Maria Bothwell is the CEO of Toffler Associates. Maria Bothwell is a thought leader, influencer, visionary, and successful entrepreneur. Maria provides the leadership and energy that has inspired the creation of Toffler Associates. Maria Bothwell joins other leading CEOs and Founders taking part in our Leader Roundtable Interview Series. The DotCom Magazine editorial team has recently awarded Toffler Associates our Impact Company of 2019 award, and we are delighted to have Maria join us for our Leader Round Table Interview.
The Toffler Associates story is very interesting, and we are very excited to not only interview Maria about her very successful business and entrepreneurial spirit, but also put Maria through our popular speed round as well. Maria, thank you so much for taking the time out of your busy day for this interview, and answering some questions about leadership, your vision, and your passion.
1. What is the “elevator pitch” for Toffler Associates?
Toffler Associates is a future-focused strategic advisory firm. We help executives and boards understand blind spots, disruptions and opportunities; and build a plan for today. We bring an intellectually creative team with diverse experience to uncover the future shocks shaping cultures, societies, organizations, and individuals. With these lenses, we help discover the right questions to ask and identify the first, second, and third order effects for each scenario.
2. Many of our readers are just starting to build a company. What advice can you give CEO’s just starting out regarding keeping a company moving forward, and please tell us the key to your company’s success?
The value in the CEO is keeping an eye in the future, understanding the landscape of possibilities, and inspiring the team to achieve great things today. The key to our success is our strong values which define who we are and how we work with our customers: being curious lifelong learner, engaging in diverse define thought, speaking truth to power, and committing to connect.
3. For other entrepreneurs seeking to build a business as successful as yours, what advice can you give them when times get a little challenging?
My advice during tough times is slow down, ask questions, listen, and be courageous to make the difficult decisions required for the business. Sometimes complicated or challenging issues cause a need for more analysis and more data which could end up as analysis paralysis. I believe it is important to take the first step, make a decision or take an action. New data and insight will emerge with time, assumptions will be adjusted, and decisions can be adjusted if needed.
4. How important is the commitment to client satisfaction at Toffler Associates, and how do you make sure your customers will become raving fans of your company?
Toffler Associates is a client focused strategic advisory business that guarantees the quality of its work. We’ve worked with many clients for more than a decade, and most of our work is sole sourced or generated via referrals. This is our indicator of customer satisfaction.
5. What is the one thing Toffler Associates does to have great communication with their customers?
We approach every conversation with new or long-time clients as a place to bring value. It is important that each interaction the client feels like they have been listened to and they learned something insightful or relevant to their organization. To do this, we hire curious team members with high emotional IQ and our research informs those conversations.
6. In today’s fast changing business environment, how do you stay abreast of things?
The nature of our business is to look across industries to identify drivers of future change that will impact public and private organizations. Our entire team is built with sensing capabilities looking outside for relevant insight, and all of our client engagements include research as part of our methodology.
7. What is your “Why”? Why do you get up in the morning, and how do you keep yourself at peak performance to lead Toffler Associates?
In 1996, Alvin and Heidi Toffler founded this eponymous advisory firm. Our enduring goal is to guide governments and businesses working to transform their organizations to be FUTURE PROOF®. We continue to hold ourselves accountable for creating a better future for our clients, our company, and ourselves.
8. Can you recommend a book that has had an influence in your career? How did it influence you?
Given our founders, I’d have to recommend Revolutionary Wealth by Alvin and Heidi Toffler. The Tofflers explore how different parts of society are moving at radically different paces. The nature of society and relationships between people, political, and economic structures, are significantly altered by the impact of new technology. Additionally, to some degree, people’s lives are modified to serve that new technology.
This book influenced me by helping me understand the patterns of change in society, different industries and government. It helps me to frame a client’s business challenge and apply methods to help solve.
”Some degree of de-synchronization is necessary in every society, but America’s institutions are so badly out of synch that large parts of our economy and infrastructure are in danger of collapse or of falling far behind in the global economy. On a larger scale, we may find ourselves slowing down technological development in the period ahead instead of speeding up organizational change.” – Alvin Toffler
9. When communicating with your staff, can you tell us the most important thing you do so that they are able to carry out the objectives that you set forth at Toffler Associates?
I embrace the servant leadership approach and see my primary role as enabling the team to best serve our clients. This may mean coaching a more junior associate on methodology or a business model. Or it may mean rolling up my sleeves with a client team to work on a tough problem. I try to be a positive role model for direct and supportive communications.
10. In one sentence, can you give some advice to fellow CEOs and entrepreneurs wishing to build a company as exciting as Toffler Associates?
Lift your head and look outside.
We would like to have some fun and do a “Speed Round” with you! We will ask you ten more questions that we want you to answer in just one to three words only.
Here you go!
1. In three words or less, What makes a successful CEO?
Calm confidence and courage.
2. Describe your business in one word?
3. Describe your customers in one word?
4. What one attribute do you look for when hiring an employee?
5. What is the one word you want your customers to say about your company?
6. In three words or less, describe your passion?
Learning and solving problems.
7. In three words or less, describe what it takes to be successful?
Patience and presence.
8. In three words or less, describe your first year in business at Toffler Associates?
Exhilarating and stressful. (please note in founding year of 1996 I was not employed at TA. My first year was 2017)
9. In three words or less, describe how running a successful company has changed you?
Respect for diverse thought.
10. What is the one word that you believe has the most power in the English Language?
Maria Bothwell, Thank you so much for sitting down with us at our DotCom Magazine Leader Round Table. We very much appreciate the time you spent helping others learn more about what it takes to be a leader. We hope your interview helps our readers, and we wish you, your family, and of course Toffler Associates, nothing but the best.
Maria Bothwell, CEO of Toffler Associates, The Leader Roundtable Interview Series