Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited [herein referred to as Deloitte] is a private limited company that operates in the professional services industry. The firm operates as a global entity and serves over 150 countries. Deloitte specializes in the provision of different professional services such as legal, consulting, financial advisory, tax and audit services. A workforce of over 225,400 employees facilitates its operations. The company ranks amongst the leading FTSE 250 companies (Deloitte 2015).
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The company has further been cited as a market leader in the consulting services sector. Its total revenue in 2015 is estimated to be the US $ 35.2 billion, which represents a 7.6% growth compared to the previous financial year (Deloitte 2015). The company is committed to delivering service to its clients and the society through its workforce. Attaining this goal requires a firm to develop a strong workforce. In 2014, the company hired approximately 62,000 new employees to facilitate its global operations (Deloitte 2015).
The above aspects depict a strong performance in the company’s operations. Deloitte’s performance can be associated with adoption of effective strategic management practices. The firm’s strategic management practice is based on a holistic stakeholder approach. Subsequently, the firm is committed to delivering a high level of satisfaction amongst the internal and external stakeholders. To achieve this goal, the firm has recognized the value of entrenching effective leadership strategies and practices.
This paper involves a critical examination of the quality of leadership strategy at Deloitte. The analysis further examines the social and cultural factors that the organization has incorporated in its leadership and organizational strategy.
Since its inception, Deloitte has focused on developing a strong organizational culture. One of the critical foundations of the firm’s organizational culture entails creating and executing an effective leadership strategy. The leadership strategy illustrates the degree to which an organization is focused on the future.
Neal and Sonsino (2012, p. 2) posit that a ‘leadership strategy is a future-focused, long-term strategic business imperative that ensures that the organization has the right capabilities to position itself at a competitive advantage in the market it currently and intends to serve in the future’.
The leadership strategy should take into account the organizational, operational and strategic dimensions. Therefore, an effectively implemented leadership strategy should be optimally aligned with the organizational, operational and strategic dimensions of the business strategy. Moreover, it should promote organizational development and culture. The leadership strategy enables an organization to address issues related to talent gaps, and the actions required strengthening its strategic leadership (Neal & Sonsino 2012).
Deloitte has entrenched an effective leadership strategy, which is based on the holistic leadership approach. According to Neal and Sonsino (2012), holistic leadership theory accentuates the significance of nurturing a holistic development. Subsequently, the theory asserts that organizational leaders should consider improving both the environment and the individual. Thus, organizations must ensure that they operate as a system to achieve the desired outcome.
The basis of the holistic leadership approach is to develop an optimal internal environment that fosters efficient execution of the assigned roles and responsibilities. Moreover, the rationale for holistic leadership is based on the need to establish a highly inclusive workplace.
The implementation of the holistic leadership strategy at Deloitte has been achieved by focusing on the development of the critical employee competencies. The firm has achieved this goal by emphasizing on three main areas that include people skills, work skills and self-skills.
Thus, the company’s leadership strategy is based on the trait theory. According to Carnall and Roebuck (2015), the trait theory postulates that organizations should intend to nurture specific characteristics amongst employees that culminate in the development of strong and efficient execution of the assigned roles and responsibilities.
Carnall and Roebuck (2015) further assert that the trait theory emphasizes on the significance of organizational leaders entrenching a combination of traits, skills and behavior. Some of the critical traits that organizational leaders should focus on entrenching amongst their workforce relate to effective and efficient task completion, persistence towards the overall organizational goal and self of organizational identity.
The focus on work skills is intended at ensuring that employees are proficient in offering professional services to clients. The organization’s leaders ensure that the employees are proficient in applying different administrative skills such as planning, organizing, evaluating and controlling in executing work-related activities. Deloitte’s focus on work skills has played a critical role in strengthening the employees’ personal vision.
Subsequently, the organizational leaders are successful in promoting the level of employee commitment in addition to entrenching a sense of responsibility towards the organization and the clients. The organization leaders’ focus on entrenching work skills amongst the workforce has culminated in the attainment of a high level of satisfaction amongst the firm’s clients. Over the years, the company has been consistent in delivering exceptional quality services.
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The holistic leadership strategy within the firm is further operationalized through the implementation of effective people skills. Deloitte’s management team recognizes that its overall performance depends on the nature of the internal environment. Thus, the firm is committed to the improvement of the internal environment.
To achieve this goal, the firm has ensured that its leadership strategy appreciates the value of its employees. In its leadership strategy, Deloitte has incorporated effective people leadership concepts. One of the people skills that the organization’s management team has taken into account entails communication.
Deloitte has implemented an effective internal feedback mechanism. The firm ensures that employees receive feedback on their performance.
The company’s motivation to develop extensive communication is founded on the need to maintain a well-established network amongst the over 225,000 professionals. By sustaining an effective internal communication process, Deloitte has succeeded in ensuring that its employees are focused on things that matter to the company’s clients and the society within which they work and live (Deloitte 2012).
The firm has ensured that employees are adequately engaged in the organization’s strategic management process. The firm’s employees are given an opportunity to participate in the decision-making process. The basis of promoting employee engagement within the firm has originated from the need to derive varying perspectives from employees on certain workplace issues. Deloitte has incorporated the concept of brainstorming as one of the strategic management tools.
According to Neal and Sonsino (2012), the brainstorming technique provides individuals an opportunity to generate alternatives and ideas. The brainstorming technique plays a critical role in improving the firm’s problem-solving capacity. Moreover, the technique has enabled the organization to succeed in seizing the opportunity (Plunkett, Allen, & Attney 2013). Therefore, the technique has contributed to the development of a sense of identity amongst the firm’s employees.
The company’s holistic leadership approach is further comprised of talent leadership. The adoption of the talent leadership strategy is aligned with the company’s strategy and go-to-the-market needs. The intensity of competition in the professional services industry has increased considerably over the past few years.
Thus, Deloitte’s long-term success largely depends on its competitive intelligence. Moreover, the company’s success in creating and sustaining a high competitive advantage is anchored on its innovative capacity. Implementing effective strategic adjustments requires the right talent (Neal & Sonsino 2012).
The company has instituted Executive Talent Leaders who are charged with the responsibility of ensuring that the organization is competitive at attracting, deploying and retaining the brightest workforce. The Executive Talent Leaders have a duty to ensure that the organization’s internal work environment is highly inclusive. The company’s commitment to institute an inclusive leadership has enabled Deloitte to develop shared vision amongst its employees.
In line with its commitment to develop talent, Deloitte has established a Global Internship Program. The purpose of the program is to improve the company’s future competitiveness regarding human capital. Deloitte recognizes the need to entrench strategies that will enhance its ability to attract top talent.
Through the program, Deloitte has succeeded in positioning itself as an international brand. The company provides individuals a unique and unlimited opportunity to exercise their talent. The company offers individuals an opportunity to undertake either short or long-term international assignments. Through such talent leadership, Deloitte has succeeded in providing employees an opportunity to learn and grow.
The company has not limited its commitment to improving talent only to its employees. On the contrary, Deloitte has adopted an extensive coaching and mentorship program to promote organizational and business leadership. In 2013, the company established the Deloitte University, which is intended at nurturing the world’s best leaders. This highlights the company’s commitment towards improving leadership within institutions and businesses.
Social and cultural issues
One of the social and cultural factors that Deloitte has included in its strategic leadership process entails cultural diversity. Its approach to cultural diversity is founded on the need to establish a positive work environment through effective employee interaction. Vasilache and Segal (2011) affirm that cultural diversity can be a source of strong team performance.
However, exploiting the cultural diversity requires an organization’s management team to appreciate the prevailing cultural differences. Deloitte has successfully developed a positive organizational culture by eliminating discriminative practices. Subsequently, the company has established a balance regarding gender diversity, which has significantly contributed to the situation emanated from the improvement in the level of fairness within the firm.
One of the critical components of cultural diversity that the organization has integrated entails gender diversity. The concept of gender diversity within Deloitte is well illustrated by identification of a situation whereby Deloitte experienced a significant reduction in the number of female employees seeking job opportunity within the firm.
This situation emanated from the existence of barriers that hindered women from career progression. Deloitte recognized this problem as a major threat to its capacity to leverage on human capital. To eliminate this problem, the company undertook an extensive brainstorming exercise involving its employees. Through the exercise, the company resolved to develop a specific career development program targeting women.
Additionally, Deloitte instituted an organization-wide task force whose responsibility was to recommend the most effective policies that the firm should adopt in promoting the advancement of women (Plunkett, Allen, & Attney 2013).
The company’s success in entrenching cultural diversity is further underlined by its success in the global market. Deloitte has successfully established international market operation by entering into different regions. The success can be associated with the firm’s commitment to respecting the cultural differences across the different geographical regions.
Leadership development initiative
The growth in competition within the professional services industry underscores the need for organizational managers to implement effective leadership. Attaining this goal requires integration of effective leadership development initiatives. One of the initiatives that Deloitte should take into consideration entails the competency-based initiative.
This initiative will improve the organization leaders’ capacity to impart relevant job competencies, knowledge and skills amongst the followers. The competency-based training will ensure that the leaders focus on the critical competencies that the employees require to execute their job roles successfully.
The competency-based initiative should not only be limited to job-related activities. On the contrary, the organization should diversify its competency-based training to different areas. The core areas to be considered include establishing collaboration, goal setting, accountability and people. Workforce development initiatives should emphasize on areas such as team building, cultural responsiveness, conflict management and cultural responsiveness.
Goal setting should focus on leading organizational change by promoting employees to be creative, innovative, flexible, and to be conscious of the external environment. Through competency-based training, Deloitte will succeed in ensuring that employees are competent in dealing with complex job requirements.
Competency-based training initiative will enable the organization’s leaders to transfer the relevant skills, abilities, and knowledge to the lower-level employees. Subsequently, the company’s competitiveness will be improved substantially.
To implement the competency-based initiative successfully, Deloitte should consider entrenching e-leadership by incorporating information communication technologies.
Consideration of e-leadership will improve the organization’s capacity to impart knowledge on all the organizational leaders dispersed across different geographic locations. E-leadership will enable the organization to entrench the company norms, values and beliefs across the different entities. The integration of ICT will enable the organization to succeed in maintaining communication across the different virtual teams. Subsequently, the organization will succeed in improving its position as a global market leader.
Deloitte’s success can be attributed to the adoption of effective leadership strategy. The company has aligned its leadership strategy with the business strategy, which focuses on ensuring that the firm is successful in addressing the changing market needs.
The company’s leadership strategy is based on a holistic model. Subsequently, the firm has succeeded in ensuring that the employees are adequately involved in the organization’s strategic leadership process. The holistic leadership approach has enabled Deloitte to establish an inclusive business environment.
Alternatively, the quality of the company’s leadership approach is underlined by the company’s commitment to develop a strong organizational culture. One of the notable cultural factors that the firm has entrenched in its leadership process involves diversity. The firm has recognized the value of diversity as a source of organizational competitiveness. The concept of diversity is not only limited to the organization’s internal environment.
On the contrary, the firm observes cultural diversity in dealing with external stakeholders such as clients. The cultural diversity approach has improved the company’s success across different geographical locations. To sustain the value of its leadership approach, the firm should consider integrating competency-based initiative.
Carnall, C & Roebuck, C 2015, Strategic leadership development; building world-class performance, Palgrave McMillan, London.
Neal, A & Sonsino, D 2012, Developing a leadership strategy, ASTD Press, Alexandria.
Plunkett, R, Allen, G & Attner, R 2013, Management; meeting and exceeding customer expectations, Cengage-Learning, Mason.
Vasilache, S & Segal, T 2011, Cultural integration and workforce diversity, GRIN Verlag, New York.