Founded in 1985, First Concepts Consultants, Inc., a management and marketing consulting firm, has worked with organizations in over 30 different industries. The firm has helped organizations find ways to profitably grow, increase sales, implement new strategies, improve leadership effectiveness and change cultures. First Concepts focuses on the relationship of an organization to its markets and everything that affects that relationship.
The firm specializes in decision making…how to improve employee, manager and executive decisions and how to influence the decisions of prospective customers. This emphasis grows out of First Concepts core philosophy that an organization’s results are produced by the sum total of all of its employee’s thoughts. Read “It’s All About Thinking” to better understand this concept. The firm was founded by Don Shapiro who remains its president and lead consultant.
In the beginning, the firm offered strategic, service and operations consulting to the restaurant industry along with sales training and sales management consulting to firms with outside sales forces. Within three years, firms from other industries asked for assistance on a variety of issues concerning manufacturing, marketing, service and quality. With each new industry, First Concepts would conduct research to develop recommendations and solutions that were specific to their needs.
As the number of industries increased, First Concepts was able to develop a deeper understanding into what affected organization success because it discovered common patterns across these diverse industries. That enabled the firm to expand its services into strategy, planning, complete reorganizations and cultural changes that all contributed to its primary expertise in how people make decisions and what would cause those decisions to change.
Implementation: The Marriage of Strategy and People
It is implementation where First Concepts ultimately separated itself from other consulting firms. Don Shapiro grew more and more frustrated with clients liking the firm’s recommendations but not implementing them well or at all. The traditional consulting model appeared to fall short of what client’s really needed. That’s when the firm collectively rolled up its sleeves and become deeply involved in helping clients to actually implement solutions as well as create implementation plans and programs.
It was from this effort that the firm began emphasizing the connection between strategy and people. Solutions, which are simply a collection of ideas be it a strategy, program, or improvement, mean nothing unless the people in the organization can apply them on the job. So the people related issues of selection, training, motivation, communications, leadership, measurement, resistance to change and more all became critical components of First Concepts approach. Up until that time, there were consulting firms that focused on each of these areas separately but no one appeared to combine them into one integrated solution that treated everything as a part of one system.
25 Years of Learning
More than anything, First Concepts has become the ultimate learning organization. Each client, each challenge, each industry added to the firm’s research into what affected organization success. That resulted in First Concepts developing its own original concepts concerning strategy, structure, marketing, sales, service, quality, implementation, human resources and leadership. Beyond this, it honed over 40 years of work into decision making, problem solving, critical thinking, systems theory, creativity and how people change.