VP and General Manager, Consulting BU (Global Head of Consulting)
“When a business succeeds, it’s because everyone on the team did what they needed to do. But when a business fails, the buck stops with the leader.”
At one level, the responsibilities of the VP and General Manager for our Consulting Business Unit (Global Head of Consulting) are pretty straightforward. You are responsible for evaluating opportunities and determining what gets built and delivered to customers, profitably, by leading the team that helps you do so. Sounds simple enough. And the mechanics of this are not the hard part. What’s hard is to make sure that what gets built is worth building – and achieves a return on investment. Today, the best teams want to see some evidence that what you’re asking them to build is truly worth building. Every business depends on customers. And what customers buy—or choose to use—is the service or product you build for them. You are responsible for what your team will build or deliver and sell. So, this is why the Global Head of Consulting is the person we hold responsible and accountable for the success of the business unit.
First and foremost is deep knowledge of our actual and potential customers. To make this explicit, you need to become an acknowledged expert on the customer: their issues, pains, desires, how they think, how they work, and how they decide to buy. To be successful, you must enjoy spending time with customers. But they rarely reveal the secret code to customer success directly. You are going to need to be fluent with data and analysis, with both quantitative and qualitative skills. You will have to design ways to market to and sell to customers. This will require you to lead sales pursuits, support sales pursuits, and build and maintain relationships with your customers. You will need to come up with innovative marketing messages that catch the imagination of customers.
Successful business units are not only loved by customers, but they must work for our company. The second critical contribution—and the one that is often considered the most difficult by many general managers—is a deep understanding of our company and how it works and the role your business unit plays in it. This is tougher than it sounds. It means knowing your various stakeholders and learning the constraints they operate under. Our key stakeholders represent executive management, sales, marketing, finance, legal, and corp dev. Your CEO, the board, and investors are very important stakeholders as well. Succeeding in the role of general manager means convincing each key stakeholder that you understand their constraints and are committed to only delivering solutions that you believe are consistent with those constraints.
The third critical contribution is deep knowledge of the market and industry in which you’re competing. This includes not only your competitors but also key trends in technology, customer behaviors, and expectations, following the relevant industry analysts, and understanding the role of social media for your market and customers. Our markets have more competitors today than ever before. Further, competitors understand the value in services and products that are sticky, and this means that it can be difficult for prospective customers to move from your competitor to you. This is one of the big reasons why it is not enough to have services or feature parity with a competitor. Rather, you need to be substantially better to motivate a user or customer to switch. Another reason to have a deep understanding of the competitive landscape is that your services or products will need to fit into a more general ecosystem of others. Ideally, your service or product is not only compatible with that ecosystem but adds significant value to it. Further, our industry is constantly moving, and we must create services and products for where the market will be tomorrow, not where it was yesterday.
Now that we’ve explained what the general manager needs to contribute to the company let’s consider the kind of person who thrives in this role. The successful general manager must be the very best versions of smart, creative, and persistent.
By smart, we don’t just mean raw IQ. We especially mean intellectually curious, quickly learning and applying new technologies to solve customer problems, reach new audiences, or enable new business models.
By creative, we mean thinking outside the usual box of features or capabilities to solve business problems.
By persistent, we mean pushing companies way beyond their comfort zone with compelling evidence, constant communication, and building bridges across functions in the face of stubborn resistance. You will fail. And learn. And try again.
The passion for running a business and for solving customer problems is not something we think you can teach. That’s something you either have or don’t have, and it is among the first things we interview for when we evaluate potential general managers.
Maybe this is a good time to be very honest with you about the demands of this role. We know it may not be politically correct to say this, but we don’t think we’re doing you any favors by misleading you: the general manager position is not a 9‐to‐5 job. The level of energy, time, and effort required by the general manager role is tough to sustain if you’re not personally passionate about your business, customers, people, and role. We’re not saying you need to work 12 hours a day, but you need to be disciplined about your time and priorities to successfully integrate your work and home life. And we are looking for somebody who can teach others to do the same.
This brings us to the kind of dynamic leader of people we are looking for. Elevate is a values-led company, which we bring to life through our principles, a plain-English translation of our values into the everyday actions we expect of ourselves and each other. There are many different successful leadership styles, but we believe you will build trust with your team by being authentic, competent, and empathetic.
By being authentic, you bring your whole self to work. Your team experiences the real you.
By showing competence, you show you can be relied upon to get the job done and that your reasoning and judgment are sound.
By displaying empathy, your team will believe you care about them and their success – and they will care about you.
We know that we have set a high bar! But this is an important role, and we really want to find the right person. If you find yourself even more excited by this opportunity to contribute to Elevate’s mission as an important, valued member of our management team after reading this, then we can’t wait to hear from you – you might be just perfect!
Responsibilities and Qualifications
Elevate is looking for a VP and General Manager for our Consulting Business Unit (Global Head of Consulting) to join our high-performing team.
As the global leader of the Consulting BU, you will:
- Lead the market-facing presence and voice of our Consulting capabilities and expertise
- Design and develop winning Consulting strategy, capabilities, and offerings, which reliably solve customer problems
- Lead and execute successful ‘go to market’ and commercial strategy for Consulting, in partnership with our Marketing and Sales teams
- Oversee and ensure exceptional delivery of Consulting projects to consistently delight customers
- Attract, motivate, retain, and lead a happy, high-performing, expert Consulting team, developing their professional capabilities and expertise
- Lead sustainable year on year increases in revenue and gross profit, making investments and taking commercial risks that pay off
- Monitor and act on trends and technologies in the market, partnering with Marketing to publish thought-leading content (such as white papers and blogs) and speak at conferences
- Oversee and ensure exceptional delivery of Consulting projects to consistently delight customers
- Attract, motivate, and retain a happy, high-performing, expert Consulting team, developing their professional capabilities and expertise
- Collaborate with our Sales and Enterprise Solutions team to design solutions that solve customer problems (‘Jobs to Be Done’) and integrate with other Elevate capabilities
- Work collegially with the other BU GMs, understanding and respecting the mission of each BU and how each of their services fit together with yours for the good of the greater Elevate whole
We are looking for a professional with these kinds of attributes:
- A track record of success, with outstanding results as an individual contributor, manager, and executive
- A can-do attitude whose infectious drive and enthusiasm attracts and engages people
- The ability to walk in the shoes of customers
- Savvy, with common sense and excellent intuition
- Ethical, responsible, and sound judgment
- The ability to process information and make decisions quickly
- High energy and motivation – a self-starter
- An eye for detail with strong analytical acumen
- Effective, clear verbal and written communications skills with groups and on an interpersonal level
- The ability to process information and make decisions quickly – decisiveness, with a sense
- Fact-based, ‘firm, but fair’ management style that encourages accountability in people
- Sense of humor and practicality to get things done
- Ability to listen to and value ideas from anyone
- Ability to work with and ‘make sense’ of multiple, changing or ambiguous business priorities, and communicate clearly
- Sensitivity to cultural differences across our different geographies
- Willingness to travel to meet customers and manage a global business
We typically expect you would have these kinds of qualifications and experience, but we realize that the background and ideas for success in this role comes in all sorts of shapes and sizes:
- You will have an MBA or equivalent professional services experience, with a JD an advantage
- Your career will include 10 years of consulting experience with a Big 4 consulting firm, strategy or tech consulting firm, law department or law firm consulting department or firm, with increasing team management and commercial responsibility over time
- You will be an internationalist with experience working successfully in a multi-cultural, international environment