Written by: Jeff Schmalbach, President
Throughout my career in consulting, I have experienced countless instances of clients trying to build a project delivery team and their initial thought is “I need to have the most senior team as this project is incredibly critical”. While I completely understand the sentiment behind this, and there is always a need for leadership and experience on a team, I feel like this mindset is missing a step. If we correlate it to sports, you don’t build a basketball team with 5 Shaquille O’Neals right… They’d never get the ball past mid court.
I have been building technology development teams for over 12 years and every year I am astounded and amazed at the talent we are able to bring into my practices. But what I think most of our industry doesn’t fully take advantage of is the raw talent of recent College Graduates. Many firms worry about taking on a consultant that has zero experience, thinking that no client would ever want to work with someone who hasn’t lived and breathed enterprise applications for the past 7-10 years. In my experience, my clients feel quite the opposite.
As I build a business through successful and talented teams, one of the key things I look at is whether my team is well rounded. People are people, and as such, we have aspects of our careers that help us to feel fulfilled and excited. When we have a team around us that are equal to or even more senior than us, what do we bring that’s special? However, when my team of experienced consultants have college hires to mentor I see a renewed excitement and focus in them. The ability to benefit someone else’s career and watch the college hires succeed through their leadership, drastically accelerates the careers of my experienced team members. Additionally, it gives them career opportunities in management of teams or practices.
On the customer side, they see the energy, focus and creative thinking that comes from a team that still has something to prove in their careers and isn’t encumbered by the way the industry has thought for the past decade. Technology and IT departments have and are still changing rapidly. Information Technology must be delivered with more customer focus, a deeper understanding and willingness to use new and developing technologies, and an energy level that drives its business forward instead of being a cost center. Please don’t get me wrong, we need leaders and experienced talent, but at the same time, innovation sometimes comes from not having been told “you can’t do that” before. When we pair experienced leadership with college hires whose minds are open to all the potential, amazing things happen.
Just as you can’t have a team of Shaqs, you can’t have a team full of college hires only either. Balance is what we are looking for where the skills support each other. We need the leadership to nurture and guide the talent of the college hires, just as much as we need the energy and creative thoughts from our less experienced team members.
Jeff Schmalbach joined the Intersys team in 2015 as President of the firm. He brings with him over 12 years of growing and maturing consulting operations in some of the largest consulting firms in the world. Jeff’s expertise in working with clients to understand business drivers and deliver solutions to match those business needs has enabled him to build and maintain incredibly successful client relationships globally.