Kenway Consulting is squarely focused on not just delivering quality work, but doing that work rooted in the firm’s guiding principles of always acting with integrity. It’s been a winning formula for the Chicago-based firm, which has seen its numbers balloon in recent years. As it reached 50 total employees, it’s broadened its senior leadership team, creating for the first time ever a Managing Director position. Kenway veteran Matt Kueker was tapped to fill that role, and will oversee all aspects of the firm’s business. We caught up with Kueker to talk about his new role, and how the importance of Kenway’s culture and principles guide everything they do.
Consulting: What led to Kenway creating the position of Managing Director?
Kueker: It was largely a decision of scale. My domino was one of many that fell. Along with my position, we also created some new leadership opportunities for some very deserving employees. A big thing I wanted out of the new organizational structure was fresh perspectives in leadership. Being a small, rapidly growing firm, a lot of the early joiners had all worked together before. So a lot of that early leadership structure was implied, a lot of people that had known each other and had strong voices in the room. Over time we’ve hired a bunch of really smart, culturally aligned, driven folks and I was really looking forward to getting some of those voices in our rooms and their fresh perspectives on things.
Consulting: How are you going to help Kenway continue its growth trajectory?
Kueker: As it relates to growth, we’ve done quite well growing from 1 to roughly 50 people. In the last few years the growth trajectory has been even better. We went with a very entrepreneurial approach, we’ve hired really smart, hard-working, culturally aligned people, and through entrepreneurial spirt and tenacity is really how we went to market. We’ve formed service offerings around our peoples’ passions and talent, and it’s been great. It’s been a big part of feeding back into our strong culture. As we look to growth beyond 50, to wherever we land, I believe we need some strategy about how we go to market to get a bit more focused, really looking at our service offerings, emphasizing them based on our true core competencies, and looking at our clients and where we see demand in the marketplace.
Consulting: Culture is very important at Kenway, how does firm culture tie into continued growth?
Kueker: First and foremost in thinking towards the future and growth, the biggest challenge I want to make sure we get right is to maintain our strong culture. We call it our “Why” to help and be helped. Part of that is helping our clients, but an equally important part of that is helping our employees. We’re going to make sure that our guiding principles are a big part of our culture, which fundamentally can be summarized as being great and doing all things with integrity. We put a lot of time over the years into making sure corporate culture remains strong, and evolves in the manner we’d like it to. As we look to the future for growth I want to make sure we’re investing internally to make sure our culture continues to be what it is today and even better.
Consulting: What are the big market opportunities you’re looking at for Kenway?
Kueker: Similar to getting our strategies in line, we want to make sure we’re deliberate about it as well. One area in which we go to market now and are doing quite a bit of work with clients is around data governance through data management and the more technical aspects of creating data warehouses, business intelligence and analytics. That’s a good area for us now, and I think if you start looking at things like big data and predictive analytics, there are tangential opportunities where we’re already playing in that market where we’re seeing a lot of excitement with our current clients and in the broader market. There are a lot of opportunities within that information insight capability to help clients make better decisions and even predict where they’re going to go with their own businesses in the future.
Consulting: What are you seeing on the client side in terms of challenges?
Kueker: Data is very big for all of our clients right now. They’re realizing they have a lot of it internally and there’s even more available to them through various external means, and it’s a matter of harnessing it and figuring out what to do with it. That’s a big demand area right now, trying to make better, more data-driven decisions to drive their business forward. Our clients are starting to understand that investment in IT is very important. We’re finding businesses are realizing that investing in technology is fundamentally in line with investing in their people. So there’s a lot of work we’re doing right now in the IT strategy/IT governance spaces, even helping our clients figure out where where best to invest and make sure they’re getting commensurate ROI out of those IT investments.
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