FLEXIBILITY (n) Susceptibility to modification and adaptation

ACME

  • 73 Employees
  • Rotating dinner parties hosted by bosses

As consultants—those most mysterious creatures of the work world—the people at Acme help businesses solve problems. When a client can’t untangle an organizational knot or figure out a new process, Acme’s experts step in.

Appropriately enough, Acme itself began as a solution to a problem: the consulting industry’s brutal culture of constant travel. “We all worked for big, traditional consultancies,” says Peter Lizotte, one of three founders. “You’re never home.” (Think of George Clooney, drifting through Up in the Air.)

So in 2002, Acme flipped the model: it takes on only local clients. (Branch offices in Seattle and San Diego lend range.) For veteran consultants like Kari Nordquist—who spent seven years at mammoth international firm Accenture flying out on Mondays and home on Fridays—“home” could evolve beyond just another destination. “I got to have a life,” the mother of two (above) says. “I got to actually know the city I live in, and get involved in the community.” 

Nordquist also discovered that Acme’s local-only focus translates into a broader commitment to flexibility. As family demands have shifted, she rearranged her schedule in various part-time configurations, rare in an industry built around satisfying clients, no matter what. Acme also lets employees manage their own vacation time. “If people are hitting their marks,” Lizotte says, “I don’t care if they take time off. I’m more concerned about them not taking time off.”

The limber approach, Lizotte says, is nothing less than his people deserve. “We really only hire the best,” he says, “so we try to keep them happy.” 


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