“What’s up with the name, Noonday?”
I get that a lot.
Noonday started when two of us, long-time friends and colleagues decided to strike out on our own after successful stints in the training and consulting sector. We had both been lead consultants for an industry stalwart. We worked with large corporations, helping senior leaders implement strategy through their people. I also did a tour of duty in senior management at the firm, experiencing first hand the challenges of being in the executive suite during a time of global downturn. While not even close to the definition of the word “fun,” that season was a formative time when the idealism of youth met the harsh realities of organizational life.
We came out of those years clear that we loved certain parts of business:
- We loved being around organizations that had a clear sense of purpose and were serious about doing their best work. Those places were energizing.
- We were endlessly fascinated by people, organizations, and the dynamics of how a noble vision gets translated into reality.
- Our biggest buzz came from helping people get clear, learn something new, and achieve breakthroughs.
- We loved working with colleagues who were excellent in their fields, whose character made us feel honored to be around them, and who were just fun to work with.
We noticed a few things over those years working with big corporations that we didn’t love and wanted to repair.
- We saw that many organizations dealt with strategy, human dynamics, and learning as completely separate food groups even though they are inextricably linked in real life. We knew that engaging in any of these activities in isolation severely impaired results; yet it was common practice to do just that.
- We saw that the best learning opportunities were often part of everyday work, yet most people and organizations were walking right past them. Instead, they were sending people to our workshops and seminars where we had to try to create a learning opportunity. #waste
- As a services firm, we noticed the ever-present temptation to chase more profits by growing bigger. The unintended consequence was that you inevitably had to compromise on the kind of work you took so that you could feed the ever-growing beast. Instead of doing your best work in situations where great things had a good chance of happening, you were tempted to do decent work wherever you might get paid.
So we started Noonday with a few core principles.
- We would be about helping clients rise as high as they could and shine as bright as they could.
- We would integrate strategy, learning, and culture in all of our work.
- We would only grow to the size where we could still be choosy about the clients we’d work with.
- We would select colleagues who were masters of their craft and who we liked to be around.
Most of all, we would pursue being the kind of firm that had joy deep in its bones, pursuing light and height in everything we do, just like the noonday sun.