You don’t start a consulting firm called Cosmic Centaurs, and then do everything in a very traditional way. From day one, Marilyn set out to build a firm that is different, and throughout the years, those differences enabled us to create lasting impact, and build organizations that thrive.
As part of our 3rd-anniversary celebrations, we wanted to share a little bit about what sets us apart, and why Cosmic Centaurs is not your average consulting firm.
1. We’re not afraid to say no
Them: Consultants have a reputation for saying yes to whatever the client’s wishes are. They spend lots of time thinking about what the client will want to see, and retroactively find the data to support those assumptions.
Us: In the Cosmics, we are not afraid to say no; in fact, we love to disagree if it is in the best interest of the project. We believe that clients hire us in order to help them make the best decisions, and we always present the data and insights to back up these recommendations.
2. We help you make decisions, not slides
Them: For many consultants, Powerpoint presentations are a love language. They spend hours ensuring the visual style and 100+ slide deck is designed to perfection.
Us: While we too appreciate the art and science of storytelling, we believe in helping clients arrive at a decision, not a deliverable. In our work, we create the content needed to help leaders weigh out the options, assess the impact of their decisions and offer a framework to facilitate decision-making. We take pride in the aesthetics of our work, but that’s because we know every word, graphic, icon, and sentence adds value to our audience.
“There is no comparison between you and other partners, because you are involved, you understand the context, and your contributions are spot on. Typically, when we work with consultants, we have to go through numerous revisions and they don’t get the context despite how much we guide them but that’s not the case with you.”
- Omar Najjar, Program Officer at the Misk Foundation (read the full testimonial here)
3. We don’t design boring training modules, we train through play
Them: Trainers repeat their workshops and modules so much for a good reason: it's efficient. But that can also mean that slides go without update for years, lacking context and relevance to our world today. Some are dull or uninspiring, especially when a template doesn’t cater to different learning styles.
Us: At a Cosmic Centaurs webinar or workshop, we start every session with music. We integrate play through games, we inspire meaningful, deep conversations, and we help upskill teams in ways that stick. In custom workshops, we use actual scenarios from your own context to hone your skills. We are not afraid to make our sessions challenging, competitive, and full of energy. Success to us means that you will be able to integrate the new skills, mindsets, concepts, and insights into your work helping you level-up as a leader or subject matter expert.
“The team is highly coordinated and collaborative, you run everything seamlessly. You inspired us to train like you, and to up our game in facilitating entertaining, and engaging trainings!”
- Haifa Najjar, Portfolio Manager at Alfanar Venture Philanthropy (read the full testimonial here).
4. We measure impact, not outputs
Them: Deliverables are the outputs of the work typical consultants do. They will count off the number of slides or documents shared as a means of capturing their value-add.
Us: We take things two levels up. We measure the outcomes of our work, and importantly, we measure the impact of our interventions. Our proprietary methodology, the Omnichannel Organization®, is an assessment and implementation approach that looks holistically at your internal ways of working and scores people, structure, process, systems, and culture. We begin our missions with a survey and at the end of our intervention we measure it again to see just how much progress we’ve made. If we are not satisfied, we will always come back and make adjustments to ensure that our outputs lead to tangible outcomes.
“There were several changes that happened further to the engagement. These include the sensitization of the leadership to the concept of flexible working, and a better integration of flexible work models within the organization.”
- Victor Ribeiro, HR Director at VINCI Construction Terrassement (read the full testimonial here).
5. We don't just work with anyone
Them: Oftentimes, consultants will say yes to an RFP, pulling together a team of freelancers, experts, and project managers to meet the needs of a project, particularly when those opportunities prove to be financially lucrative.
Us: We recognize that it's a privilege to turn down projects, and while we don’t do it often, we prioritize projects that further our mission to build organizations that thrive. We don’t look at it as a client-vendor project, we seek partners who will work with us to create meaningful impact, and teach us something new. In instances where we feel we are not the right partner, we say it and we happily recommend other leaders and teams in our community who are a better fit for the brief.
We are trusted by:
6. We do whatever it takes
Them: Upon signing a project, negotiations between consultants and their prospective clients result in either less time, or a phased approach with fewer outputs. Once the project kicks off, these firms are pedantic about the scope agreed and will limit the work, jeopardizing the quality of the outcomes.
Us: During the negotiation process, we do our best to ensure a fair value-exchange, but when the contract is signed, our mindset shifts to ensure that we do whatever it takes to give our clients the best possible outcomes. Of course, it’s not an open buffet, but we go the extra mile, doing everything from additional research, to more decision-making workshops, and additional board or internal presentations, to ensure that the project succeeds.
“It doesn't take you four weeks to get involved. You hit the ground running and that is positively surprising. Also, you are not married to a scope or a process. Rather, you go with the needs of the work or the company, not your needs or the ones your client initially expressed.”
- Mohamed Abbouri, Co-Founder at Signit (read the full testimonial here).
7. We are curious learn-it-alls, not know-it-alls
Them: Don’t get us wrong, deep expertise is highly necessary, particularly when niche subjects or challenges call for high levels of insight and experience. But sharing that knowledge behind the closed doors of a meeting room is not something we ascribe to.
Us: We are curious to learn it all. Across our work, we leverage the power of academic insights to structure and simplify concepts and thinking. We love to explore, uncover, and unpack topics and frameworks, and we love to share what we learn with the world. Developing downloadable resources and worksheets has become enshrined in how we create value in the world. Not everyone can hire us as consultants, so we have a yearly goal of sharing our knowledge with the world through worksheets, templates, checklists, resources, and reports.
"What makes you unique, is that you have a combination of strategic thinking with on-the-ground experience. You understand marketing and sales as well as the human side of organizations, such as culture in a startup environment. That is a rare find."
- Mohamed Abbouri, Co-Founder at Signit (read the full testimonial here).
8. We’re not just advisors, we implement successful change
Them: Advisors and consultants have a wealth of experience to refer to and they typically share their recommendations through slide decks and in board rooms.
Us: We are diligent project managers, we roll up our sleeves and we dive into the change implementation process to see the impact of our work. Our strategic recommendations are always coupled with an implementation or action plan to outline how to effect change. In our missions we set up task forces working with them and upskilling talent to ensure they are equipped to carry forward the initiatives, concepts, and missions independently.
“There was profound thinking beyond simply delivering on our request. Unlike many other consulting firms, Cosmic Centaurs pushed us past our initial position on the topic of remote work. We have since succeeded in implementing flexible work models, both with people working at the office and on construction sites.”
- Victor Ribeiro, HR Director, VINCI Construction Terrassement (read the full testimonial here).
We are so grateful to our partners who trusted us, saw the value-add of our secret sauce and invited us to help them create lasting change. If you want to learn more about the services we provide and how we can collaborate, click here.