Slowing Down to Start Up with InStep Consulting

InStep Consulting works with both new and established, nonprofit and for-profit companies on team building, stress management, and workplace diversity, among other things. Colette Ellis, its founder, believes that the more individuals and teams can find balance, the more they can accelerate their impact.

By competing to be Best for NYC, InStep Consulting has joined a community of businesses with something significant in common: the belief that measuring impact (not just financials) and committing to continuous improvement is good business. Colette Ellis’ perspective, however, is rather unique. Having consulted countless founders and taken the Best for NYC Challenge, Colette reminds businesses that making sound choices with intention from the beginning will benefit them in the long run. For organizations already in existence, she says, it’s a matter of considering what it would take to be better.

“How will your business be known?” she asks her clients. “A good place to work? Cognizant of what’s going on in the community in which you operate? Operating in a way that doesn’t completely destroy the planet?” Working backwards from the answers to these questions, businesses set targets. Colette illustrates: “This is the type of training we’d like to be able to offer our employees in the future, or this is the type of charitable giving we’d like to be doing in the future, or this is the type of energy conservation we’d like to be doing.”

“Wherever you start, you can always be striving,” she assuredly proclaims.

Meeting employees needs and fostering a healthy work environment are critical to cultivating and supporting workplace culture. In Colette’s words, “When people are fulfilled and working on tasks and projects they enjoy, or feel they can excel at, they’ll be more productive. From a diversity standpoint, more diverse opinions, knowledge, expertise, and backgrounds can lead to new ideas and innovation.”

Of course, taking the Challenge has enabled Colette to reflect on her own business’ struggles as well — and in the spirit of transparency, make them known to her clients. “Wherever you start, you can always be striving,” she assuredly proclaims. “It can be eye-opening for anyone, even if you’re doing great things already.”

The road is infinite, but Colette proposes startups and established businesses alike consider how to embed practices that benefit their workers, community, and environment. “It becomes proactive. You start to think about things that you can do in advance. With the Challenge, you’re looking back, but you can make intentional choices for the long-term.”

Leigh Brown is a B Corps Fellow working to grow the Best for NYC campaign at the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce and editor of this blog. Leigh is also an environmental justice advocate and an avid cyclist.