September 2019 | Point of View

It takes a fresh perspective to bring complex issues into focus

It takes a fresh perspective to bring complex issues into focus

As a CEO, I am constantly reading about the latest studies that “reveal” C-suite top priorities. One day, it’s digital transformation; another day, it’s the war on talent; and sometimes, it’s what the government is up to (or not up to) with trade relations or economic cycles. The point is, executives have lots in their sphere of concern—because frankly there are a lot of issues to consider and priorities to address.

We see this within West Monroe, but also across the various industries we serve. Right now, everyone is trying to head off disruption in the face of digital transformation. They’re also trying to properly manage increasingly sophisticated cyber threats. To head off the potential economic downturn, we are all looking to produce more revenue and profit with the same or fewer resources—not to mention attracting and retaining the right talent as well.

These large-scale issues are very complex. Because of this complexity, organizations often get lost in the difficulty of addressing them, growing headcount unnecessarily, making misguided investments, becoming disorganized, and placing too much transformational responsibility in a single department. These are reactions and realities we see when we enter consulting engagements, and they’re the reason we’ve decided to offer fresh perspectives on four complex issues facing the market.

At West Monroe, our perspective is that every organization needs a pair of fresh eyes to bring complex issues into focus. Often, a fresh perspective is what an organization needs to cut through the clutter and chart a practical, manageable path.

Fresh Perspectives on Four Complex Issues

1. Digital Transformation

Digital transformation is regarded as a long-term play—and for the most part, it is. However, organizations that treat digital as a “project led by IT” aren’t making progress. Here’s a fresh perspective: Even though digital requires comprehensive change, a practical course of action is possible. You can make significant gains in a short amount of time (six months to a year) if you prioritize change management and infuse digital DNA into your current operations. While you’re at it, “sprint” on two to three cross-functional projects at a time instead of taking on dozens at once or waiting for your IT team to be ready to go. Learn more.

2. Cybersecurity

Thanks to high-profile data breaches covered in the media, we see a lot of companies focus their cybersecurity efforts on data protection. Or, they meet the minimum requirements of regulations in their industry. Here’s a fresh perspective: Data doesn’t matter (operations do) and compliance is not a strategy. Focusing cybersecurity spend and efforts on protecting critical business operations and resiliency—not full-stop prevention—is a better use of time and dollars. More importantly, it’s more effective. Learn more.


3. Productivity

With the national unemployment rate still very low—3.7% in the last monthly report—many of us feel we are already maximizing the output from our workforce. With more technology and tools, we’re all more productive than ever. Here’s a fresh perspective: In the burnout age, we often confuse volume with efficiency and mere activity with productivity. Technology and tools only fuel productivity if we are spending time on the right tasks in the first place, and our processes are as streamlined and automated as possible. Learn more.


4. Attracting, Retaining, and Managing the Right Talent

Everyone wants the best and brightest talent for their organization, but not everyone can attract it much less retain it. We see traditional organizations think they’ll lose the war for talent because they can’t compete with the startups and tech giants. Here’s a fresh perspective: Winning in the workplace is not about amassing a dream team comprised of star talent or about installing a ping pong table in your office; it is about transforming competent employees into superstars in three steps: 1) cultivating an engaging culture, 2) intentionally designing employee journeys, and 3) empowering employees and enabling them to win. Learn more.


At West Monroe, we feel the effects of these issues too. Earlier this year, we hired a new chief administrative officer, Kevin Rooney, who is leading our business in finding ways to increase our productivity. We also recently hired a new chief information officer, Alberto Ruocco, who is working across the firm to revamp the way our people work and create a more cyber aware culture. While we’ve historically succeeded at attracting, retaining, and managing our talent, we also are constantly finding ways to improve our approach, from recently consolidating performance review cycles into one firmwide cycle, reimagining our employee experience (“EX”) for the future, and launching a new program for maintaining a healthy relationship with our West Monroe alumni.

Most of the time, we too need a fresh pair of eyes to help us bring these complex issues into focus, and our business is better for it.

How do you tackle complex business issues? Do you feel the need for a fresh perspective on something?

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