December 3, 2013 Leave a comment
A little while back I read a great interview with Dyson Chief Executive Max Conze that really made me think about my career and the firm that I work for: West Monroe Partners. In this article, which really was fascinating to me considering how innovative Dyson is and how high profile their founder is, Mr. Conze states: “The best you can do is hire a lot of smart young people, give them a lot of responsibility and they’re going to grow on it”.
That is a truly profound statement – and the exact opposite of how most organizations work, but not all. Nowhere in my fifteen year career have I seen this done more effectively than at West Monroe Partners, where I have been for nearly three years. We hire bright young people and very quickly they have a lot of responsibility and a lot of freedom. This helps them develop extremely fast and I find myself trusting people ten or more years my junior with tasks I hardly trust myself with.
Dyson is obviously doing amazing and innovative work, and so is West Monroe. I am really coming to realize it is because the way we hire and the people we hire that we are able to be so agile and so innovative. It can be very tempting to not delegate to junior staff, but is important for them, for you, and for your company to do so.
Mr. Conze credits his military background with this philosophy and it reminds me of a quote by a military legend: “Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity” – General George S. Patton Jr.
I really am proud and fortunate to work at an organization that places such value on its people. At the end of the day it is all a consulting firm has. We do hire smart young people (and smart older people like me as well). And we’re hiring now!