Nous Group is one of Australia’s most loved companies. They’re a privately owned, highly regarded management consulting company, based across Australia and with an intentional presence.
In case you’ve missed it – Nous Group regularly win industry awards recognising their stand-out performance as consultants and employers of choice.
Anyone who knows Nous or has had an experience of them almost always talks about them with admiration and pride.
So what are they doing that makes them so special?
As a proud Alumni myself – I thought I’d share some of my experiences.
I joined Nous in 2006 as a consultant and enjoyed seven very special years there developing essential skills and relationships that set me up for a career in performance consulting. My colleagues and I worked extremely hard and it was always stimulating and gratifying. It was a safe, happy and thriving workplace. I now speak confidently about high performance organisations because I had the privilege of having experienced one for myself.
The way I see it – there are three key reasons Nous is a high performance organisation (spoken like a true consultant!):
1. Inspiring purpose and authentic values
Nous defines its values as Reasons for Being, with the primary one being “Positive Influence”. Every project we undertook needed to deliver positive influence to our clients, industries and communities in which we worked. If the opportunity didn’t have scope for positive influence, we didn’t put our hat in the ring.
Knowing our work was delivering clear and measurable benefits to people and communities was incredibly motivating. It gave every consultant a deep sense of meaning and purpose in their work.
Furthermore, the Nous Reasons for Being were threaded in almost every process for engaging with people or clients:
2. Learning and development is a priority
The learning, growth and development of Nous consultants was a major priority. Indeed – Nous trades off the intellectual power of its people – so continuous learning and evolution of their people’s knowledge and skills was essential. Some ways they did this were:
In my time at Nous – I was trained in project management, consulting, facilitation, writing and communication skills; completed three professional accreditations; started a part-time Masters and received a promotion. It was the single most accelerated learning experience of my professional life.
3. Self-managing, accountable people
The Nous systems and practices empowered people to be self-managing. We didn’t have managers – rather we were accountable to Project Directors. Every hour of our time was tracked in time-sheets, and every month we tracked our earnings and forecasts on projects. Project and company results were shared openly – in monthly reports between teams; all-in staff meetings run by the MD; and annual performance review sessions. This was sensitive company information – but we were always trusted and respected to keep it confidential.
If we performed well as individuals and as a company – we were rewarded well.
Knowing how we each contributed to results empowered all of us to prioritise high value creation activities. We were individually and collectively accountable. Individuals were supported to achieve; but if they simply couldn’t maintain the high standards we all set ourselves up for – they were helped into organisations and roles outside the business that better suited their preferences.
Furthermore, and perhaps most importantly – on-the-spot feedback was feature at Nous. It was asked for and offered regularly within and between project teams – and it was always seen as a gift. We learned to lean into feedback – because it was always given with respect – in the service of improving our performance.
Nous Group is a prime example of a high performance organisation that continues to grow and deliver positive influence. The word ’sales’ was never used. Instead – we focused on positive influence, learning and development, and results. Of course the outcome of this? A profit turning vehicle, growing steadily and sustainably, launching people and careers spanning well beyond its epicentre.