Before joining Berkeley, I’d worked almost entirely with the public sector, either consulting in a global firm or as a civil servant in central government. I wanted to expand my experience by working with the private sector but I didn’t want to work for another large firm. Joining Berkeley gave me the opportunity to have a wide range of different clients, sectors and roles, coupled with the benefits of community and engagement you get from working in a smaller firm.
That it's vital to understand at the outset the way that your client and your colleagues work, and how that fits with the way that you work. Working across clients and sectors, you come across very different ways of working and it's really important for the success of a role to work out how to fit with that. As an example, I’ve worked with clients where how you present the information is as important as the message itself – PowerPoint slides that were anything less than perfectly polished would be dismissed out of hand.
I’ve also worked with clients who would see a lovely looking slide and be annoyed that you’d wasted so much time (and therefore, their money!) making something look pretty when a basic slide with text and a monochrome diagram would be sufficient. I’m much more on the utilitarian end of PowerPoint slide creation, but neither approach is wrong or right; it’s up to you to work out how to make it work alongside your way of working.
For the first half of my career, I worked with the public sector and ‘doing the right thing’ was at the heart of all the decisions we made on projects, from implementing the IT systems to support new benefits to rolling out funding to support broadband infrastructure in rural areas. It sounds a bit of a cliché, but it's true – if you approach decisions and try to do the right thing, then invariably the long term benefits outweigh any short term pain. I would have left Berkeley pretty quickly if this wasn’t a value I could practice here, however it’s genuinely a fit with the culture in the firm.
Another value is positivity – this isn’t misplaced or inappropriate optimism. It’s approaching situations and people with a positive attitude. Inevitably, problems happen on projects, people can be difficult to deal with, suppliers struggle with their performance, and the amount of work that needs to get done can be daunting. However, approaching difficult situations with positivity and crucially, maintaining that through tough times is something I’ve found to be valuable for me and the people I’ve working with.