deloitte Archives - Eve Poole

Leadersmithing – TEDx Durham University

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Speech at TEDx, Durham, 11th March 2017 (watch here)

Hello. You’re probably wondering what’s with the pearls. Well, pearls have a dirty secret, and I’m here to tell you about it. It’s all about the pearls. So if you only remember one thing about this talk, remember the pearls.

Pearls are associated with such glamour, aren’t they? I inherited my first set, from a great grandmother who had been brought up at Hampton Court Palace. My second set were from Hatton Garden, given to me by my boyfriend when we worked next door at Deloitte Consulting. I bought my third set in Beijing when I took our Ashridge MBA students out there on a study trip.

But their glamour is hard-won. They have grit in their hearts. Their beauty and lustre is the result of a defence mechanism, designed to protect the oyster against a threatening irritant. I’m from Scotland, and in Scotland they don’t say ‘pearls’: they say ‘perils.’ And perils is exactly what the beauty of a pearl is bearing witness to – it owes its very existence to the oyster being in peril. Read More

Looking forward to feedback

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When I was at Deloitte, and a Partner fixed you with his beady eye and barked ‘Feedback – offline!’ your knees started to knock. I gather the culture at Apple was similar, if more public, and someone I know at Tesco once had his report torn in two by Sir Terry at a board meeting and was told ‘there’s your feedback’. This Apprentice-style approach seems only to be on the rise. A recent study of contract workers reports that fewer than 7% of them would consider returning to traditional employment, and I suspect this insidious ‘feedback’ culture is partly to blame. But why does feedback have to be such a negative experience? Read More

Cultural Tells

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In the US, Walmart famously has the Walmart Cheer to galvanise the workers. In the UK, Tesco has the 4 o’clock rumble, where staff down tools and take to the aisles, pulling forward produce from the back of the racks for the next wave of shoppers. As in poker, these cultural ‘tells’ often say more about a company’s values than can the most carefully crafted piece of webpage PR. Read More