Standing on the Shoulders of Giants

If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants.
Isaac Newtown

One of the beauties of working in emerging technologies is that it is our job to help our clients prepare for the brave new world that awaits. But how does one do that when one first starts off as a consultant? How do you provide value and insight into how a client ought to manage their business? How do you help them see further, ask better questions, and get better answers?

The answer to all of these questions is one word: teaming.

I keep them up to date with regular email updates through the week and try to sit down with them for a weekly status meeting when we’re all at the office on Fridays.

At EY I’ve been lucky to have support from colleagues who have tremendous experience and knowledge. Whilst in my current project I may be out at the client site primarily by myself, I have numerous internal EY support networks that I can fall back on. One such network is the project team that is composed of the engagement partner, the engagement lead, and myself. With them I am able to discuss the finer points of the project and gain their insights on how best to proceed. I keep them up to date with regular email updates through the week and try to sit down with them for a weekly status meeting when we’re all at the office on Fridays.

With their significant experience (both in industry and in consulting) it feels like no problem is a complete unknown for them and that experience also translates to being able to think both tactically and strategically. For clients this means that they are receiving value as I am able to draw upon the collective knowledge of thought leaders and distill it for their relevant projects.

For me, this relationship also represents a huge part of why I got into consulting. Our clients are some of the largest companies in the world. They are also companies that are innovative and employ brilliant people in their respective fields. They hire consultants to help them identify and tackle large and difficult problems. The problems that we are dealing with are not the easy ones; they require both analysis and creativity to understand and to develop solutions.

But this kind of thinking  is not easily learnt, in fact I don’t think it’s entirely possible to learn these things theoretically. That is where the relationship between seniors and juniors becomes so important. This transference of knowledge and experience could probably be best encapsulated in a Master-Apprentice or GuruShishya like relationship, where it is through doing that the craft is learnt.

The idea that the completion of our education as consultants occurs in practice is supported by the EY SPOT ON program. There we are constantly moving around internal projects, interacting with different seniors, and being allowed to experiment in a safe, supported space.

So, what can I say to those who are interested in working in technology (especially emerging technology) but are worried about its challenges?

I would say that at EY my experience has been that you will receive huge levels of support to help you succeed. Your success is the companies success and people will go out of their way to help you if you ask for it. Secondly, the people that will offer help are often hugely experienced and highly credentialed. Finally, one of the cornerstone values of EY is teaming. Everyone wants you to succeed and achieve your goals – from clients, to your team, to the rest of EY- because the projects we do help to build a better working world.