The start of the Accenture financial year is September. I normally start with a well thought out plan and new year resolutions but found myself too deep in execution of client and internal leadership roles to do so. Here are my belated reflections and plans.
I am pleased with the year that I’ve had which included a good client and team story, an expanded leadership role on the Accenture UKI Strategy & Consulting Management Board, and leading our early talent team of ~900 analysts.
But is that enough?
At week 70, I found myself content with progress made to date but holding myself back, feeling increasingly concerned that I am in a state of ‘managed restlessness’.
What did I do?
I took a week of annual leave to disconnect, reset and plan. I visited Azerbaijan for the first time and immersed myself in a language, history and culture I knew nothing of. Off the beaten track travel is my perfect ‘antidote’ when I need to de-stress and gain a new perspective.
What perspective did I gain?
Firstly, a huge appreciation for a beautiful country located between Russia and Iran — a nation steeped in ancient history (think Silk Road), rich in oil and natural gas, home to natural phenomena (Burning Mountain), some of the most original modern architecture I’ve witnessed and a Muslim nation that produces exquisite wine.
Secondly, a plan emerged. I decided to convert my managed restlessness to managed agitation. There are three areas that I’ve prioritised where I believe managed agitation can accelerate growth:
1. Early talent — there are some big changes we need make to continue to keep our early talent engaged. It includes thinking and acting differently from when we were early talent, listening attentively to current analysts and being deliberate in our actions and how we execute. Moreover, leadership has an important role to play.
2. Client — remain steadfast in being a catalyst for iconic changes within the telecoms industry. It’s easy to give in and make tweaks around the edges rather than going the hard yards for the good of customers, clients, industry (and society). But what an accomplishment it would be if we could get behind a game changing vision together. I believe that Accenture is unique in its ability to conceptualise and execute on iconic programmes — it’s a key reason I joined 70 weeks ago.
3. My box — get rid of it! I’ve sat in many meetings where many women wait to be brought into conversations while other attendees readily jump in. I am one of these women! I am challenging myself to jump in and speak when I am not asked to. This certainly is a stretch goal for me!
What does this all mean?
I have loved my first 70 weeks. I feel like I’ve made a difference and an impact, particularly at the beginning. But, I’ve also felt like I’ve slowed down on challenging and have started to ‘go native’. There is balance to be had between fitting in and going native and that’s where managed agitation comes in. I have spotted a few things that I believe could benefit from a fresh perspective and so my belated watch word for this FY is ‘Agitate’.
Agitate for the good of our talent, clients and leadership.