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Deloitte Consulting CEO Wants Other CEOs to Relax

Gloria McDonough-Taub
Off the Cuff

When he was fresh out of college, Jim Moffatt was managing about 40 employees. Not bad for a 22-year-old. Now at 55, Moffatt oversees 25,000 employees as the chairman and chief executive officer at Deloitte Consulting, one of the largest consulting service providers in the U.S.

A lot has changed in the 30 odd years including what it’s like to actually be a manager.

“Leadership has changed a lot over the years. You think back to the '80s and '90s; it was very command and control, very top-down oriented. The employees of today are much more eclectic. They're not looking to go to the same place and stay there forever. They're looking to be challenged. They have broader ideas of what really inspires them.”

His advice to today’s CEOs: Open up.

“A CEO has to be much more open; has to spend more time talking to their employees; has to really listen to what they're concerned about. It's not just ‘do this’ and they go do it, you have to really spend time with them.”

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Today’s employees Moffatt said will no longer just follow blindly, they want more information and they want to connect with their bosses.

“Employees need to know where you're headed, why it's important to the company, why it's important to them, and how their role fits into that overall picture,” but he cautions, “it has to be about more than just the bottom line.”

For more than 26 years Moffatt has been consulting some of the biggest names and brands for Deloitte. In that time he’s learned that brand building isn’t limited to a building a winning corporate identity and reputation.

“Establishing your own personal brand is really critical. Building a brand is important not only for leaders, but for employees as they come up. You have to in some way figure out how to stand out from the pack.”

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Moffatt said building a brand should start sooner rather than later, “being conscious of it early is important,” he says, but warns, “you can't try to be something that you're not. You have to be comfortable with who you are,” and he says that has to be reflected in how you present yourself to those within and outside of your company.

He told “Off the Cuff,” “This career, this job, is completely consuming. It can be 24/7. There's never an end of things you could be doing.”

Moffatt is a firm believer in getting away, saying that vacations are not only essential to his own productivity and effectiveness as a leader, but also to that of his employees.

"A true leader steps back, trusts his or her people, and allows them to succeed...By taking a break from the day-to-day operations, not only was I spending some much-needed time with my family, but also I was able to focus on the bigger picture of where we were and where our business was heading," he wrote in an opinion piece for Forbes.

But unplugging as important as it is, is hard, even for him.

On one vacation when his plane landed, even though he swore to anyone who would listen he was going to “disconnect” once on the ground, he checked his email. There waiting for him was a message from a senior partner that said, ‘I hope you're not reading this until you get back from vacation.’

“The message was loud and clear, when you’re away, you should be away. There’s nothing you can do that can affect the day to day performance of an organization. Your job is to set the strategy and the vision and if you've done your job, it's going be fine.”

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