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Mike Abbott

Consultant, UK

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Mike Abbott

Consultant, UK

Connect on Linkedin

1What’s different about Berkeley for you? 

Everything! Although the kind of work we do at Berkeley is the same as the big consultancies, the way that we do it is completely different. It never feels like we work for the client, rather we work with them, client side, often helping them manage other suppliers whose interests are not always fully aligned with theirs.  As a completely independent firm, who only hire experienced consultants, we never have large client teams and therefore are never looking to sell in large number of people on every job. This enables us to fully put ourselves in the client shoes, making decisions which are always in their best interests. 

Although the work is often challenging and stretching, we put a huge emphasis on community and sociability in everything we do as a company, which means there’s always an outlet around the corner when you’re having a tough day. 

Fundamentally, being at Berkeley feels like being part of a family who care about each other as much as they care about the work we do. It sounds cliched but it’s true!

2What’s been your favourite assignment and why?

I worked for over a year with the UK financial services regulator helping them formulate an approach to, and then mobilise, a major organisational wide transformation programme. External changes in the way in which users of financial services were interacting with products, coupled with advances in technology and shifting expectations of both users and employees, created a compelling case for change which sat as a major priority for the executive team and the Board. It covered their end-to-end strategy and operating model touching everything from people and culture to process and organisation design to technology and data.  

Following the appointment of a new CEO, I spent significant time with the executive team working through options on how to structure and deliver the programme, all the while balancing the need to make quick visible progress with carefully structing the more complex aspects of the change that would take longer to deliver. The most rewarding part was getting to work so closely with the executive team over a number of months and be right at the heart of crucial decisions they would take around the programme. This, for me, epitomises Berkeley at its best, acting as a trusted partner, helping our clients to navigate the most complex issues when it matters the most.

3What are your values and how have they informed your career?

For me the most important values are authenticity and integrity. Being yourself, 100% of time, and acting in a way that you know accurately communicates your thoughts and feelings to others around you is a core part of who I am and how I like to interact with people. This makes Berkeley a perfect match for me, always carrying out our assignments with integrity, putting the client at the heart of what we do and how we do it.

A good example of this is that we often turn down work when we don’t believe we are a good fit for the role, even if the client is willing and enthusiastic about wanting to work with us. This could be because we believe there are better, more suitable options for them, whether this be looking to develop their own internal people, or sourcing resources which could be cheaper for the client over the long run as the work required doesn’t need an experienced Berkley resource to do. That doesn’t mean we just walk away however, we often suggest short, targeted support to get a piece of work going that can then be transitioned to another resource over a period of time after they have been identified and spent some time working with us so that we can help train them and provide knowledge transfer to help them be successful. 

Fundamentally, the most important thing we want to walk away with from any client is a lasting relationship, built on trust, not a short-term transactional piece of work.