Posted: 29 Oct. 2021 3 min.

Subjecting yourself to diversity of thoughts – and why it feels great

Topic: Resilient Leadership

Meet Sophie and Hetav, two of our young, talented employees. Sophie has a master’s degree in Economics. She is one of those ambitious young women who master all the heavy theories, but always adds a human touch to her work at Deloitte, acting as a buddy for newjoiners, focusing on collaboration and networking, always thinking about how we interact as people, how we turn individual achievement into a team effort.

Hetav, on the other hand, comes from a completely different background. He has studied history and international law. Before joining Deloitte, he was coordinating anti-radicalisation projects across different public institutions such as Copenhagen Municipality, National Police, and the Foreign Service. Here, he worked with some very complex social challenges, including the extremely difficult and sensitive question of how to handle and resocialize foreign fighters that return from Iraq and Syria. These experiences have given him an outside-in perspective on how we as human beings are drawn to communities that are built on strong values and ideas.

What unites Sophie and Hetav is not only that they are both part of our fantastic Deloitte Consulting organisation, but also that they are part of the newly established 12-person board that we have chosen to call the ‘Junior Advisory Board’.

Diversity of thought
Why establish a Junior Advisory Board? Well, the very simple answer is that I am well in my 50’s, and even though there is an obvious advantage of having +30 years of experience, there is evidently also a disadvantage of maybe being too locked in one’s own view of how things should and shouldn’t be.

In a more flattering language, it’s what we call ‘diversity of thought’ – something which is easy to say, but not always easy to practice. For me personally, I really feel that now is exactly the right time to force myself to be exposed to the new ideas of a new generation of talents who are starting their career in such turbulent times.

And these are indeed turbulent times: On the back of a global pandemic, we are looking into new ways of working, new digital habits, a new awareness of gender and equality, new business models being tested in almost all industries as well as climate and sustainable transformation everywhere.

These trends can seem overwhelming, which is exactly why we have to come together across all our different backgrounds, educational baggage, know-how and life experiences to solve the toughest challenges. That’s true for Deloitte as for all other organisations.

And let me tell you, meeting our new Junior Advisory Board was an amazing experience! The energy alone, and all the ideas, thoughts, questions and passions were just extraordinary to hear.

Of course, they will be met with certain expectations as they have applied to join the board. I will expect them not only to bring their questions, but also be committed to finding the answers, and committed to execute those initiatives we decide to move forward. If you want something to change, expect to be the beacon of change yourself, and expect to put in the hard work to build support for your ideas.

On the other hand, I know that I have to offer something in return for this commitment, which in this case means sharing more of my own thought process than I would normally share. Joining the advisory board should be a chance to get closer to the core of running the country’s largest consulting organisation, and experiencing some of the strategic decisions that I along with the rest of the leadership team choose to make.

So commitment goes both ways – like it always should.

An ambitious agenda
So, what will we be working on during the coming months? Well, many things

Following the pandemic, like many other organisations we are restarting and rethinking many of our development programmes in Deloitte Consulting. Similarly, we are putting a lot of energy into giving our people the most relevant work and development opportunities to ensure that everyone has the chance to fulfil their potential and show their talent.

We will also take a much closer look at sustainability and how the sustainability agenda will change both our own ways of working, and how our clients work.

And we will definitely be working with diversity and inclusion, which are agendas that are very close to people’s heart – and mine as well.

Sophie had a great point: Like all other companies we are facing some major changes in the coming years, but it’s not necessarily up to the leaders to come up with all the answers. We all care for our organisation because we want it to move forward and succeed – and in that process everyone should have a voice.

Hetav had another great point:  Diversity brings complexity. We cannot expect that bringing together a bunch of people with widely different backgrounds and experiences will be the diversity miracle cure for our business. The key is that the more cognitively diverse our teams are, the more important it is to have inclusive leaders who can manage and facilitate creative problem-solving and our teams’ managerial processes. An inclusive leader will understand the value which different styles of thinking bring to the table and is skilled at encouraging people to both contribute their own thinking and being open to the perspectives and ideas of others. 

Forfatter spotlight

Martin Søegaard

Martin Søegaard

Partner

Martin is the manager of Deloitte's Danish and Nordic consulting business and has more than 25 years of experience in advising Danish and international companies. Martin is at the forefront of developing a consulting practice across the Nordic region that can assist Danish and international companies on their most complex transformation journeys. This includes a focus on management, the establishment of ecosystems as well as on diversity in professionalism and competence.