2020 was certainly an incredible year, no doubt about that. But for us at Exsulting it was an “incredibly positive” year. In fact, perhaps the secret was to believe: in our mission, spreading embedded sustainability as a valuable way forward. In how necessary it is, especially in the age of Covid, to ensure the survival and resilience of businesses, as well as of society. And then of course there was a wonderful team, which I will talk about.
The important thing is to get off to a good start
Indeed we were off to a good start in January 2020. We entered the market with a disruptive approach to sustainability, and immediately attracted a lot of interest. As early as the beginning of February, the first companies that had tested our ESIndex® were asking for appointments to define contracts.
We were very happy and already looking forward to exercising our passion for embedded sustainability in new companies, new realities, with new people.
At the beginning of March, the cold shower came, with future clients asking for time, one after the other, under the shock of government measures. They postponed, even to September, October. Somebody in April said: “we have to see if we will make it through the autumn”. It looked like a wall. But a wall of sorry people, who had grasped the full potential of what we were proposing to them, but were forced to grit their teeth and think about survival. We continued to believe. This trust, step by step, brought in the right customers, those who see an opportunity in a difficulty. They appreciate someone who helps them seize it and make the most of it. So began the fantastic ‘comeback’, worthy of an Olympic relay race, of our wonderful team.
Experienced startuppers… navigate better
The collective imagination sees the world of startups as a paradise for young daredevils. However, data says that those that survive and succeed generally have leaders aged 50 and over. We can confirm that experience and an established reputation have been a tremendous resilience factor for us. Not only that.
Experience and the habit of taking a systemic view of situations allowed us to see that, beyond the headlines and the single focus on a virus, we were in fact facing a systemic crisis. It is not at all true that ‘all countries are in the same situation’. In reality, it is the countries with the least sustainable and resilient systems that have suffered the most, especially the so-called ‘Western’ countries. Italy in the lead.
From this systemic reflection, we have carried out cultural work, information and reflection, starting with a series of five articles from our CEO entitled “The Dawn of a New World“. This has led to very interesting dialogues with enlightened entrepreneurs and forward-looking managers. Progressively, we moved from cultural work to practical proposals to help them overcome the crisis and equip themselves for the future.
The light at the end of the tunnel
These people realised that the “light at the end of the tunnel” for their companies in a difficult year like 2020 was within their power. The global crisis would have affected companies more if they had not realised that they themselves had to change the way they acted in the world. It was no longer just a matter of “looking a good corporate citizen”, or of communicating their best qualities.
Coming out of a year at this depth of difficulty meant embarking on the path to sustainability in a new, radical, transformative way. This was the way that Exsulting proposed to them and which made our proposal on a subject that was not very new, revolutionary.
This is why we were able, in the gloom of a difficult year for all consultants, to sign some very interesting contracts, some of which we can talk about and some of which we cannot. Our work often requires us to go deep into the strategies and projects of companies, and this implies the confidentiality of a confessor.
The “magic wand” of partnerships
You will often find in Exsulting’s discourse that ‘sustainability cannot be done alone’. For us, this is a credo that extends to many activities in life, both private and professional. That is why, from the very beginning, Exsulting has wanted to enter into strategic and operational partnerships.
We believe that everyone should do what they are good at. Above all, what sparks enthusiasm and is based on passion. This assumption allows everyone to give their best, even a little more, and multiplies the energy available. That is why we do not give our corporate clients ‘catalogue’ or ready-made solutions. It is also the reason why we enjoy working.
Our partners are highly professional companies, with competent and passionate people, who we work with whenever we need them. Sometimes we simply introduce them to customers or acquaintances because we are happy to recommend them.
Thanks to these partners, we have been able to offer services of the highest quality without burdening our company in a difficult year like no other, and at the first fluttering of our development.
A wonderful team
The other cornerstone of our incredible year, also on the positive side, was our wonderful team. It is difficult to describe objectively a team to which one is bound by a deep affection. Combined with boundless esteem and total trust.
In an age when you have to give an American “cool” label to the way you work, each of such possibilities makes me smile when I think of our group. We are both ‘Agile’ and ‘Waterfall’, and who knows what else. We are a group of people driven by enthusiasm for an idea, that of embedded sustainability. We see it as our chance to make a positive contribution to our society. Motivation scholars know that this is the best motivation to give one’s best.
But above all we are a group of flexible people, different in age, experience, skills, who enjoy working together. We value each other for who we are, without having to ‘look’ like someone different, and this makes our days very light, with plenty of light-hearted interactions. There are moments of conviviality, and the odd quip in the middle of a crucial meeting. Followed usually by the perfect proposal to solve the problem at hand.
One after the other
Over the next few weeks you will have the chance to get to know one by one the people in Exsulting’s wonderful team, those of the “in-house” core. Our network of colleagues and collaborators is extensive and changing and there is no possibility to hear from everyone. Involvement is also very different, between those who are active every day in our chats, working groups and Project Management and the Scientific Director or the expert technologist who we only involve when needed.
So you will know:
- My co-founder, who is the wise humanist soul and oversees the CASE® Method;
- The “General Manager”, my balanced and thoughtful counterpart with a creative fire always ready to sprout from under the ashes;
- The person responsible for Marketing and… responsible for the operation of almost everything, breaking records of efficiency every day;
- The “fantasist” (because to say “Senior Consultant” for someone like that is a laugh), project manager and leader of our major orders.
Introducing them to the readers of our blog, I believe, will allow them to share a little of the experience that our clients already have. That is to meet people who, to some extent, will leave a trace in their lives. It will also be a way to say THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart to this team of “stars” who make every day of my work so exciting. And not just that.
See you in the next articles!
CEO of Exsulting