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Day in the life of a leader
Controls his/her time. Makes numerous decisions while attending meetings, reviewing progress from teams, and meeting clients. There is very little time spent alone.
Decisions without detailed analyses
Does not have the time and is not required to spend hours, days, and weeks locked away by themselves completing an analysis. Yet, they must make the correct decision.
Analyze issues in minutes or an hour or two at most, and make numerous critical decisions with imperfect data, and implement the decision to generate a banked benefit.
Partner-level skills needed
Partners don’t complete weeks of analysis before planning the study and draft recommendations on even the most complex engagements. A strategy partner designs the overall recommendation in a day, using reasonable hypotheses and business judgement. Their thoughts are provided to the engagement team as direction for the analyses needed to support the recommendation. It is a counterintuitive approach.
This is the skill a leader needs
The ability to analyze an issue and make a decision with very little time, using just a sheet of paper and a pencil, that is logical and can influence his/her peers and subordinates.
Leaders who can make decisions only after weeks of analysis, that they have personally led, are learning a process that they will struggle to directly apply in their career.
It is not possible to allocate the time and resources needed to make decisions like an analyst. A leader makes decisions using an approach, like a strategy partner, that arrives at the correct answer using a rigorous process of critical thinking. Yet, rigor does not require weeks of time and analysis.
Leaders are rewarded when they
Implement the right decision.
Bank the returns expected.
A leader must be able to check work they have never seen before, critically analyze the rigor of the approach and the recommendations, zoom in on the key problems, and provide feedback in a matter of minutes during a meeting.
This is what strategy partners do. They arrive weekly to review the work of the team and must quickly understand and offer direction to work they are seeing for the first time.
Never work alone
Implement through others
Influence employees, clients, and investors
Use the work of analysts
Guide for leaders
Leaders do not manage a business, unit, team, product, etc. Leaders are always building or growing a business. A leader who can only manage a business but cannot grow a business is soon replaced. To grow a business, a leader is always making a set of decisions.
Day in the life of an analyst
Spends the day planning an analysis, collecting the data, and completing the analysis. Prepares slides and or a written report. Most work is done alone.
It’s all about analyses
The primary job is completing an analysis.
Complete the analyses over weeks and present a conclusion.
Associate-level skills needed
Develop issue trees, prioritize branches, develop hypotheses, list data needs, prepare exhibits, develop a storyboard, prepare focus interviews, and collect data.
This is the skill an analyst needs
Structured problem-solving with the time and resources to collect and test data over several days or weeks.
Analysts are rewarded for
Analysts rarely review others’ work
They produce the work.
Run an analysis alone
Are not measured on implementation
Influence their manager
Provide the leader with an analysis
Guide for analysts
Analysts need to learn the rigor and correct approach to analyzing and solving business problems.