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At a Glance


“Client impact, freedom and flexibility model, positive culture.”

“Nature of the work, tremendous colleagues, strong brand, comp and flexibility.”

“The challenging problems and outstanding clients.”


“Fragmentation/degree to which you can get pulled different directions.”

“Overinvests in infrastructure, underinvests in employee benefits.”

“We're 100% distributed, so we don't get to see each other as much as we'd like to.”

About ghSMART

ghSMART Founder Dr. Geoff Smart’s Psychology PhD dissertation found that those private equity firms best at choosing teams made the most money. Equipped with an expertise in human behavior, he and his early colleagues went on to advise private equity investors to accelerate (or de-risk) value creation by selecting and developing their portfolios’ leadership teams. Today, ghSMART is still a trusted advisor to large private equity investors, as well as, to CEOs and Boards of F500s and non-profits. ghSMART consultants are each charged with helping their ‘top of the house’ clients achieve their business goals and personal aspirations, build the most effective teams and align a purposeful organization.

A Double Helix

ghSMART’s more than fifty consultants help their c-level clients solve their highest-stake leadership challenges. The team’s unique mix of former consultants mostly from Bain, BCG and McKinsey, and Psychology PhD professionals – a double helix – presents a collective capability to connect business objectives to human behavior. The Leadership Advisory firm’s rigorous assessments serve as the basis for all their work that ranges from CEO succession, portfolio performance, leadership selection to board effectiveness.

Who's on First?

ghSMART professionals get energy from answering the ‘who’ questions. The PhDs are the authorities on influence and motivations. The former strategy consultants are experts at answering the ‘what’ questions and they leverage that business acumen to help their influential clients achieve their business objectives through talent, the ‘who.’

Freedom & Flexibility

Consultants choose ghSMART for the impact of their work, connection with their clients and outstanding colleagues. They stay for the freedom and flexibility. At ghSMART, consultants can decide where they want to live, when they want to work, how much they want to work, what they want to work on and who they want to work with. The consultants are in control of their balance. ghSMART is also 100 percent employee owned so they are only held accountable to themselves. They work by the value, when in doubt, lead. ghSMART is a flat organization that values proactivity and ability over bureaucracy and tenure. The model must be working as ghSMART has consistently topped Vault’s Employee Satisfaction list.

COVID-19 Update

COVID-19 Update

At ghSMART, the health and safety of our team and clients remain our top priority. Given that we have always worked remotely, we are fortunate to have had less disruption due to the novel coronavirus than others. However, to support our team and better serve our clients during this time, we implemented a series of new processes to address the unusual challenges we have all faced.

Our Credo states that we exist to help leaders amplify their positive impact on the world, and the work we do to help leaders has become more critical than ever. Global leaders consider ghSMART consultants among their trusted advisors and have relied on our team to help them figure out how to stabilize their own teams, minimize business disruption, and find a path forward. We take our responsibility for supporting our team, clients, and communities very seriously, and will continue to find ways to improve the situation for all of our stakeholders. ghSMART is a management consulting firm based in Chicago, with offices across the U.S. and in London. The firm was founded in 1995 by Geoff Smart after the publication of an award-winning Ph.D. dissertation study on management assessment in private equity.

Racial Equality and Diversity

ghSMART acknowledges that bias, prejudice, and violence against Black people and other underrepresented groups exist in the United States and around the world. We believe a key part of the solution is leadership—on all of our parts, in the public sector as well as in the private sector. We believe that a great leader, more than anything else, elevates the quality of life of the individual, group, and society. Not satisfied with the status quo, ghSMART is increasing its commitment of resources and time to hiring and developing more diverse leaders, including leaders of color, within our firm, within our clients, and around the world. We stand together with anti-racist people from all backgrounds, taking action to improve the state of freedom and justice for all.

Firm Stats

Employer Type: Private
Chairman: Dr. Geoff Smart
Vice-Chairman: Randy Street
President: Jeff McLean
2021 Employees (All Locations): 125

Major Office Locations

U.S., U.K., and Germany

Major Departments & Practices

Leadership Advisory