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Leadership Tips from Jackie Gilmore Director Consulting at Deloitte

A little bit about myself:

I’m a Consulting Director in the Human Capital practice within Deloitte.

I’m passionate about the intersection of business, people, language and culture and support senior executives and Boards of global listed companies with their human capital needs as they relate to strategy, organisation transformation, organisation design, leadership and talent, culture and M&A integration.

I qualified in Interpreting and Translation from Heriot-Watt University in 2004 before going on to secure my MBA with the UCD, Smurfit School of Business in 2007 and have continued to build on my executive development since then. I have 20 years’ experience in commercial industry roles across the tech consumer, telco and financial services sectors and latterly within professional managed services. I am motivated by the opportunity to build business and to make an impact with clients and our teams.

My tips on building a strong culture within professional managed services…

Like most organisations, it starts with clarity of purpose. Are we clear on why we are here, the impact we are trying to achieve and what success will look like for clients and employees. By aligning our goals with broader company strategy and understanding how broader organisational values can help employees to achieve success, we build a purposeful culture. What does that look like in practice? We treat our clients well and the success of our business is not transactional but it’s about building partnerships that exceed expectations. Equally, we treat our teams well and are focused on ensuring they are given the bandwidth to invest in their areas of interest or pet projects, complete meaningful work and work in a way that it both collegiate, respectful and engenders the right behaviours.

My secret to driving change through challenging times…

There are lots of inputs that can help drive change during a technical turnaround or difficult period in an organisation, be it a clearly defined plan, new business infrastructure or re-organisation. However, in order to clearly realise the benefits of change while managing talent as well as the narrative to the Board or the market, transformational leadership is essential. From my perspective, there are very specific leadership capabilities that are needed during this time. You need a reframing mind that considers various points of view, a leader who is clear on vision but close to the detail, one who is passionate, energetic but removed enough in parallel and one who leads with authenticity, courage and vulnerability, which in turn helps to build long-term commitment and trust.

My secret to becoming a true partner to our clients…

  • Always give more to the relationship than you get or expect to receive.
  • Be useful in a big way – be curious, listen effectively.
  • Take the time to understand the business in detail and the clients’ specific challenges, so you can speak knowledgeably about the totality of their business, not just the area or specialism you represent.
  • Always keep listening to their market and yours.
  • Invest in cultivating the relationship over time; it may not yield opportunities for business now but will in the future, as you continue to add value.
  • Say ‘thank you’. The personal touch accounts for so much, taking time to express gratitude and appreciation shouldn’t be overlooked. We could take some pointers from Douglas Conant here. During his time as CEO of Campbells, he wrote 30,000 handwritten “thank-you” notes to his employees

The biggest challenge facing my industry today…

We are fortunate that Ireland remains a small, open economy and attractive country to many organisations and people. We have rebounded with gusto from the fallout of the economic collapse in 2008 and are now seeing greater degrees of inward FDI, positive economic fundamentals and sustained positive consumer sentiment. Consequently, we are now at a point where we are nearing full technical employment in Ireland and whilst this is a welcome development, it does create its’ own pressures on talent for all organisations, irrespective of sector.

As many businesses are radically disrupted, are grappling with how to monetize new technologies or are gearing up for imminent megatrends, be it, cyber security or otherwise, they are calling on professional services organisations for support.

‘Big 4’ environments have a reputation for hiring bright people with demonstrable capabilities & are known for investing heavily in their training and development. This means they are attractive to the market. As such, acquiring ‘hot skills’ or deep subject matter expertise remains top of mind for our business, so that we can continue to serve our clients in the way they have come to expect. In addition, as a leader in the firm, I am expressly focused on ensuring our employees are in an environment, which offers a strong culture, value proposition & opportunities for growth.

The greatest opportunity available to our industry today is…

Create a phenomenal, enduring impact for our clients. Never stop re-thinking, re-imagining their businesses so that we can continue to surprise and delight and remain relevant- avoiding the perils of Clayton Christensen’s much-lauded, Innovators Dilemma.

If you could step into the shoes of one person for the day, who would it be and why?....

As someone who has an avid interest in US politics, I have admired Eleonor Roosevelt for some time. She was known as an activist who lived her values, standing firm against racial discrimination and campaigned vociferously for social change, at a time when it was uncommon & unpopular to do so. She later rose to the challenge of adopting a prominent role as Chair of the UN Human Rights Commission. She was also a mother and wife, who shaped the first lady role and paved the way for women to apply themselves to the challenges of public political life and use this as a force for good. In my mind, she was capable of doing it all and I’d love to know what activated her to do all of this, where did her drive stem from?

Articles by Lorraine Bolger