October 2014 - Best of the West Newsletter
A note from Dean Fischer announcing his new role and Kevin McCarty taking the reigns as CEO
Date : October 23, 2014

Dean Fischer sends his final note as CEO before moving to his new role as Executive Chairman of our Board of Managers. The newsletter highlights several topics from articles and blog posts from our employees: how the truth isnt always in the numbers, the important role that M&A playbooks have and why utilities are starting to care about improving customer service. 

Dear Clients and Friends,  

Strange as it feels to write it, this will be my last letter to you as leader of West Monroe Partners.

On October 1, I transitioned from my role as CEO of West Monroe Partners and will now serve as Executive Chairman of our Board of Managers. Kevin McCarty, previously our President and Chief Operating Officer, has added the additional responsibilities of CEO.

As Executive Chairman, I will retain some operating responsibilities on a part-time basis. I will continue to be involved in maintaining our culture—unquestionably our key differentiator and the reason why we’ve enjoyed the success we have for 12 years. I also will assist with strategic growth initiatives, legal and financial affairs, our international alliance, and other advisory activities.

I plan to remain a champion for embedding sustainability into everything we do—not just within our own firm but also in the business world beyond it. To this point, we have tended to look at sustainability as a separate initiative or challenge, but it really isn’t. The more I examine this area, the more I believe it is a critical lens—just like people, processes, and technology—through which we should be viewing and addressing all business problems.

That is a good segue to what I intend to do with the other portion of my time and energy. As many of you know, I am passionate about conservation and the natural world, and I want the chance to invest the same energy into impacting this facet of the world as I have into the business world. In particular, I want to do as much as I possibly can to help slow the pace of climate change—in my view, the number one threat to us as humans living on this planet. Over the past few years, I’ve had the great opportunity to serve as a board member and chairman for the Student Conservation Association. I look forward to providing leadership in this area as a member of the boards of two Chicago-area organizations: the Audubon Society (Chicago region) and Openlands.

Founding West Monroe Partners with Kevin and helping grow and nurture this firm over the past 12 years has been one of the most satisfying and rewarding experiences of my life. I knew I couldn’t lead West Monroe Partners forever, though, so a key question has been: When is the right time to step down?

As I move from day-to-day leadership to Executive Chairman of the Board, I do so with complete confidence that the time is right. Kevin, I, and our other leaders have been preparing for this transition for some time so that this transition is nothing more than “business as usual” for our clients and our people.

Many of you know Kevin, but for those who don’t, he has been a personal colleague of mine for nearly 20 years ago—and he is more than ready to take on the CEO responsibilities and lead this firm into the future. It is under Kevin’s leadership that we have evolved from a firm known for technology competency to a true management consultancy that helps clients transform the way they do business. His business acumen is second to none, and he has played an instrumental role in developing some of our most distinctive capabilities. He has made an equally significant impact in the community, for example through his work with the HFS Chicago Scholars organization. But most notably, it’s his focus on people and culture that has propelled us to recognition as one of the best places to work.

As I do, Kevin maintains an “open door,” so please do not hesitate to reach out to him on any and all topics of interest. I know he looks forward to sharing his thoughts and views with you in future issues of our newsletter and other forums.

On that note, we’re pleased to share a few articles this month on some timely topics:
• Operations excellence: why going “by the numbers” sometimes leads to poor decisions
• Mergers and acquisitions: developing a “playbook” as an essential guide for navigating integration complexity
• Customer experience: new territory for most utilities, but one that is critically important in an evolving environment

I wish you all the best and look forward to maintaining our connections.

Regards,
Dean

A few years ago, you wouldn’t find the words “customer experience” and “utilities” the same sentence.  Why would a utility care about improving customer service or increasing customer engagement? Spending money to improve either of those doesn’t encourage customers to use more water, electricity, or gas. That's changed.

You often hear that 70 percent of deals fail to achieve their strategic and financial objectives. So, an M&A playbook can be the “secret sauce” that ensures you’re one of the 30 percent who get it right, right? Wrong.

How often have you heard the phrase, “numbers don’t lie”? For many, the mere presence of numbers in a measurement or statement will give it all the credence necessary to be the absolute truth. But when those numbers turn out to be no more credible than guesses, they lead to bad decisions. 

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