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17 Reviews
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Toffler Associates Managing Director Deborah Westphal
Deborah Westphal
11 Ratings
  1. 3 people found this helpful  

    If George Custer was a consultant...

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    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Toffler Associates full-time (more than 3 years)


    Clients are strategically interesting and are facing a number of difficult challenges, which makes for an intellectually stimulating work experience. Many clients are C-suite (or SVP) level on commercial side and Director (SES) level on the government side, so projects are typically very strategic in nature.


    I agree with many of the statements other commenters have made. Most of the issues at Toffler Associates start and stop with the Managing Director.

    - Leadership is living in the past. All examples of strong past performance seem to be 5+ years old and invariably end with a story about how the relationship was mismanaged or the mistakes that were made which resulted in the loss of the client.

    - There is far too much reliance on a vastly overvalued brand name. Whereas the Toffler name may have at one point opened doors, it is now a struggle to find many who have heard of the company, and fewer still who have any recollection of Alvin Toffler and his books. That said, leadership still clings to 40 year old observations, which, though they were groundbreaking at one point, are now quaint, outdated, and frankly, not really all that relevant or interesting to clients. Further, clinging to outdated books and TA's desire to be different lead to an inability to focus on what's really important to clients. (The commenter who spoke of "the fire of the future" hit this on the head.)

    - Undeserved institutional arrogance. Despite having little to no evidence to support its superiority, leadership makes a point of doing things the "TA way" and seems to actively avoid entertaining alternative approaches to administrative and/or client challenges.

    - MD has steered the firm to a greater than 60% loss in revenues from peak highs in the late 00s. Some of this can be attributed to market dynamics, but in a firm that sells its ability to understand changes in the broader market and help clients position themselves to capitalize, leadership's inability to do the same does not a ringing endorsement make.

    - In the last four months, over 30% of the consulting staff has left, also not a ringing endorsement.

    - Lack of growth potential within the company. From time to time a 'path to ownership' is dangled, but there have been no moves in recent memory to support any claims that it is actually achievable. TA likes to claim they are a flat organization, but make no mistake, they are absolutely a dictatorship. All decisions, be they large or small, administrative or client-related, are made by one of two people, Operations Director or Managing Director.

    -For a firm of ‘futurists’, the lack of a modern, functioning IT infrastructure is laughable. Though they are currently making strides to update their hardware, some computers still run on Windows XP and Office 2007 is the most recent software update they’ve made. There is no knowledge or client management tool except a shared drive that is little more than a dumping ground for staffing forecasts, as access to anything other than the engagements on which you are currently staffed is not possible. There is no automated push to keep employees informed of current pursuits or other goings on other than a shared voice mailbox. Learning past performance is entirely contingent upon speaking to someone who worked the project, which is increasingly difficult as 90+% of the company has been there less than three years.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    As others have stated, I have seen no reason to believe that any advice would have even the slightest chance of falling on anything other than deaf ears, but ownership should strongly evaluate those in leadership or they run the risk of losing even more quality people in the very near future.

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