Of mouths and money

One of the things I always hated about working for big companies is the indoctrination into a philosophy that was clearly bullshit. These weren’t ideals or principles they actually believed in, they were words to make people feel better. One of the largest pile of bullshit is the line that goes something like: “Our employees are our greatest asset”. It’s especially rich when it comes from an asset management firm. No, dick tip, your greatest asset is the $12 billion you have under management.

So when I heard, even before starting the Firm, about McKinsey’s Prime Directive, “client first”, I shrugged. Then, during orientation, the Managing Partner for the region told us that “client first” meant we, as employees, have to come second. Okay, McKay, you have my attention.

My wife makes fun of me for being indoctrinated with McKinsey’s philosophy. But the thing about it is, McKinsey is honest about what they are, where we stand, and what they want to do. Their principles are, generally, backed by action. Even little things, like having privacy screens pre-installed on all laptops to make sure we use them for the explicit purpose of protecting client data, are there to practice what they preach. It’s all part of a “no bullshit” culture (let’s be honest, more like “as little bullshit as possible, but for practical reasons still some bullshit”). As I mentioned in a previous post, even as early as the offer letter, I was surprised at how forthright they were about bonuses. During the same orientation speech, the Managing Partner admitted that while they share some company numbers (regarding things like financials or client numbers) internally, they generally don’t share most numbers outside of the circle of partners.

Am I indoctrinated? Not yet, but I’m on my way there. But when a company has the integrity to put its philosophy into practice and be forthright with its employees, I’m willing to give them a shot.