A few years ago, when I joined Deloitte’s Customer & Marketing business, I was like a bright-eyed kid looking for a great adventure. As I went along the road, I stumbled upon some unwritten rules and learnings that have served me well over the course of my career with Deloitte.
Here is my unofficial guide to finding your way in this big organisation:
When in Rome, become a Roman
I had read countless case studies that mentioned that companies with strong culture are more successful, and so are the employees who imbibe the culture.
So, I set out on my Deloitte journey to seek complete cultural integration. I observed people, asked questions, made mental notes, and started to pick up terminology, creating my own glossary of terms for reference.
I told my husband that we need to set up a regular “cadence” of date nights and that if he doesn’t help our elder child with homework, his husband “performance snapshot” may not be as good. When my husband pointed out that the frequency of my spa trips was increasing, I reminded him that it is essential to my “well-being,” and that this should continue to be among our “priorities” for this year.
During my integration process, I once absent-mindedly tried using my Deloitte access card to enter my apartment building!! Time flew by, and one day someone asked me, “How many years have you been at Deloitte?” I smiled and said seven; seven months. I had become a Roman!
Know thy network
I haven’t met a single person so far, who after joining Deloitte hasn’t heard the term “networking” at least a thousand times in the first couple of months! Like most others, I wondered what the fuss is all about, until the day came when I needed to secure seats for my project team. I had no idea where to start. My teammate suggested that I find this elusive “seating SPOC1” to get my wish.
So, I started my hunt by emailing someone I knew. That person looped in two more people, and so the email went around for three days, with more and more people from across locations getting added to it.
Finally, I had the name! I pinged that person, and in response I heard, “I am right here.” Feeling completely disoriented, I looked around frantically trying to identify the source of the sound. I finally saw someone sitting right behind me, waving at me. He was the seating SPOC! Since then, I have actively invested in getting to know people, and building my own network to get the right information quickly. I now have as many as 10 pings a day exchanging information ranging from how to file an expense to how to give a haircut!
Curiosity didn’t kill the cat
Believing that it is better to be foolish today, than forever, I didn’t hold back when it came to asking questions about things that I didn’t understand. I asked questions at every opportunity. I remember asking a senior PPMD2 what a PPMD is!
The amount of learning that followed all that questioning was tremendous. It helped me feel more knowledgeable and confident over a period of time.
Of course, things got a bit out of hand as more people started taking notice of my penchant for questioning, and I started getting invited to a wide variety of sessions with an undernote—please ask questions (no pressure, curious cat!)
When in doubt, set up a meeting
I remember during my early months, a senior leader asked me to work on a proposal. I went through the email and attachments multiple times, but just could not figure out what needed to be done! In near panic, I called a co-worker friend to ask what I should do. He gave me the best advice I would ever get, “Set up a meeting.”
So, I did. During the meeting, after a few minutes of awkward silence, the senior leader said, “If you are expecting me to tell you something, I don’t know anything.”
After nervous laughter, we discussed whatever information we had, and were eventually able to come up with a plan of action.
Take fun seriously
If you have never participated in extra-curricular activities throughout school or college, you may seriously want to consider Deloitte as a career choice. Here, you will forever be surrounded by people who, in addition to being brilliant at their job, are amazing artists, singers, dancers or photographers, and great at having fun.
Since I didn’t have any remarkable skill in any of these areas, I decided to put my compulsive planning and organization skills to use, by bringing such people together.
During my first year at Deloitte, I organized events of every shape, size, and colour. From small group connects to practice-wide outings, I organized them all!
Besides being fun, this created a great opportunity for me to meet people who I would not have otherwise crossed paths with. As I dealt with more complex challenges, I had this diverse network that I could tap into. With all this experience, just in case consulting doesn’t work out as a career for me, there’s always event planning! (Just kidding!)
To sum it up, we all want to work at a place where we belong, and learning the culture goes a long way in creating that feeling of belonging. As my amazing adventure continues, I hope to discover more such rules of the road along the way!
What are your unofficial rules for your workplace?
1SPOC: Single Point of Contact
2PPMD: Partner Principal Managing Director
The views expressed here are of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of her current, former, or future employers or any organization with which she is associated.
Neha Verma is a Senior Manager within Customer & Marketing at Deloitte Consulting India Private Limited. Neha is focused on growing marketing capabilities and is experienced in delivering omni channel marketing and campaign solutions for clients, to drive their branding and revenues. Neha is passionate about “elevating the human experience” by orchestrating engaging campaigns across channels such as Email, Search, Social, Display and others.