I recently had the opportunity to attend one of Dean Olian's Distinguished Speaker Series events this Monday with Jim Moffatt '87, the CEO of Global Consulting at Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited. Jim joined Deloitte in 1987 after graduating from Anderson, became a partner in 1994, and has been a leader in Deloitte's global scaling initiatives, while focusing on the Energy and Life Sciences / Healthcare practice in particular. My classmate and outgoing president of Anderson's Strategy & Operations Management Association (SOMA) Amirali Ghasemipour had the honor of introducing Jim to a packed Korn Hall audience. The talk left several deep impressions on me, and challenged many of my assumptions:
Go Where the Innovation Goes: We all have preset notions of management consultants' time tested routines- walking in with sharp suits, collecting data, and then implementing a framework analysis and delivering an impressive set of slide decks for their clients- yet Jim's description of the practice could not be any more radically different. A key point he made, for instance, was that management consulting is inherently about adapting as quickly as possible to shifts in technology, industry trends, and client preferences- Deloitte intends to go where the innovation goes (as its recent history of technology and digital agency firms clearly demonstrates); no matter what function or industry you are in, for example, you have to learn to speak the language and understand the underlying concepts of the 21st century technological revolution. Jim made an important point about being cognizant not to surround yourself with people who tell you what you want to hear; that's a recipe for stagnant complacency and lost value, and a surefire way to get left behind.
Driven By Purpose: Moreover, as someone deeply passionate about human capital and organizational transformation, I especially gravitated towards Jim's comments and overall outlook on the millennial workforce. It's rubbish, he maintained, to assume millennial are any less committed to their organizations as the generation before. In fact, as he pointed out- when he joined Deloitte out of business school, he too planned on being there for only two years. The key, ultimately, to empowering a millennial workforce is to align their work with a meaningful purpose or call to action. It's not enough to expect to be able to retain your top talent just by handing over a paycheck every other week- there has to be a greater social, economic, or technological impact for it to be appealing. In addition, millennials want "cool", exciting jobs- it's one of the reasons Jim cites for why Deloitte specifically looks to enter into innovative fields like machine learning and digital strategy.
Make The Important Things A Priority: One of the biggest internal conflicts I've experienced- and I know many of my classmates have likewise experienced- in deciding whether to enter management consulting is the ability to balance your work and personal life. We've all heard the stories of consultants spending endless nights living in hotel rooms and on flights, but we don't often get to hear the other perspective of how people make it work. I had the opportunity to have lunch with Jim, Dean Olian, and a group of Anderson professors and students afterwards, where more intimate questions about work/life balance were posed. Jim spoke about how he would block off time on Fridays and Saturdays to coach his kids' baseball and soccer teams; it was his way of staying connected with his family. In the end, it's about blocking off time for the things that are most important. When Jim plans his week, he clearly blocks off the time he spends with his family first, and works around that to construct his busy schedule.
I'll be the incoming president of SOMA next year, and really hope to be able to bring more speakers and industry leaders like Jim on campus next year.