Centric Consulting CEO Dave Rosevelt on the virtual office model and having ‘success with balance’

Centric Consulting is celebrating its 20th anniversary in business, which gives Dave Rosevelt cause to celebrate as a cofounder and CEO. While the company has surely grown during that time, Rosevelt is proud to say that the original values still hold up, as well as the original virtual office model. Ladders spoke with Rosevelt to learn more about how he finds success with balance, how to build lasting relationships with clients, and how the company has been successful with its virtual office model.

Centric is celebrating its 20th year in business. What’s been the most important lesson you’ve learned over these two decades?

“It’s rewarding to see that so many of the values we thought critical to our success 20 years ago are largely the same today. Simple things like accepting nothing less than full transparency with our clients and employees. Committing to delivery excellence, recognizing we are only as good as our last project. Approaching every challenge with humility and self-awareness.

The past 20 years essentially validated those values. I find it incredibly fulfilling to see our entire company embrace our core values on a daily basis and witness our company succeed largely because of it.”

What does “success with balance” mean to you?

“I have to work at it, but I think I’ve found balance between my professional and personal life. I also think the company has accomplished great things over the last 20 years. I view this as “success with balance.”

For me, success with balance doesn’t mean you never miss an important family activity, nor does it mean you never miss an important company activity. It does, however, mean that those ‘misses’ even out over time.

For example, I coached all three of my children’s youth sports and regularly attend their high school activities. At the same time, my family understands that I sometimes have to miss events or participate in an evening conference call in order to contribute to company progress.”

What’s your advice for building lasting relationships with clients?

“Most important – truly make client challenges your own and make those challenges your top priority. Walk in their shoes. If you prioritize your work with this mindset, it creates a great foundation for a lasting client relationship. This rule isn’t always easy to follow, as it sometimes may mean that internal company work, which might lead to faster growth, becomes a lower priority. But it’s worth it in the long run.

Second, seek to exceed expectations in everything you do for the client. Do what you say you are going to do, and then strive to go one step above. Trust is established when you can be counted on to complete any task with the highest standard of excellence.

Third, be easy to work with. Seek feedback and make it easy for the client to give it. Provide suggestions instead of demands. Always be willing to say what needs to be said without being confrontational. Be authentic and relatable. Or, put another way, be the person you would want to have on your own team.”

Can you explain Centric’s virtual office model? Why is this an important part of the business?

“Centric’s official headquarters is in Dayton, Ohio. We also have 13 additional offices in Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Indianapolis, Louisville, Miami, Seattle, St. Louis, Tampa and Gurgaon, India. Centric is unique in that the vast majority of our consultants in these offices work almost entirely for local clients and do not have to travel.

Centric takes a practical approach to office space. We often have relatively limited office space in these locations, since most of our consultants work at the client site. In some cases, we do have development studios in these cities. Our office in Gurgaon, India, is the exception, where all of our consultants work in our development studio.

In addition to these offices, we also have national practices that provide deep expertise in our services offerings such as Operational Excellence, Data & Analytics, People and Change Consulting, Enterprise Collaboration and many others. Consultants who are in these national practices often work in the same locations as our offices, but many also are located throughout the U.S., traveling to work at the client site, or working remotely via development studios or from a home office.”

As CEO, how do you shape the vision and direction of the company?

“As a leader, your job is to authentically live and model your values for your employees. It’s these values that underline everything you do, from making decisions and policies to hiring and rewarding employees.

So, my job every day is to live Centric’s values in big and small ways. It’s my job to make sure our strategic investments provide the best possible platform for our people to be successful in their roles and improve our culture.

It’s my job to support ideas from employees, while also motivating them to push beyond what they might have thought possible. It’s my job to be a listening ear when needed – to help navigate challenges and celebrate successes.

And it’s my job to challenge, ask tough questions, have an open mind, to operate with integrity and honesty, and be consistent in my principles. Centric’s values are my values.”

How do you describe the company culture at Centric?

“We can explain Centric’s culture through three elements – our core purpose, which is the ‘why’ behind what we do, our values that hold us to a greater standard, and the traditions we have in place that enhance and reinforce our culture.

Our core purpose is to create unmatched experiences for clients and employees. We deliver that unmatched feeling by always being willing to help, treating clients or colleagues as friends, doing what it takes, and putting others first. Our purpose focuses on people because relationships with others make everything more worthwhile.

Our seven values reflect this same focus on people – commit to delivery excellence, embrace integrity and openness, practice responsible stewardship, invest in an exceptional culture, ignite passion for the greater good, strive to innovate, and live a balanced life.

We also have many traditions big and small. A personal favorite is our annual holiday party. For no other reason, than to have fun and celebrate the year, we fly all employees and their significant others for a long weekend of fun in the winter. Other traditions include sending Mother’s Day and Father’s Day gifts, inviting employees to audition for our Centric Band, which plays at our Spring Meeting, and personally calling every person who gets promoted.

We started Centric because we wanted a company where we could do great work but still have a life outside of work, a company with a fun culture that treats everyone like family and operates with honest and deep relationships. This was the start of the Centric business model and the underpinnings of the culture we have today.”

What advice would you give to someone interviewing at Centric Consulting?

“Take the time to get to know the role for which you are applying. What makes it exciting? What are the challenges? What is it really like on a day-to-day basis?

Have a clear vision for your desired role – e.g. goals, salary expectations, etc. – and make sure to communicate that to Centric. Openly share your strengths and weaknesses. In other words, expect full transparency and provide full transparency as well.

It’s never good for either the recruit or Centric if employment doesn’t work out as expected. Only full transparency can assure all parties make the best decision possible.”