For the third time in our ten-year history, Cadence Communications & Research has been listed on Inc. Magazine’s “Inc. 5000,” its annual list of the fastest growing private companies in the nation. This year’s inclusion feels different to me; yes, we’ve had an amazing three-year revenue growth (116%!), expanded our service offerings, gained new clients and expanded our staff but I think this particular recognition is a validation of the principles our company was founded on.
Before we founded Cadence, many of us worked in toxic environments that were internally hyper-competitive, lacked transparency, and came with rigid hierarchical structures. We had been taught to assume that these corporate characteristics would push people to achieve their best possible work. But we had also seen that companies who embraced this assumption were full of employees who suffered from backstabbing, burnout, and bitterness. We felt there had to be a way to intentionally build a positive culture that also encouraged and empowered excellence.
In short, when we started Cadence, we wanted to have our cake and eat it too.
We set out to create and grow a professional services firm that consistently delivers great work to our clients, with prices that are transparent and fair, within an environment that is collaborative and supportive, and while thriving in a competitive landscape.
These ideals were and are the bedrock of Cadence. When we first shared them with well-meaning friends and colleagues, they were genuinely concerned for our welfare (and probably our sanity!). They had assumed, like most of us do, that the Old Way of using standard business practices were the only way to survive in the corporate world. One extended family member of mine predicted that Cadence would fail within a year, and forever stain my family’s name (Indians can be a bit on the dramatic side, if you’re not familiar with Bollywood cinema). To be fair, their concerns were not entirely unfounded; in 2008 America was going through one of its worst recessions in history, and all economic indicators were against taking this kind of risk. But while most people were seeking the shelter of established corporate umbrellas, we were compelled to run out into the storm to create something new.
Cadence started very simply: we had one client who believed in us and gave us one project. Then one project turned to more, one client turned to more, and everything just grew from there. Now we have an amazing company with fantastic employees doing things that make us genuinely proud every day.
I’m happy to say (especially to that particular family member), that at Cadence now:
- We have a strong base of large and small clients
- Our clients consistently report high levels of satisfaction
- We have expanded service offerings in market research, meeting planning, medical content development, patient-centric work
- We are fair and transparent with our clients
- We nurture a strong, positive culture that supports, coaches, and recognizes each individual to achieve their best
- Our leadership team works as true servant leaders, elevating and empowering our employees
It is truly humbling to have made it this far, and to have achieved so much of what we hoped for. Only about a third of all new companies survive ten years, and only 13% make it on the Inc. 5000 list three times. Although we’re thrilled to have done both, our real pride comes from the fact that we have validated the Cadence Way; the idea that it is possible to do good work for our clients, be good to each other, and thrive in the market. We know there are other companies who are developing similar philosophies, and it’s very exciting to witness. Please feel free to contact me if you are interested in these ideas or if we can serve you in any way.