Yesterday's meeting blog post made me think of an other topic: junior analysts (lots of them among my readers) and whether they should go to the meeting with the CEO or not.
During the early years of my McKinsey career, there were many, many occasions, where I did not get to go to meetings where my work would be presented, and it was explained to me that too many people in the room would harm the meeting dynamics. A valid point: sitting in a huge conference room full of consultants does not create the atmosphere for a candid discussion about strategy.
But there were other concerns my seniors might have had:
- The junior analyst might not be able to present the slides, not having the right "CEO language", going of on a tangent, explaining how he did the analysis, without the so what
- And even if we did not let the junior analyst present, he might come in with odd remarks that throws the discussion in the wrong direction, vent his uncomfortable feeling with the broad assumptions that were made in the analysis (that were actually justified), thereby undermining the credibility of the whole deck.
If you are just starting out as a consultant, it is worth your while thinking about the above.
But there are advantages of taking a junior member to these meetings now and then (feel free to use the following with your seniors):
- Taking turns makes sure that the entire 15 people team does not sit in the room at once
- Analysts can actually learn a ton from these meetings that will make the whole team perform better:
- You see how these analyses are actually used
- You get to learn that CEO presentation skill that you can put to work even when presenting to more junior clients
- You might come in handy when a very detailed question about the data comes up
- You get credibility with your client team members
- You will get a motivation boost
- You will need less time briefing to follow up on next steps
- (Junior analysts are always good at serving coffee, making copies when needed)