“Trained by the McKinsey Business Technology Office in London, Katy has worked across three continents and consulted for multiple industries.” That’s how Talmix consultant Katy describes her career so far. With a career timeline playing host to some of the biggest and most influential organisations globally, Katy’s journey to independent consulting brings the experience, skill and credibility that most businesses dream of. We talk to Katy about her approach to independent consulting.
“My entire career focus has been performing the function of strategic consulting, whether internally or externally. As an ex-McKinsey consultant, I’ve worked for a number of organisations, in a number of countries where I have had the opportunity to put my training and development within McKinsey, into action”, she tells me. Katy, however, hasn’t always worked independently. After serving as a business analyst with the McKinsey Business Technology Office in London, and then later becoming an Associate with the business, Katy soon joined luxury drinks business Moet Hennessy Diageo China as their Business Development & Strategic Planning Director in Shanghai, China before joining the Lloyds Banking Group as their Director of Strategy & Planning. “I guess I’ve always had a functional focus. Clients and employers don’t hire me to tell them things they already know about their own industries. They hire me to help resolve the problems they have, in an innovative way. The fact that I have always been strategic in my approach to projects, has allowed me to work across industry and across customer type. Very often, the questions that I have to ask, are the same questions. I ensure that I take the time to get to know their business and their market, but ultimately, they hire me to help them adopt a new way of working that will take them to the next level of success”.
It was after her working at Beazley, the specialist insurance group who also has Lloyd’s syndicates, where Katy realised that it was time to adopt much more flexible working, with two young children, and so founded HAW Consulting Ltd. “What I discovered quickly as an independent consultant is that it’s critical for you to work according to your client’s environment and pace of work. You have to adapt to their company culture and build a relationship with them so that you are able to deliver the success they need, and which suits their culture and pace of work. You also have to adapt to the speed of change within that organisation. In some businesses, you may be expected to deliver something within 2 days, and in others, it may take a week for a decision to be reached. What has been good about my training and foundation with McKinsey is that I have been trained to work at a quick pace – which means, that for my clients, I’m never the bottleneck when things need to be done. I simply get things done”.
Katy has been consulting independently for over 3 years now. Her analytical-nature coupled with a strong career path so far means that she has the agility required to adapt to her client’s requirements. She describes her consulting style as being one that relies on the analytical, but she’s not afraid to roll up her sleeves and get stuck in. She admits that there have been learning curves and challenges along the way, especially when she first stepped out of the McKinsey world into a world where organisation-cultures varied substantially, but through communication and dialogue has learnt how to get the best out of the people she works with – regardless of their level of expertise or know-how. And as an independent consultant, where your level of authority is somewhat less than in a permanently employed position, the measure of your success depends on how you can leverage the relationships you have built up, and whether you are able to make things happen to achieve your business goal.
Katy’s confident approach to new projects and teams allows her to coach the best out of the people she works alongside – regardless of where they fit into an organisation. And whether she’s aiding an exec team on a Joint Venture opportunity, or whether she’s deploying a new marketing program throughout China, one thing is certain about Katy – she has the innate skill, solid training and exemplary experience to be able to deliver what her clients’ expect.
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