We’re proud to announce that Elixirr has been named in The Financial Times’ 2023 ‘UK Leading Management Consultants‘ list for our work in the following categories:
Our dedicated clients and talented teams make recognitions like this possible, and we thank both for choosing to work with and for a firm that does things differently. Elixirr was founded to bring back the core of why consulting began – to help businesses get and stay ahead – and we’re passionately committed to delivering this value to each and every one of our clients. Such acknowledgment proves we’re on track to transform the industry for good.
Elixirr’s Founder and CEO Stephen Newton commented:
I founded Elixirr as the antidote to traditional consulting – it is our namesake and our ethos as ‘The Challenger Consultancy’. Inclusion on this list is further proof that our proposition is resonating with bold business leaders. We’re unlike other consultancies – we treat our clients’ businesses like they’re our own and deliver results that bring about lasting change.
We’re incredibly proud of this recognition and our team is ready for yet another year of setting new benchmarks with the bold business leaders around the globe.
Check out some of our latest work:
I joined Elixirr as an analyst in September shortly after graduating university. But in reality, the start of my journey into the seemingly mysterious world of consulting began during the lockdown period of the pandemic.
With daily life disrupted, I wanted to spend my time doing something meaningful. I found myself working for the world’s largest consultancy for non-profits and social enterprises. But this organisation has a unique twist… all the branches are run entirely by university students. Whilst others baked banana bread or spent hours on Zoom quizzes, it didn’t take me long to decide that making a tangible impact on organisations around the world was a better way to spend my free time.
Over the course of the next year I was able to complete my first project for a charity based in Sri Lanka. I then took on further leadership roles, acquiring new clients and establishing connections with professional consulting firms. And it’s the latter that really kick-started my journey to Elixirr.
As students looking to provide real value on the projects we took on, we relied on professional firms to offer support teaching core consulting skills and mentorship to help steer the projects. I started off seeking out companies that would be willing to offer up their time, and soon found myself knocking on the door of Elixirr. Up to this point, it had been a long-winded and painful process of emails and calls being lost in the ether, but with Elixirr it was different. After an introductory email and a short pitch to the team, I was quickly introduced to The Elixirr Foundation. The Elixirr Foundation is the firm’s charity arm – through it, we help address global issues, starting by supporting the local communities we work within. This is done not just through donating money, but our time and skills, so we can be sure we’re creating a real, sustainable impact.
Within just a small series of meetings, it was obvious that the Foundation had a genuine interest in partnering with us somehow. More than interest – there was a clear motivation to offer something that could drive a meaningful impact for us as students and the projects we had in the pipeline. In just a matter of weeks, Elixirr were hosting a collaborative session on how to tackle problems that we, as students, were facing in our projects. It was extremely refreshing to be given such attention and honest consideration for the issues we faced as teams, rather than a ‘ready-made’ solution handed out to all student partnerships.
One thing that will always stick with me from my initial meeting with Elixirr was the phrase we ‘make shit happen’. I’ll admit, at first, I simply thought it was a nice slogan, but over time I realised that more so than a good catchphrase, these are words that mould the culture here at Elixirr. In a way, they’re our call to action. Fast forward, after working with the Elixirr team I was certain that not only would this be the start of an amazing partnership, but it was also clear to me that I wanted to be part of a team that delivered impactful results for clients. But this time, I wanted to join them on a permanent basis.
Now as a new analyst in the London office, I’ve had the privilege of seeing how the firm operate from both perspectives. In true Elixirr style, just a handful of days in I was already on my first project, interacting with clients and even leading workshops by the end of it all. I have also been conscious to stay close to the student consultancy that helped bring me to Elixirr in the first place, now acting as a mentor to current students who are in the same situation I was in not long ago.
Although at times the thought of jumping straight into the deep end can be a daunting one, here you’ll always be part of a wider ecosystem – one that continues to grow through constant collaboration, meaningful communication and a truly shared openness to learning. Whether it is the buzz of being surrounded by entrepreneurs and go-getters, or it’s the steep daily intake of coffee that is thanks to the new joiner coffee initiative, I have absolutely loved the start of my journey here at Elixirr.
Elixirr’s organic growth strategy, which includes a commitment to promote from within, will see the firm welcome two more of their own to the partner team, Dan Coral and Rory Farquharson, effective October 2023. Both have been instrumental in the firm’s expansion in the US – which resulted in over 100% growth in FY 21 – and as partners they will continue contributing to the firm’s success worldwide.
Rory joined Elixirr in 2015 and has since lived and worked in 4 of the firm’s central geographies: Johannesburg, San Francisco, New York and London. He has played a key role in Elixirr’s US growth story, from being the first person there on the ground to helping Elixirr’s US partners grow the team and client base to what it is today. In fact, his success building out the US business contributed to being named one of Consulting Magazine’s Rising Stars of the Profession for 2022.
Since returning to Europe in early 2022, Rory has been working with one of Elixirr’s key Switzerland-based clients to help deliver a critically important global transformation. His ability to advise clients and get the best from Elixirr’s teams is based on his desire to see others succeed, mentoring young talent just as he has been by others in the firm. As a partner, Rory will continue to focus his energy on growing Elixirr’s client footprint and talent base between London and Switzerland.
“I’m delighted to be joining the partner team at Elixirr this year. Since I joined the firm in 2015, we have achieved some incredible things for our clients and our team. Elixirr has profoundly shaped not just my professional journey but my personal one, and as a partner I’m looking forward to positively impacting all those I work with”.
Dan joined Elixirr in 2021 from Accenture and is currently based out of the firm’s New York office. He has over 12 years of consulting experience, with deep expertise in data strategy and end-to-end strategy development, as well as integration management for complex M&As. Throughout his career, Dan has led large-scale transformational programmes for Fortune 100 companies across telecommunications, media and high-tech sectors, as well as the industrial and manufacturing space.
At Elixirr, Dan has been working with a key US client, driving growth and change throughout the organisation. During his time with the firm, Dan has acted as an advisor, focusing on achieving greater return on investment for his clients and helping cultivate Elixirr’s entrepreneurial and challenger culture to enable his team to deliver value. As a partner, Dan will remain focused on growing the firm in the US market, leading cross-functional, data-driven programmes while developing the future leaders of the firm.
“It is an honour to be joining the partner team at Elixirr. I joined this firm because I wanted to grow a business that was laser-focused on helping clients achieve their goals. It is a privilege to work with exceptional colleagues across the board. Helping my clients and supporting my team to become top leaders are two things I’m very passionate about and I look forward to doing more of this on the partner team. The US business has immense opportunities for growth and I’m ready to scale it even further in the coming years”.
Elixirr Founder and CEO, Stephen Newton, commented:
“Both Dan and Rory have impressive stories and have helped us achieve real growth in the US market – one which is notoriously complex to enter. I am proud to welcome them into my partner team and see where they help take the firm next. Promoting from within is one of the most important ways we can ensure our unique culture and restless commitment to clients remains as we scale”.
Learn more about the rest of Elixirr’s partner team:
This Bloomberg article is probably one of the most important critiques of the industry in recent times. It’s about the past and the future of our industry and the need to overturn a damaging reputation created by a small elite.
No one is above the law of accountability and responsibility. At a time of a significant polycrisis beset by severe economic and energy volatility, clients need management consulting firms more than ever. We should be the pioneers of change and innovation for global organisations.
A new approach is needed where transparency, ethics and honesty are at the heart. Short and longtermism need to go hand in hand: combining long-term value for both partners and clients with rapid delivery that gives organisations innovative pragmatic solutions to adapt and lead in this new world. No one has time for politics and a 60-slide PowerPoint presentation.
At Elixirr we lead by these values. In fact, much of this critique is exactly why we founded it in the first place – to give the industry a long overdue shakeup and challenge what it had become.
How are we addressing the issues mentioned?
This is why Elixirr provides partners with 25% to 33% of the financial reward McKinsey partners can get in cash but offers them anywhere from 3x the value over 5 years in equity.
And this methodology applies to every member of our team, including our most junior – everyone has the opportunity to be a part-owner of the business through our equity scheme. Unlike other firms, this doesn’t mean cash in hand quickly; it means cash in hand for those who invest, both personally and financially, long-term.
This approach results in a greater sense of pride, ownership and community throughout the business, and it can be seen in the numbers. While businesses globally have experienced an increase in employee churn, our consulting retention rates actually increased in 2022. And this is despite hugely overinflated wages from competitors in our industry. It’s because we are instilling a long-term commitment across our teams due to an inclusive ownership structure.
Our clients therefore work with people who are in it for the long run and understand that they will only reap rewards if the work they deliver is successful. This holds each person accountable for their results and gives them a greater incentive to make a big impact for the client, otherwise they’ll be personally at a loss.
Working for many years in the industry myself, I experienced first-hand the lack of innovation and accountability the big firms were taking in their approach. Not only did we not want to follow in these footsteps when starting Elixirr, we simply couldn’t if we wanted to be successful. Each project delivered determined whether our team would get more opportunities.
Like other startups trying to break into an industry dominated by a handful of major players, we had to prove our quality and deliver beyond expectation. This required taking responsibility for every piece of work and every client’s outcome, and we maintain this ethos today.
Client work doesn’t just fall into our partners’ laps like it does in the big firms. And it’s actually why we only have a 50/50 success rate of bringing in new partners to the team. They have to get invested, speak to people and generate business. They are market makers, not order takers. For our clients this means the level of investment from partners, and the rest of the team, is tremendously high. The relationship forged isn’t simply a transactional one, we step in to treat our clients’ businesses like we would our own. And we see the results of this directly in feedback.
Why are our clients ranking us higher than MBB competitors? Overall, we outperform them significantly, but it’s the practicality of recommendations, understanding of our clients’ business, ROI, quality of junior, senior and partner teams, delivery of project, and knowledge of sector where we really set ourselves apart. And guess what? This is where we set our clients apart too.
Since our IPO, our financials and performance have been fully transparent to the market. We are also subject to regulations that ensure we conduct business in a way that protects our outside shareholders. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the vast majority of our industry – with only 3 of the top 10 consulting firms (who take up over 50% market share) being publicly listed and exposed to the same level of market scrutiny. Aside from regulatory integration, those who select their consulting partners need to rethink the process entirely. Governments, for example, typically rely on frameworks and menial metrics to decipher a consultant’s suitability, with price being a major factor in their decision process. Focusing on quality, approach (and evidence of this), rather than price and meaningless credentials would help to open opportunities up to competition, therefore naturally raising the bar of delivery.
As a public company, this is off the table for us but it’s about more than that. Unfortunately, while all of the major firms have the correct policies and procedures in place, that doesn’t always translate into ethical behaviour in practice. From a client perspective, the reason C-suite executives take us with them when they move roles or companies is because we have a trusted partnership in place. We do right by them because we wouldn’t have a business if we didn’t – we don’t rely on a global brand like many of our peers. Our values are “Entrepreneurial, Collaborative, Building a legacy, Beyond Expectations” and we live and die by these every day.
The Bloomberg article suggests consulting firms are too powerful, causing conflicts of interest, and I would agree. As an independent challenger, we are unencumbered by this risk. Accountability is at the core of who we are. Just because the industry has long been this way, doesn’t mean it’s the only way. And it certainly doesn’t mean it’s the right way. I saw an opportunity to challenge the status quo with Elixirr – to leave the industry in a better place than I found it. And I would encourage my counterparts to do the same.
2023 introduces a new dawn away from a murky past. Every firm needs to take a close look in the mirror and see if they are fit for purpose. We certainly are. Are you?
Elixirr has welcomed former Principals Danielle Croucher and Ben Gower into the partner team. Promoting from within forms one of the firm’s four growth pillars, showing their commitment to nurturing and developing their people to become leaders. Danielle will continue to scale Elixirr’s US business, both commercially delivering clients’ strategic visions and culturally by growing the team, and under Ben’s leadership, the firm will deepen their presence in the insurance space, both in the UK and globally.
Read more in our announcement news story here.
Danielle joined Elixirr as a manager in 2019, previously working for a financial services firm as their customer experience head. There, Danielle helped set up an internal consultancy; she was accountable for building the customer experience team from the ground up. Her experience in industry has shaped her ability to really understand clients’ needs and deliver solutions that achieve great impact, relying on her expertise in customer experience as well as expertise in digital transformation, business model innovation, agile organisations and product/service re-design. Danielle has also strengthened Elixirr’s capabilities by designing a new commercial contracting structure and delivery approach which allows the firm to execute projects using agile methodologies. This has enabled Elixirr to better support clients reacting to changing internal and external factors.
Based in New York, Danielle has played an integral role in expanding Elixirr’s US presence to date, which experienced over 100% growth in FY 21. She has led a transformation programme for one of the firm’s largest accounts, a US healthcare insurance provider, for the past three years. After just three years at Elixirr, she has now made partner.
Ben joined Elixirr in 2015 as an analyst having previously worked for PwC in their insurance and actuarial division and as a maths teacher in South London. He is the second in the firm to progress from analyst to partner.
Ben has led major transformation projects in multiple geographies with some of Elixirr’s biggest clients. He relocated to the US to grow Elixirr’s core team before returning to the UK in 2019 to lead Elixirr’s strategy and technology transformation work with major insurers and a range of UN agencies. In 2021, he doubled the size of one of Elixirr’s largest clients, a major insurer, expanding the support Elixirr provides to 5 different geographies, and led up to six projects at any one time. This included managing the design of the client’s new global insurance platform, supporting the launch of a new motor insurance product and equipping their future CIOs and COOs for the age of digital disruption.
Ben is passionate about empowering clients and his teams to make a positive impact every day. As a partner, Ben will continue to lead Elixirr’s strategy, transformation and innovation work, enabling clients to connect to the latest thinking and technology needed to adapt and disrupt in the digital era.
If you landed here in search of a ‘Five Ways to Build Community at Your Workplace’ article, unfortunately, that is not what you will find. No community is built in an afternoon with a pamphlet and couple of screws like a piece of Ikea furniture. And no forced, quick fix “community day” can remedy the foundational absence of community at a company. But as a fast-growing global firm ourselves, we are also no stranger to the question, “how do you create community?” Fortunately, deriving a sense of connection and belonging from our communities is as human as the need for food, water and shelter. Regardless of the current state of community at your company, the people within your walls will continue to seek community in the workplace, whether they know it or not. So instead of telling you how to do that, I’ll share a perspective on the pillars of our community, how they challenge us, and make us a better business.
One of the greatest barriers to entry for a strong community is the element of time and history. The shared experience of challenge, triumph, growth and failure with coworkers are all critical events that shape a workplace community and our sense of self within it. The string of such events both give meaning to our time and can only happen organically over time. For leaders trying to make a difference in a community, the first important note is that change takes time. The second note comes from high school physics class: positive work is force and displacement moving relatively in the same direction. Even though forming a strong community takes time, an active community force that leads by example, combined with decisions that have community in mind, is positive work for building a community and is, arguably, community in and of itself. How leadership executes on force and displacement are relative to the age, size, and type of company, but the foundation is applicable from start-ups to Fortune 500s.
The shared experience of challenge, triumph, growth and failure with coworkers shapes workplace community
As Elixirr continues to grow and expand hub geographies, firm leadership faces the ongoing challenge of maintaining community throughout these changes. These are not without their growing pains. However, understanding that community requires time to develop, and making decisions with community in mind (unapologetically saying sorry later), has allowed our US teams to grow organically. While I look forward to reading this article in five years and smiling at how far we’ve come, I’d like to share some of the overarching, unwavering pillars that define our community and will make us the best consultancy in the world.
Despite a world of people growing ever more sensitive to critique, supporting mutual growth through feedback is a defining pillar of the Elixirr community. From analysts to the boardroom, we are thrill-seekers who enjoy jumping in the deep end. This proclivity for challenging ourselves, combined with ambition, is a recipe for personal and professional development. As a firm of entrepreneurs, it is foundationally how we grow. However, we also know that to increase our wins, we also must increase the inevitable losses. That is where we rely on our community. Keeping honest with each other and humbling ourselves internally enables us to produce industry-leading results externally. Throughout any engagement, from a three-day proposal to a three-year project, there is constant feedback running up and down the team. Championing coworkers comes through equally in praise and in critique of growth areas. As we continue to lean into bigger challenges, providing and receiving feedback is an opportunity for a self-expansive perspective and nurtures a community genuinely interested in mutual success.
Feedback is an opportunity for a self-expansive perspective and nurtures a community genuinely interested in mutual success
To challenge convention, we must take on problems others will shortcut. This requires a powerhouse team that is willing to learn quickly, work dynamically, and make shit happen. The unintended consequence of this pace and caliber of work is that there is no room left for internal competition. The ‘us against the gun’ reality is an enabling force for a community that influences each person on the team towards growth, benchmarked mostly against ourselves. In a sense, community is the very foundation of our identity as a firm of entrepreneurs. Without each other we are nothing. To rely on each other, let alone shatter ceilings, we must be invested in influencing each other to beat our personal bests—not plotting how we can get ahead.
The first task of any Elixirr new joiner is a company-wide introduction email. The second is setting up 20 coffee meetups with people across all departments, geographies and grades of the business. This is not a challenge meant to make the introvert stuck in an extrovert’s body cringe. It is a precedent-setting exercise. Elixirr is a firm founded on the community value of open lines and open desks. If there is a question, no one asks a person who will ask another person who will ask someone else. The question goes directly to the person with an answer, even if it’s a partner and the question is coming from an analyst on their first day. This openness fosters a community much like a jungle gym, where every person playing can move dynamically and efficiently. In the most literal sense, this is reflected in offices designed without assigned seats or closed areas. Rather, a physically open space where a partner may sit next to a talent analyst or a manager next to the marketing team.
As we think about business goals for 2023 consider the community behind it
Much like family or school, you may not necessarily choose the people you’re surrounded with. However, the community fostered within a workplace can eventually become one of the most defining aspects of one’s life. It is a community that will celebrate wins and validate ideas. A protective place during tough times and comradery through life’s challenges. People to laugh with, fail with, and experience one of the biggest portions of life with. As 2023 gets underway and we think about business goals, five-year plans, and so forth, consider the community behind it, and how leaders can factor such a pivotal piece of their business into those plans.
We’ll let the video speak for itself…
Here’s to 2023!
What’s the most rewarding thing about being an analyst at Elixirr?
Having a seat at the table, no matter who is in the room.
Check out more of Our Entrepreneurs.
What are 3 words to describe our culture, Eli? “Unique, scrappy, entrepreneurial.”
We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.
Watch the next episode of Our Entrepreneurs, with Eli.