Growing Fast at 40+

Published on: November 3, 2015

How can a firm that’s already been in business for over 40 years be one of the SF Business Times  Bay Area’s 100 Fastest Growing Private Companies?

“Growth is an important measure of success,” explains GNU Group President/CEO Phil Murphy, “We’re constantly seeking ways to improve our performance and have implemented a number of programs and changes recently that are making a difference.” Our recent success can be directly attributed to our company culture.

While every company has a distinct culture, some are by default and some are by design. Ours is strategic and is the foundation of our practice. We call it GNU’s Explicit Culture™. It is based on 4 simple and straight-forward pillars.

1. Financial Transparency – As Phil explains, “Everyone is an owner but without the same degree of risk.” We share performance goals and results. In addition to making all information available, the firm is committed to sharing the success. Everyone knows what is expected of them and how their contributions will impact the firm’s success and how they will share in the rewards.

2. Prescribed Processes – Our success is predicated on creativity and efficiency. Our processes and training may be atypical of a creative firm but systems never inhibit creativity. Good management is fundamental to both our client’s and our own success.

3. Honest Communications – We promote candid and open discourse. It eliminates agendas that bubble below the surface in so many companies. Perhaps more than any other factor, honest communications has been the foundation of the firm’s culture.

4. Personal Responsibility – The expectations incumbent in the first 3 pillars mean that everyone is accountable. This requires doing what you say you will do, adhering to the processes, bringing a positive and energetic attitude to the office each day, respecting your peers and wanting to be a part of the company’s future.

Our team continues to grow and our leadership is constantly seeking opportunities for improvement. Our merger with Donnelly Design combined the talents of Tom Donnelly and Dickson Keyser to greatly enhance our design team’s capabilities. Our Director of Business Development, Martin Kindred, has brought us wonderful opportunities, clients and projects. Andrea Guzman, our Director of Project Management, leads an inspired group dedicated to delivering Pain Free project management for every assignment. Phil believes the recent addition of Sandi Najera as COO, who joins us from AECOM, is adding a new perspectives for our leadership team and business strategies while allowing him to focus on GNU’s future growth. Our entire team of 33 professionals come to work each day committed to our Explicit Culture™ and are laser focused on delighting our clients with the best possible service and solutions.

Sounds easy? We won’t go so far as to say it is never without its hiccups, but the San Francisco Business Times recognition is testimony to the power of culture and that what we are doing is right.

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