I worked at Toffler Associates full-time (More than 5 years)
Having come to Toffler from a Big 4 consulting firm, I found the differences between the two to be rather significant, albeit in a generally positive manner. Moreover, having been at the firm during a time of fairly significant personnel transitions followed immediately by massive growth, I believe I got to see both sides of the company; the good and the bad. For the positive. I came to Toffler looking for a place to learn and advance beyond the temporal-based limitations of a big firm, to apply my skills in novel situations, and to basically learn how to operate a business. As it is a small company, I discovered quite quickly that not only could I learn everything I wanted, but that application of those techniques and skills was essentially mandatory to successfully fulfill client needs and firm requirements such as program development and management, business development, etc. On-the-job training was the primary method by which one learns the Toffler methodologies, gains an understanding of expectations, and becomes integrated into teams. Although I enjoyed that environment, I could see it not being ideal for others who need or like a more customized, more accommodating approach, such as those provided by the larger consulting firms. One of the great things about the company was that they were very willing and very supportive of their employees reaching out to almost anyone in any field of work anywhere on the planet. One of Toffler's big differentiating characteristics is that they purposely seek to incorporate global SME input for nearly every project and Toffler employees can generally get these interviews, even with powerful people, because of the Toffler name and legacy. The interview process was always fun. It was a time to think about marketplace, regional, global, or local connections between disparate ideas and bounce those ideas off of renowned business leaders, scientists, politicians, etc. I ultimately met or spoke with dozens of people about topics ranging from the impact of the incorporation of robotics into human sexuality on society/business all the way to fractionated satellite network concepts and the potential to exploit such concepts into terrestrial-based communication systems. This is not to say that everything I did was me sitting around imagining the future, far from it. Most of the work I did would fall under standard strategic consulting, whether it be on the pure BD side (going out to dinner with potential clients, going to conferences, etc.), to leading, planning, and writing RFI and RFQ responses, to developing tech-based solutions for unique client questions, to developing partnerships with other companies, and all the way back down to simple project or workstream leadership and weekly planning. Some of it was boring and mundane, some of it frustrating, but for the most part, it either came with the territory or was something unique. As for the people, throughout the significant change I experienced while at the company, I think something like 50% or more of the employees departed for one reason or another, particularly during the 'rebuilding phase' as I like to call it. What I found through this was that those who remained were incredibly resilient. With the smaller, more focused group of people, we rebuilt the company. We more than doubled our revenue, hired more than a dozen people, and fundamentally changed the way the company operated. It was a breath of fresh air. I can't pinpoint what the exact tipping point was, but when it happened, it was palpable. Everyone worked together for the company and a lot of the infighting I've seen referenced in historical reviews basically ceased to exist. It actually become a really awesome place to work. To top that off, the foundation of the company was more or less destroyed and rebuilt on purpose. With the new growth and largely new team, we created new values as a team, we focused a lot of energy on cultural development, and made the use of our mentorship program (Closest Colleagues) to an extent never done so in the firm's history. The company and its leadership devoted a phenomenal amount of resources to make the company a better place and I think it really showed. Within the Toffler vernacular there is a particular phrase that basically comes across as "you will learn 10 years' worth of business/leadership/consulting in 3 years." I believe this is very true and absolutely possible, but it does come with the requirement that such education is not simply provided. You must reach out and grab it. Toffler as a company might let some people sit idly by for a little while, but those who do simply idle have tended to fall by the wayside on their own accord. Toffler is a place for people who want to learn, who want to grow, who want to make their small bit of the world better, and most important, who want to work with and among others who share those same ideals. Sadly, I'm moving and cannot stay with the company as long as I had hoped, but can say without a doubt, it was the best growth experience I've had.
I'm not one to air dirty laundry and will not do so here, as any personal issues I may have with any other employee are simply personal and will remain so. Such relationship issues occur everywhere, whether that be at Toffler, my former employer, or my future employers. Do not come into this place thinking everything will be perfect. From a purely corporate standpoint, I believe the issues experienced during the rapid rebuilding phase and growth phase are by and large resolved. I think the biggest problem, which is in the midst of being resolved, was the initial lack of any formalized training.
Advice to Management
Keep a focus on strategic growth; balance the portfolio; and continue to hire great people who want to grow and want to make their little piece of the world just a little better.
I applied through a recruiter. The process took 4+ weeks. I interviewed at Toffler Associates.
Very rigorous. I wish that I had put as much time into researching them as they took to research me. They ask for all sorts of information to include social media sites. Unlike most employers they take the time to follow up on references and seek to dig up additional information not provided as part of an effort to fully profile the candidate prior to the interview. Due to the virtual concept most employees either work from home or have the option to go to the main office. Therefore, the interview is conducted over lunch with one of the seniors from the cool kids circle. If they like you disposition and attitude they will recommend you for additional consideration. Overall, the process takes about a month. On boarding is fairly straight forward, but security clearances tale time to pass to various locations.
Not much to it. Tell them what you want and they will counter.