– Hi everyone—
I have a lot of updates since my last post! On the client front, I have been working with a local client on a very inspiring project. For this engagement, we launched a leadership development program for our client’s entire top executive team—quite different from a traditional McKinsey strategy project. We paired each of their leaders with two McKinsey coaches: one personal coach and one business coach. The personal coaches worked on style and leadership development, and the business coaches were similar to a McKinsey Engagement Manager or Engagement Director, working with each executive on his or her assigned “business challenge.”
We coached each member of the leadership team on the specific business area for which they are responsible. We did a deep dive with each person, analyzing what their goals are and what was necessary to “make the breakthrough” to progress to the next level. Our Senior Partner on the team has known the client’s CEO for a long time, and now the rest of our team knows their leadership team (and the company in general) quite well. We understand their priorities and were able to keep tabs on everything that is going on throughout the company. It was an extremely valuable project for the client CEO, who has been looking to generate the next wave of serious growth for the company. If the team is able to implement just a few of our major suggestions, they will reap amazing benefits. The executive team is feeling challenged and energized by their future possibilities.
I have been doing pretty well with my goal of travelling on my own terms and have been collecting enough “mommy points” to keep everyone happy. Since I don’t see many colleagues from other offices unless they come to Taiwan, I make travel exceptions for a few things: practice meetings, international recruiting trips, and Asia Week (McKinsey’s annual Asia Pacific leadership meeting). As I write this post, it’s 6am and I’m in the airport waiting to fly out to Macau for a practice meeting. Most people are staying there for a night or two, but I’m only making a day trip to attend the professional program today. I am sacrificing tonight’s dinner—the social component of the meeting—but am happy that I’ll be home in time to put my kids to bed tonight. It’s a balancing act, but it’s working.
In January, I took a trip to New York to recruit candidates for the Greater China Office. This was a pretty grueling trip, but definitely worth it. I always love meeting candidates and visiting the US, where I lived for many years. The schedule was intense: we flew in on Thursday night and interviewed candidates for three straight days from Friday through Sunday. This is the most efficient way to see as many candidates and make as many decisions as we can, but it doesn’t leave any time for jet lag! We fly candidates in from all over the US for these interviews—and for a lot of candidates, it’s their only opportunity to talk to McKinsey colleagues in person—so we try hard to ignore our exhaustion and present the best of the firm. At the end of each day, we did treat ourselves to delicious dinners, which is easy and fun to do in New York City!
I mentioned in an earlier post that I value recruiting because it reminds me of everything I love about McKinsey and it renews my sense of purpose in the firm. Hearing so many talented candidates discuss what they admire about McKinsey always makes me realize how fortunate I am to work here. In addition, I adore the colleagues who make this trip—they are incredibly committed to professional development and finding the next generation of leaders for the firm. I find it energizing just to spend time with them!
On a personal note, my family enjoyed a wonderful trip to Bali over Christmas. We have been there before, but this was the best trip by far because we were with our entire family. My parents, my in-laws (from Maine), and my sister and her family (from Boston) all joined us. We rented a villa so that we could enjoy family time together while also having private spaces. The house had a swimming pool, beautiful grounds, a children’s play room, and a wonderful staff. It was the first time we rented a villa instead of staying in separate hotel rooms, and I would highly recommend it!
One last funny update: in my last post I mentioned that I was excited to see how Owen’s English language skills progressed during our summer trip to Boston. He now understands everything we say, but he’s still reluctant to speak in English. However, last night we told him in English to announce that dinner was ready because the take-out had been delivered, and he finally spoke a full sentence in English, shouting “Dinner is ready! Dinner is ready!” while running around the house. He then immediately switched to Chinese and said he was a little confused since he didn’t see any food on the table so he didn’t really think dinner was ready! I think by next summer he’ll be speaking English fluently.
Enjoy your spring!