This text came from an interview conducted by New City Magazine of Hong Kong in 2015.
Today in business having a strategy for unity is essential to innovate better in the new economy. This is what Consulus, an innovation consultancy headquartered in Singapore, discovered since 2004.
Coming from diverse disciplines such as business, finance, design and public relations: the founding partners of Consulus wanted to build a consulting firm that can make a real difference to businesses. The partners chose the name Consulus, which is the combination of the word ‘Consul’ meaning to take counsel and ‘Oculus’ which refers to the circular opening found in the Pantheon in Rome. The partners chose this name so as to remind themselves that it will always be a circle of leaders and that every leader should be at the service of the other.
This is a primary reason why Consulus found that the principles of Economy-of-Communion resonate with its core beliefs and business approach. Lawrence Chong, CEO, and co-founder of the firm shared: “We feel strongly that the EoC concept is the only way if we wish to shape a sustainable economy because we are convinced that unity is the 21st century way of building innovative companies. In fact, we have enshrined this belief in our annual pledge where we promise to build a company where unity is the norm of norms.” Today, Consulus helps mid-size and global companies who seek to be more innovative by redesigning their business models, organisational cultures, and brand experiences to help them transform to meet the challenges of the new economy.
However, to change the world, a new type of consultancy must emerge
At the foundation of the company, the partners understood that to truly practice unity they needed to practice a different kind of culture. One that will encourage sharing of ideas, specializations and achieve a high degree of trust. So much effort was invested to meet and share deep thoughts with each other. The idea is to create a community of experts rather than simply work with one another.
One very useful practice has been this weekly sharing session called Consulus Circle where consultants called Consulites from around the world are linked up via Skype to share their experiences for the week. This helps to build trust and makes it easier for the team to take on complex tasks together. A consultant shared this once: “What is unique about Consulus is that we try to be open to everyone. Voicing concerns and opinions, going out of our way to help a colleague despite it not being part of my job scope, asking each other how we are getting along or even the simple act of running errands/ buying food for each other. I have personally experienced the simple offer of having my letter posted for me. A simple act goes a long way and brought a smile to me.”
By practicing unity first, Consulus has been able to offer these tried and tested solutions to the clients to help them too. In the course of Consulus work, the company found that the biggest obstacle to innovation is the lack of trust which stems from poor organisational design. Using measurable data to assess the effects of lack of unity and introducing practical organisational approaches, Consulus has been able to help clients globally find greater success through implementing a strategy that enables effective collaboration and communication.
Soon an integrated method called UNIFY emerged after 12 years of transdisciplinary learning among business, organizational development, and design strategies; shaped by international and intercultural experiences of consultants from around the world with many different backgrounds and experiences. These two elements of a transdisciplinary approach and collaborative community life gave the company a unique competitive advantage and perspective to assist organisations to initiate and sustain innovation.
Unity also shapes the way Consulus grow its business. In seeking to collaborate with other complementary consultants, the firm has been able to achieve a bigger impact. Recently Consulus launched an exclusive partnership with one of South-east Asia’s leading architectural firm, CPG Consultants. Both companies have worked together for 12 years, and after establishing trust for so long, they decided to take their friendship to the next level by helping property developers think different and get them to contribute to shaping better societies through property development.
As it is in the purpose statement of Consulus to shape a better world, Consulus launched educational initiatives to shape the mindset of business leaders to shape a better world through business. One such platform is World Company Day where Consulus advocate the idea that there is something more than just profit, that it is possible for every company to shape a better world through daily work. Since 2005, over 200 companies have signed up and in Oct 2016, an MOU was signed with Siziwan Foundation to bring World Company Day into Taiwan.
The most important impact that Consulus brings is to help everyone discover that each one can only find their purpose in a spirit of unity. Lawrence recounts one memorable experience to underline this point “There was once when I was invited to a client’s 70th-anniversary dinner, and one of the directors ran towards me to thank me. He said that the framework of unity that we set up for them some years ago has worked and is producing results. When you hear this kind of feedback, it makes your heart sing because what we do can indeed shape a better world.”
The Consulus Partnership which grew from a small seed, inspired by the spirit of unity is now present in Singapore, Argentina, Bangladesh, Brazil, Brunei, Italy, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Vietnam.