Randy Shumway: CEO of the Year
Congratulations to Randy Shumway, Founder, Chairman & Partner at Cicero Groupon being honored for “Lifetime Achievement” at the 2017 Utah Business CEO of the Year honorees.
Read more about all of the 2017 CEO of the Year honorees.
At the beginning of this year, Randy Shumway stepped away from his role as CEO of Cicero Group. The move was not a result of Shumway separating from the company he founded in 2001. Instead, it was a planned, strategic move intended to bring new life and energy to the firm—and to solidify it as a company that can and will grow into the future.
Shumway explains that he and his partner, Trent Kaufman, knew they wanted to establish a “perpetual” organization. “One of the ideas was that we needed to change leadership at some point,” he says. So now Shumway remains as chairman and partner of Cicero, while Kaufman has taken the lead as CEO.
When the company was founded 16 years ago, operating out of Shumway’s home, the consultancy firm had three clients. Now, with 350 employees, Cicero Group maintains offices in Salt Lake City, San Francisco, Boston, Boise and Hong Kong. The data-driven strategy consulting firm counts numerous Fortune 1000 companies as clients.
Shumway’s vision for the company was to utilize data—internal big data, secondary data and primary research—to help organizations pinpoint effective strategies. He says three principles are core to the success of Cicero Group: over-delivering on client expectations, a focus on people, and what he calls “scrappy conservatism.”
Early in the company’s history, Cicero had an engagement with a computer giant. But Shumway says the team quickly realized they could not provide what they promised—and over-deliver on expectations—on the budget they quoted to the client. But they were committed to delivering what they promised—and more—and so they plowed ahead with the project. And they lost “real money” on the deal, he says. But the computer company was more than pleased with the work and over time hired Cicero for several new projects. And as their executives left and went to other organizations, they spurred those organizations also to hire Cicero.
“Over deliver on clients’ expectations regardless of the cost,” says Shumway. “It comes back to benefit the company in the long term.”
A focus on people has helped Cicero Group build a top-notch team that Shumway would stack up against any other team in the world. In addition to great pay and a family-friendly work environment, Cicero offers 100 percent tuition reimbursement for graduate school. In fact, several nights a week Cicero employees can be found huddled together after hours, studying and preparing for upcoming projects and tests.
“Cicero’s been effective at really attracting, investing in and retaining the absolute most incredible team of people, and I think that’s created a foundation that offers exhilarating growth. It also makes it a great place to work. You get to work with and learn from some of the most incredible human beings,” Shumway says.
Although Shumway is no longer Cicero’s CEO, he still plays an active role in the firm. He says his new job description is basically to do whatever Kaufman tells him to do. “Trent’s given me a couple of assignments that are not just new to me, but they’re new to the organization. So in many ways I’m starting all over; I’m learning new skills and new things, and I’m finding it absolutely exhilarating.”