and pressure on today’s leaders to make good decisions in the face of such change has contributed significantly to our growth. As more industries are disrupted and more companies see benefit in disrupting themselves, they seek partners like us to come out stronger on the other side of that disruption.”

After experiencing its own disruption several years ago, Westphal says Toffler is more disciplined in pursuing opportunities that align with its value proposition. “We’re a small firm by design, but have enjoyed growth in both staffing and revenue as an increasingly global landscape creates greater demand for a business partner who understands the changing global landscape and who can deliver actionable guidance to chart a more sustainable growth plan.”

Last year, Reston, Va.-based Toffler, grew at a respectable 32 percent; very impressive considering the firm only added four consultants. The year before, Toffler also added four consultants but grew at a dizzying 108 percent. Westphal expects to double Toffler’s revenue in the next few years, and develop a more robust commercial and international client base to complement its very strong public sector portfolio.

Currently, a considerable portion of Toffler’s work is in the Public Sector and having a team in place with the right skills and qualifications, particularly regarding the security and protection of critical infrastructure, is critical to capturing opportunities in that space, she says. “Just as important, though, is building a team whose collective experience and expertise allows us to offer a broader perspective and different way of thinking to our clients.”

Toffler’s biggest opportunities are related to strategy, as senior executives face new and different challenges in growing their businesses, Westphal says. As the pace of change continues to increase and innovation cycles grow even shorter, time becomes an even more valued resource.

“We’re at an interesting time in both our company’s and the country’s history and the intersection of those is exciting,” she says. “The significant changes in the past year that are altering the global landscape—Brexit, human migration, the U.S. presidential election, and related societal shifts, are driving disruption of a scale we haven’t seen in a long time.”

Companies who’ve prepared for such disruption are poised to capitalize on the opportunities arising from it. “The increasing correlation between challenges plaguing government and enterprise leaders challenges us to transfer our deep work in the public sector to helping commercial companies solve very similar problems.”

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