You’ve been US Chairman and Senior partner for just over a year and you’ve already been through a lot. I’m curious to know: What did you think this job was going to be like? And what did it actually turn out to be? How do those two things -- the expectation and the reality -- compare?
Having served on the leadership team for the last several years, I had an idea that the job was about serving our clients, being with our people and working with our external stakeholders. And when I reflect on the last year that is largely what I've done. The most inspiring part of the job is being with our people.
Of course, for me, there are a couple of key priorities-- one of which has not only been to make PwC more inclusive, but also to work with other business leaders to make all of our organizations more inclusive.
One of the things that I'm most proud of in my first year as Chairman and Senior Partner of PwC is working with my fellow CEOs to launch the CEO Action for Diversity and Inclusion (www.CEOAction.com).
Blessed or cursed, I'm not sure which, I know that I am wired to look for what is around the corner. I have also learned from Daniel Burrus, author of Flash Foresight, that everyone can be anticipatory and develop a vision for the future. It is a skill and it takes practice. It also takes prioritizing "white space" on your calendar to think, not react.
My advice to young professionals would be to lean into the speed of the change around us. Learn how to be anticipatory, learn how to know future facts such as hard trends. Practice being anticipatory with your clients and team members. Schedule calendar time to prioritize thinking space. Be intentional in finding others with a similar passion to interact with. Schedule 15 minutes a day to READ about the future.
I noticed a lot of two for one questions today, Caleb. Is that a hard trend or soft trend? Have a great day! j
And that challenge and collaboration requires diversity, right? Diverse demographics, of course, but also of thought, too, which usually go hand-in-hand. Here's something that you wrote that's really interesting:
We have to interrupt the natural system. Left to our own natural
tendencies, we will gravitate toward people we perceive to be like
us—who went to our same school, have our same religious beliefs, or
share our skin color or gender.
A couple questions related to this: 1) Do you think the accounting profession has a blind spot when it comes to diversity and inclusion? 2) What successes and failures have you had interrupting that natural system?
Caleb, it is very similar in how
you boil a frog. I noticed the water was getting warmer but until I
surveyed our partners in 2012 on how they were serving as trusted advisors, I
had no idea how hot the water really was. Everyone was a trusted
advisor and of course we were posting it on everything including the website
like every other CPA firm.
As I began to interact with other firms on this subject, the complacency
was rampant. Again, everyone was claiming to be a trusted advisor.
Are these accountants that are looking to acquire their 150 credit hours, or accountants who are pursuing an MBA for other reasons? If they are doing an MBA for their 150 credit hours, then they have certain required courses that they have to take at the graduate level.
I would recommend that for their electives, they focus on more management or strategy based courses in order to give them a wider perspective on decision making that is required at an executive level. For the 150 hours, they would need to pursue an MS in Accounting. If they are just going back to school for an MBA, not for the 150 credit hours requirement then I would recommend a General Business MBA in order to keep their options open.