Adam Weissenberg – Vice Chair, Deloitte | How Deloitte Disrupted Itself To Survive Covid

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About The Guest

Adam Weissenberg is Vice-Chair and Chief Global Officer for Deloitte’s US Audit & assurance practice, as well as the Asia Pacific Leader for the US Global Office. In addition, Adam serves on Deloitte’s US Board of Directors. As a Board member, Adam is responsible for governance and oversight of the U.S. firm. In his global roles, Adam helps drive the US strategy around global issues while ensuring leadership alignment around the Firm’s most important accounts. 

Adam has strong relationships with executives across Deloitte’s global network to enhance seamless delivery. In addition to these roles, Adam serves as the Lead Client Service Partner for a Fortune 200 client, as well as an Advisory Partner for multiple Fortune 500 clients.

Based in New York, Adam has been quoted in national publications including, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, USA Today, Forbes, Condé Nast, and Travel & Leisure. He has also been a guest on CNBC, Fox Business News, and Bloomberg.

Talking Points

  • 00:00 – Intro
  • 03:07 – Adam Weissenberg’s origin story. 
  • 08:05 – How to effectively work with clients?
  • 13:03 – How can organizations grow through pandemics?
  • 17:12 – How to consistently find the best talent?
  • 22:03 – Working at a 50bn organization, pre-Covid vs. post-Covid.
  • 28:44 – How to leverage your team & navigate the pandemic. 
  • 33:04 – Life lessons from Adam Weissenberg.
  • 39:40 – Where do people connect with Adam Weissenberg?
  • 42:10 – What was the biggest challenge of Adam Weissenberg’s career?
  • 43:18 – Getting the right mindset.
  • 44:31 – Who is the mentor of Adam Weissenberg?
  • 46:27 – A book or a podcast recommended by Adam Weissenberg.
  • 47:45 – What would Adam Weissenberg tell his 20-Year-Old-Self?
  • 48:35 – What does success mean to Adam Weissenberg?

Show Links

https://www.linkedin.com/in/adam-weissenberg-100ab814/

https://twitter.com/aweissenberg/

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On this podcast, you’ll find interviews, Q&A, keynote presentations & conversations on sales, marketing, business, startups, and entrepreneurship.

The podcast is hosted by entrepreneur, business executive, author, educator & speaker, Scott D. Clary.

Scott will discuss some of the lessons he’s learned over his own career, as well as have candid interviews with execs, celebrities, notable figures, and politicians. All who have achieved success through both wins and losses, to learn more about their life, their ideas, and insights.

He sits down with leaders and mentors and unpacks their stories to help pass those lessons onto others through both experiences and tactical strategy for business professionals, entrepreneurs, and everyone in between.

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Machine Generated Transcript

SUMMARY KEYWORDS

deloitte, people, clients, business, industry, big, brand, years, career, hotel, shopify, terms, change, firm, deliver, point, travel, technology, days, find

SPEAKERS

Scott D Clary, Adam Weissenberg

 

Scott D Clary  00:00

Welcome to success story, the most useful podcast in the world. I’m your host Scott D. Clary. The success story podcast is part of the blue wire podcast network as well as the HubSpot Podcast Network. Now, the HubSpot Podcast Network has incredible show like the hustle daily. It’s hosted by Zachary Crockett Jacob Cohen, Rob literalist, and Juliette Bennett RYLA. Now the hustle daily brings you a healthy dose of irreverent, offbeat and informative takes on business, tech and news. And it happens daily. So if you want to stay up to date on the latest and greatest, and some of these topics are interesting to you, then you’re going to love the hustle daily topics like Amazon’s grocery strategy. The rise of the ugly shoe economy is AI the secret to love and America’s sleep deficit problem. So if these are topics you want to get into and you love hearing up to date content whenever you wake up in the morning, go listen to the hustle daily wherever you listen to your podcast. Today, my guest is Adam Weisenberg. He is the vice chair and chief global officer for Deloitte us audit and assurance practice. He has spent the majority of his career with Deloitte. He is also the Asia Pacific leader for the US Global office. In addition, he serves on Deloitte board of directors as a board member Adam is responsible for governance and oversight of the US firm in his global roles, Adam helps drive the US strategy around global issues, while ensuring leadership alignment from the firm’s most important accounts. Adam has strong relationships with executives across the Lloyds global network to enhance seamless delivery. In addition to these roles, he serves as the lead client service partner for a fortune 200 clients, as well as an advisory partner on multiple fortune 500 clients. Based in New York, Adam has been quoted in national publications including the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, USA Today, Forbes, Conde Nast and travel and leisure and he has been a guest on CNBC, Fox Business News and Bloomberg. So we got an inside look with Adam. Throughout his we spoke about his career, obviously, we spoke about his origin story, but then we went into his growth with Deloitte, we got an inside look at the inner workings of delight, how Deloitte functions how Deloitte grows, how Deloitte stays nimble, and stays disruptive, even when they’re such a large organization, how they navigated. COVID, how they hire the best talent, how they figure out new initiatives, new business initiatives to take on some things they’ve done differently. Throughout COVID, we’re learning from one of the largest management consultant, financial consultant organizations in the world and how to build a business properly, and then how to navigate some of the most multiple times in recent history, that can definitely impact your business in a very negative way. So how does the best do it? That’s what I’m hoping to uncover with Adam and Deloitte. Hopefully you enjoy this is Adam Weissenberg, Vice Chair and chief global officer for Deloitte us offices.

 

Adam Weissenberg  03:07

Alright, thanks. So So I, you know, I typically start with my dad was a professor and so when I was when I was 10. We went overseas when he was on sabbatical. And so I got to go Europe, and I got to go to Israel for six months. And, you know, at that point is really, really my first time traveling anywhere, you know, especially outside of the US and so, um, for whatever reason, I came really infatuated with, with hotels and staying in different places. And so, you know, fast forward through through high school and, you know, looking for what do I want to do in college, my dad, who was a Cornell grad for his PhDs, like, Hey, there’s this great hotel school. Like, that sounds interesting. So literally, literally applied to one college, early early decision, got into Cornell and didn’t really have a plan B. So that was, that was a good thing. And you know, went there for hotel management. And so you know, I always thought I would be running hotels, you know, hotel General Manager, that was that was kind of my dream. So I’m graduated and time I graduated, which is 85 was was not a great time for the industry. So I so I interviewed with pretty much every brand out there and was not having a lot of luck because there weren’t a lot of hiring going on. And thank God, you know, probably one of the big things I learned in life early on is having a network one of my friends in my fraternity had worked for Marissa the summer before and I went into my interview with Marissa the guy interviewing said hey, you’re friends with this guy? You know thing was fell and I’m like, Yeah, and he’s like, Okay, you have a job. I mean, literally that was it. So you know, the, the power of network I went really strong Ah, so I really ate so, so started working in the hotel business, you know, hated it. So my lifelong dream quickly came crashing down reality I was a front desk manager did not like it was like I do not want to do this. So select There when went into the, you know, food service business was a food service director for a few years. And, you know, like that, but didn’t didn’t really see kind of a long term future there. So, you know, same time I was, you know, my dad, once again, just be some of his colleagues. One was an accounting guy and I was like, Hey, that sounds interesting and different, and you can never go wrong getting an accounting degree in a CPA. So I ended up going to business school, I went to Columbia, got an MBA CPA, kind of a unique path at Columbia, there’s about 1600 students at Columbia, I would say, of the MBA program, there are probably five of us on the CPA path. So it was just very small. But But I graduated, you know, and was able to get a job with Deloitte, doing, you know, accounting work study on the auditing side, got my CPA had my MBA, and you know, that that was a, you know, 29 years ago is, which is crazy, I thought I’d spend two or three years at Deloitte and go out and work in industry, like everyone else does, but I’ve liked it. And I’ve been lucky, I was able to kind of take my passion for industry and merge that with my accounting background and help grow our, you know, we call it EHS practice, travel, Hochstein services. And so I was, you know, at the beginning of that was, we didn’t really have much of a practice and, you know, got to spend a lot of time externally getting known and doing things and speaking with the media and going to conferences, and then internally, you know, working with some of our top clients focused on that industry and getting to know it, you know, not not just auditing, I also did work with consulting and so forth. And, you know, that that was kind of a big part of my career, I ran that practice for, you know, 1516 years. And then, you know, eventually got asked to take on an audit leadership role, about six years ago and worked with our current CEO was then the CEO of the audit practice, and helping to really focus on growth, in audit, you know, we had always will be focused on quality, but we also were wanting to get back in the marketplace. And so I helped to drive that. And then after that, on the last two years, I got some new roles when, when the CEO of the price became the CEO of the firm. And now I run Asia Pacific, you know, for the whole US firm. So, you know, pre COVID was traveling to Asia once a month haven’t been there, as you can imagine, in a year and a half. And I don’t know if it’s going up anytime soon, we can talk more about that. And that also was elected to the Board of Directors at Deloitte, about a year and a half ago, you know, every, every year we elect its internal board, we elect some of our partners, onto the board, we have 18 board members, and so I got a chance to do that, but you know, went to my first meeting was alive. And then COVID And so I’ve been doing virtual for about a year now. Now we’re back to the live again, hopefully. So it’s, it’s been it’s been an interesting run. But yeah, that’s that’s kind of my story. So you know, industry guy all along. And then your last few years had a chance to be a leader, you know, at same time, I would say always serving clients is still the, we call an LCSW be the lead client service partner on one of our big accounts, you know, which which I love doing. So. That’s, that’s kind of me in a nutshell.

 

Scott D Clary  08:04

So So walk me through is a you’ve been with Deloitte for a long time, so walk me through even like transformation of that, that’s like putting it lightly. Oh my gosh, even with the light for most, almost your entire career. So walk me through, like the transformation that Deloitte gone through, because I’m sure there’s been many iterations of what delight is the vision, how they serve their clients, what types of clients they serve, and how it’s evolved, but even how it’s like probably fast forward in the past two years as well, so curious about that.

 

Adam Weissenberg  08:36

Yeah, it’s, it’s amazing, Scott, I mean, so you know, I started with the firm in 92. And that was right after the merger of you know, Deloitte, Haskins and Sells and touche Ross, you know, there was a big A, which then, you know, went down to the, to the big six and eventually became the big four. And so, you know, there was, there was a lot going on there today are two very different cultures came together. We were primarily an audit firm with tax, very small consulting practice. And that’s what all the Big Four were and, you know, putting us together got us, you know, into the, into the, you know, larger size, but were those were two relatively small firms compared to some of the competitors out there. I don’t know the numbers, I’m gonna guess I’ll make it up our revenue, probably a billion maybe if that in those days and, you know, we’re going to be close to, you know, mid 20s In billion in revenue this year, us. And I think this is me, Azzam we disclose all this and we do a report every year and then probably, you know, well over 100,000 employees. You know, I would, I would imagine, back in 92, no one could have envisioned how large we would come in. So what’s interesting is, our consulting practice has become very significant. You know, we we consult you know, you Government commercial across all the industries, you know, technology, human capital, cyber, I mean, you know, you name it, we do consulting, and that has become a very large part of our practice, you know, I didn’t tax always be a significant base, and very important to us what we do with the, you know, the capital markets and the public, but our traditional competitors were always the other big four. And now, that’s really shifted, because now when we’re doing, you know, big consulting, we’re competing with a lot, you know, IBM is the extensors of the world and McKinsey’s. And it’s really shifted, you know, in terms of who we look at, and who we think about. And it’s also changed our workforce, you know, we hire a lot of people into our consulting practices. And you know, that that’s a very different skill set than you know, traditionally being an, you know, auditor tax professional, where you have to have either a CPA or law degree, or something like that. So it’s a much different skill, I’m more MBAs at the same time, the other big transformation that’s happened for us is we, we built a delivery center in India, you know, for us employees, and, you know, that’s probably about 30 40,000 people now, and that that’s critical, that’s been, you know, really, really important to us, we, you know, they’re they’re excellent, excellent people who do an amazing job and are able to help leverage the US and deliver, you know, resources and for projects and so forth. And, you know, that that also diversified a little bit. So not everyone’s in the US now. And so, it’s a real change in culture, you know, having to, you know, think about, you know, what are people in India doing, you know, who are part of the US at the same time, you know, dealing with us, but, you know, we’ve, you know, we are in 26 sectors, you know, it’s it’s just unbelievable to me, you know, we have probably close to 3000 partners. And so you look at these things in back in 92. When I joined in a million years, I can ever imagine how big we weren’t, how many, how many different areas we’ve been involved in, but it’s, it’s, it’s great. And, you know, the good news is we’re still growing significantly. And I think we’ll continue kind of on this path of growth.

 

Scott D Clary  11:54

I just want to take a second and thank the sponsor of today’s episode, HubSpot. Now, the new year might have you thinking ahead to what you want out of your career. So when you think about your success story, what do you actually picture? Is it retiring early, with a beautiful view of the skyline? Is it leaving a legacy with your name on it? Or maybe it’s helping influence and change some of the world’s most pressing issues? Whatever it is, writing your success story starts by working smart because when you work smart, your success story writes itself. A HubSpot CRM platform helps your marketing campaigns work harder and smarter. With intuitive visual workflows and bot builders, you can create scalable, automated campaigns across email, social media, web and chat. So your customers hear your messages loud and clear. Are you tired of your content, not adapting to mobile, making it difficult for your customers to absorb your message a HubSpot CRM platform optimizes your content for multiple devices so that you can reach your customers, wherever they are, which is just smart. Learn more about how you can transform your customer experience with a HubSpot crm@hubspot.com. You do you feel like? Do you feel like there was something that the like did to grow gracefully? Because that’s not an easy transition as well. So I’m curious as to because like, I think that I think that through all the all the, you know, the digital transformation that your clients have gone through the fact that you are and I’m going to just I think it’s mostly professional services business that is really like the core competency of Deloitte, your professional services, you have to not only understand your clients digital transformation, but you have to find the right talent internally that can manage those types of clients. So how did you manage that landscape to move from major focus on tax audit, to more of competing with the IBM’s and the McKenzies? Because that’s really impressive. That’s very impressive. And I’m sure it wasn’t easy.

 

Adam Weissenberg  14:02

No, it wasn’t, you know, one of the things that happened that which which made us really stand out from our competitors, and the other big four was, you know, when Sarbanes Oxley came out in I guess, 2001 2002, and put a lot of pressure on the services, you could deliver IT audit clients, you know, prior to that, historically, you know, the independence roles were fairly limited in terms of services you could deliver if you had an audit client, once when Sarbanes Oxley came out, you know, that that that really changed those rules and made it much more difficult to deliver a lot of, you know, kind of maybe the big technology implementation projects and some of those other things that we need to do in the past. And so the rest of our competitors at that point of our consulting practices, and once again, ours was relatively small, spotting them all off in various transactions. We did so we we kept our consulting practice. And so we had we had a base to start with And I think once we made that decision, you know, then we were all in. And, and we really believe still that, you know, having one firm that can, you know, deliver so many different services is a benefit to our clients, right? So we look at this and say, hey, you know, we can, we can be your auditors, we can be your tax, we can do your consulting, you know, you can you can come to us and we can deliver all these professional services that you need to help you be successful over so many different areas. And you know, clients change, you know, one day you may be an audit client of ours, one day, maybe a tax client of ours, one day, you may be a consulting client of ours. You know, one day, the CFO from one client, that’s an audit client may go over to us become the CFO of a consulting client of ours. And so being able to really get our brand known as we can do everything under that umbrella is

 

16:00

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17:12

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Adam Weissenberg  19:14

foreign to us has been a key part of our strategy. And so I really think, you know, that that was what was so much different compared to our competitors and why we’re in the position we are today. And then I would say you know, as time has gone on, you know, we really see the value in you know, clearly, you know, being able to kind of have that traditional core, but also the consultation services or simply growing you know, to your point, digital cyber, you know, talent workforce, there’s so many different different things that we can consult on in and, you know, hire people and we have a model in place and we have, you know, great partners and deliver these and so, I think that’s our reputation and you know, building off the brand that we had fraud intact. So many years ago, it’s been really helpful. So, you know, I know it’s a bit of a long winded answer, but you know that that’s what differentiate us. And if you look at our competitors, like, you know, set your great company, but they can’t do audit and tax, right. So, you know, they’re they’re purely, you know, more on the technology side, and, you know, other services they can do. And so, you know, each of each of those are somewhat different. And if you look at the Big Four, you know, each of them has regrown, some of their consulting practice, but I don’t think they have the same scale we do these days.

 

Scott D Clary  20:27

No, so And okay, so that’s, let’s, let’s go off that point. So if you if you do everything, and that’s, that’s the brand that you have. And that makes sense to me. And that’s what’s allowed you to really build trust these clients over the years, and there’s still your clients, because you can provide so many different services. And of course, you’re cross selling across, you know, the multiple things that Deloitte does, but you have to find talent that can help them in all these different areas. So okay, so then the question is, if you are going to help them with cyber and digital transformation, and consulting in that area, how do you find that talent? Because I think that’s probably going to be the most difficult thing, because somebody who is, you know, fresh, young, really interested in anything, you know, cybersecurity, digital transformation, engineers, all of that stuff that could help these clients. Those people, I’m assuming skew towards, like, the startups enough NSF, right. I feel like that’s like the sexy place to work and delights, like, you know, they’ve been around for forever. So how do you how do you keep it fresh? How do you get these people in so that you can actually serve those clients?

 

Adam Weissenberg  21:29

So it’s a it’s a really great question, Scott. So So I think, you know, five years ago, you would have, you know, we would have said, we’re focused on growth, and that, that that’s the main thing. That’s number one. And, of course, we still are, and we want to continue to grow our practice. And there’s a lot of reasons for wanting to do that, you know, it gives us scale, and the ability to attract more talent, so forth. But I think since COVID, in particular, it’s changed so many things, that we have a real shift now to focusing, you know, number one priority is talent. And I know, that’s somewhat obvious. I mean, we don’t, we don’t, we don’t, we don’t sell like cars, you know, we don’t, we don’t have factories, all we have are people. And so So of course, that’s always been core to us, and really important. And, you know, we’re very proud of our record of, you know, being recognized as a great place to work and across so many different, you know, areas, but, but now, we’ve really said, Hey, wait a second, you know, we really, if we want to continue to growth levels, we have, we’re gonna have to really change the way we think about our workforce. And to your point, how do we attractive I think, I think the likes always had a great brand, right. And so you know, you’re, you’re an accountant, you know, graduating, you’re like, I want to work for a big four, if you’re a tax professional and work for big four, if you’re a consultant, you know, graduating from an MBA top school, you know, we recruited you probably seven to work for Deloitte. But that shifted. Now, to your point, I think, I think this, these younger, college graduates are looking at the landscape, and they kind of learned this last year, well, you know, maybe I can work anywhere, but not have to move, you know, or be on the road all the time, or all the things that are, you know, somewhat been the norms of the consulting business, and even to some extent, the audit tax business. And so I think that’s changed a lot of perceptions and saying, hey, you know, there’s a lot of different things I can do. And, you know, I can live in Denver and work on, you know, a bank in New York now, where in the past, I might not have been as feasible to do. I also think, to your point, you know, some of these technology companies have become sexier. And, you know, people want to go work for him, and I want to, you know, get a start off and maybe Deloitte is perceived as to your point, you know, a little bit, you know, older and slower. So, we’ve got to change that image. So we’re investing a lot of time in, in going to campuses, and, you know, talking about what we do, and helping to promote, you know, our vision of what we think the future is, and flexibility and, you know, looking at what kind of rewards programs we have in place, and you know, how many days you’re in the office versus on the road on sabbaticals, you name it, you know, we are we are taking to heart everything, because we have to work, that’s what we’re competing with. And plus the fact we’re growing so large now, you know, in the old days, you know, we wouldn’t hire that many people, we’re hiring, you know, probably, you know, 30,000 people this year, or some number like that, you know, and so when you think about that, you know, we have to have a whole recruitment process in place, we have to have, you know, people who can go out and interview all these people. And so it’s, it’s, it’s a big shift. And if you talk to any of our leaders, I think all of us would say right now, number one is talent and figuring out, how do we attract them? How do we retain them? How do we make them happy, you know, I think becoming a partner at Deloitte is still still a wonderful, wonderful, you know, career path, and you know, but I’m not sure that’s is visible to some of our younger people, right? Like, why would I want to do this and stick around for 1516 years, you know, to become a partner. You know, when there’s so many other cool things I can do between now and then. So we’ve got we’ve got also really focused on our top people and explain to them why you want to have this career. path to become a partner? And what are the? What are the advantages of that? What kind of lifestyle is I mean, what kind of return on equity is that even though you know, we’re all private, so you don’t you don’t actually get stock, but you own capital. So there’s a lot of a lot of different, you know, messages we’re trying to get out there today. But it’s it’s it is the number one focus and that that’s what we’re talking about in the board room and of our businesses these days.

 

Scott D Clary  25:18

And how has an like, what does the future of Deloitte look like after COVID? Because obviously, you made some shifts, like internally, like you’re, you’re working from home now you haven’t gone, like, you know, you’ll you’ll, you’ll go to your go to AIPAC again soon, but you haven’t gone there in a minute. So has it been difficult to to move, like the type of business at Deloitte is, which is like a very human to human business, like you’re talking to people, you’re talking to the CEOs of companies, executives, companies, or you’re talking to very senior up. And I think that, like you said, consultants are on the road, they’re meeting people, they’re sitting down for lunch and dinner and whatnot, and building those relationships. That’s, like, that’s so important, because you’re trusting the company to trusting you with the core pieces of their business. Has it been difficult to do that over zoom? Virtually?

 

Adam Weissenberg  26:06

Shockingly, no, I mean, it we have been blown away by how we were able to transition in March of 20. From, you know, our traditional model, which was you have to be on the ear of your consultant on the you’re on the road every week, you know, if you’re an auditor, you’re at your client doing your audit, if your tax professional, you’re out talking to the taxpayer, I mean, you are at your client, you are on site you are traveling. And, and, you know, literally overnight, we went virtual, and it was pretty close to seamless. It was It was unbelievable. And I think you’ve seen that when you look at the broader, you know, us I think, you know, kind of professional services, you know, other other technology, so where we were, you know, industries, were able to make that shift, you know, the ones where you had to have face to face contact are the ones that got hurt the most. So, you know, hotels, restaurants, retail, you know, where people actually had to be there to do stuff, except, you know, we did see retail shifted to be online, also. But, so, so, so I do think, um, you know, we made that shift, and so I so I think for the first year or so, it worked, you know, let’s say till till March of 21. You know, people work from home, and, you know, people were, you know, people’s clients were at home, and so they, you know, did zoom, and thank God for the technology that was out there, that made us able to do, you know, inter county interactive stuff like this, over our computers, and so, so it worked. What we’re seeing now, though, is, you know, clearly there’s some fatigue, that’s happened, you know, so So, one is, you know, you have younger people who didn’t meet anybody. Right? And so how do we acclimate them into joy? And how do we get them to meet people? And how do we get them to experience our culture, to your point, you know, there is some, I listen, I want some business during COVID, you know, through zoom, it’s, it’s amazing to me, I didn’t meet anybody live, we did this way, we set up meetings, and I gave a pitch and we want that always gonna last so long, right? Because if one of these days one of my competitors is gonna go, like, Hey, I’m gonna go over there and sit down this person live, while you’re trying to do it by zoom. And, and I do think, you know, that that will put you just man, so people will have to get out. And, and also just create our networks, you know, you have to go to events, you have to see, but we can’t do that when there’s, you know, 300 people on a zoom webcast or something like that. So, so So that’ll happen. But what we’re also hearing is nobody wants to go back to me in the office five days a week, right? Our people don’t want that they want, you know, they want to get together kind of, you know, have some say over Is it two days in the office? Is it three days in the office, you know, is it Mondays in the office is is Fridays, you know, having some team events, so they want that interaction, but clearly not back to where, where we were, I mean, I have a daughter who’s, you know, graduated college a year ago, you know, she’s right in the middle that she was in Manhattan. And, you know, at first she was in the office five days, and, and, you know, then she got to go and, you know, have kind of this virtual, you know, hybrid model, and she loves that, you know, she can be in Manhattan and do some things still get her work done. And then she can go to the office some days, you know, and I do think that’s something we’re gonna have to learn to live with and to change and our clients are the same way. You know, our clients are not gonna be sitting in their offices five days a week, either. So it’s a big shift. And, you know, it was good, though it kind of disproved. I think, a lot of things that we thought we’re, you know, absolute rules that you have to go to clients, you have to travel all the time, you know, you have to be there live. And you don’t now for me with Asia Pacific, I guess I was somewhat lucky as I got to spend a year going there live. So I met a lot of people in Asia and it’s really important that you have that face to face contact and relationships. So I’ve been able to, you know, keep those alive somewhat this past year through zoom, but you know, it is reaching the point where that’s getting stale. There’s new leaders in place and so forth, and I got to get over there. I gotta take a plane. Ain’t fly. You know, once you got probably I have probably not having to the spring at this point with what’s going on but but it’s it’s gonna you know they’re that face to face contact will still be needed. Yeah, but I don’t need the same level it used to be I think it’ll it’ll be a hybrid model going forward,

 

Scott D Clary  30:15

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Adam Weissenberg  32:56

It was the toughest sector. I mean, you know, one, like I said, probably retail got pretty hard hit at the same time. You know, and to my point, other industries, you know, thrive you know, healthcare technology, you know, professional services. So, you know, it was crisis mode, you know, unfortunately, I don’t think, you know, in, in the wild is Black Swan, you know, scenarios that no, nobody in the industry perceived that literally overnight, everyone would stop traveling, right. I mean, literally people would be in lockdown the whole country, you know, worldwide. So there was no scenario planning for that. Right. And it happened so quickly. So, you know, I think the industry did what it did in terms of having to, you know, really look at what are their costs? And how do we how do we immediately, you know, save in terms of our labor costs, in terms of, you know, rent other things, you know, that they, they’re, you know, they had and so, I think the industry, you know, did what they had to at that point, I mean, most stuff was climbing Listen, there’s still some hotels closed and restaurants closed through, airlines aren’t back to where they were, I’m not saying it’s a magic bullet either.

 

Scott D Clary  34:00

I just, there’s no magic bullet.

 

Adam Weissenberg  34:01

So so, you know, I think since then, you know, the interesting thing is, you know, the industry has actually been coming back very strongly on the leisure front, um, you know, is is is you know, I’ve taken some trips you’ve probably taken some trips, so you know, people are starting to travel again for vacation, and for fun, and so I think the industry is is doing what they can to adjust to that and think about okay, it’s not the business traveler spending a ton of money to stay at a you know, more expensive hotels and have fancy dinners. It’s more of a leisure traveler so let’s let’s think about you know, what things they want differently. And, you know, how do we do at the same time, you know, the message of safety is become really important and making your guests feel that you’re safe you know, from COVID You don’t want to you know, stay at a hotel or a restaurant or be on a cruise ship or whatever it is, I’m aeroplane and catch COVID And so you know, a lot a lot of message around safety and doing their best to demonstrate to the you know, to their their guests that they will be safe. But I think the challenge Right now as you know, things just started, you know, come back. And, you know, I think there was the jobs report today actually came out was really positive in terms of our people who came back to work. And it’s been, it’s been a challenge to find people, because, you know, everyone, everyone, I think a lot of people reevaluate what they were doing in these industries, you know, after with COVID. And now we’re saying, hey, if I can do something else that pays more, I don’t want to go back to me, you know, you know, dishwasher or weight or front desk clerk, or housekeeper. And so I think there’s been a little bit of labor shortage, so that that’s causing some challenges, maybe on the rebound as much as you would. And then I think there’s still, you know, the challenge of it’s, you know, if you’re a convention Hotel in downtown Manhattan, nobody’s nobody yet is going to do big conventions. I mean, that’s just not happening. And so, you know, the business traveler hasn’t come back. So it’s like, what do you do to attract more leisure traveler and to, to make things more attractive, and listen, airlines or planes are filling up again. So I think they’re, you know, slowly bringing back capacity. And, you know, that’s important, you know, that same issues, they’re facing some labor challenges also, and getting their workforce back, and up and running. And so, but I, you know, I wish I had some huge lessons to be learned from that, Scott. But it was it was it was it was a crisis mode. It was like,

 

Scott D Clary  36:10

but I really, lines though, it says like, like, there’s still so they’re pivoting from their core competency, doubling down on the things that are available to them. So you’re seeing them pivot from business travel, they’re doubling down on personal like leisure travel. And that’s that’s sort of how they, that’s how they’ve survived. And then I guess, I’m assuming they’re also trying to attract.

 

Adam Weissenberg  36:32

Yeah, we’re, yeah, listen, we’re, I think what’s been interesting to see is there, you know, there hasn’t been a slew of bankruptcies, there hasn’t been a no, you know, a lot of foreclosures, I think, across the spectrum, you know, the lenders, and the owners have been willing to work with the operators, and everyone to kind of say, Hey, this is going to be temporary, we’ll get through this, let’s focus on cash, let’s, you know, try and get as much as we can to pay our bills, and, you know, open the doors and, you know, take care of our customers and our guys, and not do anything drastic, like, you know, start foreclosing on a ton of hotels or restaurants or this or that, because, you know, that, that that would have been bad. And so that that has not happened. So I think there’s been, you know, a willingness to probably extend things a little bit more to say, hey, the recovery is happening. And I think that’s the good news. Because as the leader travel happens, you know, we used to be owners and operators will say, Hey, we are getting some cash through the door, we can at least maybe cover maybe everything except our mortgage at this point. But, you know, operations is positive, let’s, let’s look at the, you know, look at that, and, you know, hope that now six months year from now, we’ll start to see some more business travel come back, which which it will say, I don’t think it’s gonna be the same level anytime soon, you know, the challenge is, you know, as I’ve said, you know, look, look at a company like ours, you know, we’re not gonna, we’re not gonna ramp up to the same level, we were pre COVID, because we have a new model, now we have a hybrid model where we don’t have to have, you know, in, you know, pre COVID, we’re, you know, we’re probably a top five traveler, you know, just based on the nature of our business, that’s going to be much slower to come back. Because, you know, we’re not, we’re not going to force people to go on planes to fly to clients who really don’t want to see him when they can do some of this in a hybrid way and, and operate virtually, but but it’ll come back more than it is, I mean, you know, we got to get people together, we have to have a face to face interaction with our clients, we have to go places where we can help grow our business, and, you know, so it’ll come back. So you know, do we see maybe, you know, by the end of next year, back to 50%, of free COVID? Yeah, I think that could happen. Okay, so

 

Scott D Clary  38:37

so, you know, you’re entrenched in this industry. That’s why like, you’re you’re seeing it, like better, better than everybody else. Yeah. No, no, but I think no, I respect that. Like, you’re you’re just you’re just us trying to figure out as you as you go, like, what’s what’s gonna happen, but I just, you know, I’m just curious, because you This is like, you’re living and breathing this every single day. So I’m sure you you have some conversations with people, and you’re seeing some life come back into their businesses and whatnot. So I just a good thing. And I just, it’s just interesting, because I think that they I think that even though it isn’t a comeback, like you mentioned, like the future is hybrid. The future is hybrid.

 

Adam Weissenberg  39:14

Yeah, I mean, the other thing I would add, you know, when you think about the industry and looking a little broader, awesome, you look at people are starting to go to sports, again, stadiums are filling up, people want to go to concerts, you know, Broadway’s opening up, you know, you have all these other things, once again, these are all leisure activity type things, but those, those are all impacting the industry again, and, you know, knock wood if we don’t have another big outbreak of COVID. And, you know, with everyone getting vaccinated, so forth, the chances that are less than last, then I think that’s all heading in the right direction. And so, that’s good thing, but, you know, are people going to be back in their offices 100% of the time, you know, I just, you know, I don’t see that happening. You know, you look at Midtown Manhattan. It’s it’s I was there last week, you know, there’s there’s way more people walking around, there’s restaurants, you know, now we’re opening the borders. International again, you have more people coming. But their office buildings aren’t going to be at 100%. Like they were I mean, you know, I had our I was in our building, I mean, I maybe saw five people on the floor, which used to be packed, because people are working it right. And they like that. So that is a change.

 

Scott D Clary  40:16

Very interesting, okay, I want to I want to ask some rapid fire career questions, I always do this to like to close it out. But just, you know, before it before I pivot, was there anything else that’s like top of mind that you’ve learned through COVID, any other any other things that were just like really applicable for Deloitte or for, you know, your own digital transformation for employees, for t HS, we didn’t go into, because I know, we went into a lot of different things, but I just didn’t want to, I can’t remember, I forgot something to bring up because I know we, we want to go in a few different things and speak about some of the realities that you’ve sort of faced over the past couple of years. So

 

Adam Weissenberg  40:57

yeah, so we’ve touched on a lot, you know, one, one, clearly, you know, kind of mythbuster around, we have to be on the road all the time. Yeah, not not true anymore. And that we can we can, our people can be very reflexive about where they live, and who they serve big myth, you know, mythbuster, from the old days, you have to sit in the office, where you’re serving clients. So, so that’s one, you know, two is, we probably talked a lot about, you know, just the, the digital transformation, you know, the use of technology going forward. I mean, obviously, it’s always important, but what COVID showed is really, really important, you know, the fact we’re able to continue seamlessly to serve our clients, that’s only because of, you know, changes in digital, and that’s only going to continue to become more and more powerful into our business, in terms of what we do, and how we interact with our clients how things get done. And so, you know, we’re investing a lot in that space and becoming, you know, it’s such a cliche, but it’s true, you know, I’m thinking about the future, and what technology will look like, and what kind of technology we need internally and how we help our clients with that. I think the third is, you know, the focus on the workforce, you know, that that always important, once again, that’s all we have, but really super, super important. Now, as we see our turnover start to go up, you know, coming out of COVID, you know, how do we change? How do we become more flexible? How do we attract, as you said, you know, engineers, different types of people with different backgrounds, to do the things that we’re gonna need to do in the future. Because, you know, as I’m sure everyone says that, you know, the change and pace of technology is always way faster than we ever think it will be. And so, you know, really thinking about, okay, what are we gonna look like, in five years? What kind of people do we need? That, that that is a big change for us. So, so I think those are probably the big learnings that came out of COVID for us and kind of where we see ourselves going, you know, meanwhile, hey, we’re doing really well, we’re very happy. You know, in terms of our past year, you know, we love that, you know, we’ve still been able to serve our clients and you know, they’ve been happy and feel that, you know, we’re delivering on what we need to and so, you know, it’s it’s a great business model, and, you know, hopefully we continue it forward.

 

Scott D Clary  42:53

Good, very good. Okay, so also if people want to connect with you in any way, where should they go? Is there LinkedIn Twitter, like Yeah,

 

Adam Weissenberg  43:01

LinkedIn is probably the best way yeah, you can. You can find me I checked out fairly frequently. frequently. If you want to reach out to me just shoot me a note through LinkedIn.

 

Scott D Clary  43:08

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Adam Weissenberg  45:40

The biggest challenge for me has probably been being a career changer. So you know, I was always going to be a hotel operator. And yeah, that was my lifelong dream. And as I told you, I spent five years in industry, and then I kind of hit this wall of saying, I don’t like what I’m doing. And I don’t see myself doing this forever. And so I really had to recreate myself. And so going back and getting my MBA, and what I left out, I can do it, I started the bot. I mean, nobody gave me any credit, you know, I was five years old, and everybody else starting and, you know, they just start like, yeah, you got to start at the bottom and prove yourself. So that that was probably, for me the biggest change, you know, completely changing careers, becoming a CPA, going to work professional services firm from always wanting to be in the hotel business. But you know, once again, 29 years later, it turned out pretty well did. Okay,

 

Scott D Clary  46:28

it did turn out pretty damn well, that 29 years later, you don’t always have that foresight. How did you how did you force yourself push yourself getting the right mindset to restart?

 

Adam Weissenberg  46:40

I just I, you know, I spoke to a lot of people, and, you know, I was like, Okay, I am not going to get where I need to go, you’re just continuing to work in the industry at that point. And so for me, you know, getting an MBA was critical. And I said, Okay, I’ll go back to school, I’ll learn something new, I’ll get some more skills, but that’ll also open doors for me to change careers. And so you know, I’m a big believer, and you know that that’s one of the the key reasons to get an MBA, if you’re changing careers, because it opened all the doors for me, I never would have gotten into the door, Deloitte didn’t have the skills, you know, I had to be able to sit to take the CPA. And so I said to myself, Okay, I’m going to try this and spoke to people saying having a CPA would never hurt me. You know, there’s nothing Nothing bad’s gonna come from the worst is I wasted two years in business school, and got my way, you know, into a different career. But, you know, on the upside was it opened a whole new avenue for me, and so that that was kind of how I made this decision at that time. I mean, arguably, I was 26. That was thinking that far to the future. But it worked. Yeah, good. Good, man. Yeah.

 

Scott D Clary  47:46

If you had to choose one person has probably been many, but if you had to choose one person has been super impactful on your life. It could be a mentor could be a parent, it could be a spouse, whatever, it could be professional. Who was that person? What did they teach you.

 

Adam Weissenberg  47:59

So it’s a retired partner at Deloitte suit is Ron requests. He’s been probably retired for about five, six years now. And he is he’s been a critical mentor of mine, throughout my career. And so when I was a young manager, you know, three, four years into the firm, I got a chance to work with him. And it’s kind of funny, because he had this reputation that was not very good. Which I, you know, turned out wasn’t true at all. And so he kind of took me under his wing, and I just learned so many things about him from him. You know, things like, you know, Ron, Ron has a great attitude about about work, like, critical, you know, to serve your clients. Well. On the other hand, it’s just a job, right? So, you know, don’t don’t get you know, too caught up in, you know, worrying so much about stuff. Don’t take things personally, you know, and those are like lessons you learn, like, I’d have a client yell at me, and you’d be like, Why are you getting so upset? Like, you know, our bills are getting paid? So like, you know, this isn’t life or death? It’s like, yeah, let him yell at you if he wants to. And so just putting things into perspective and then you know, throughout my career he’s provided opportunities for me and you know, giving me advice you know, about my personal life that actually the house I’m in now I remember I was trying looking to buy it I learned a lot of money and he’s like, he’s like You Only Live Once you buy the house enjoy it. And so things like that, you know, he’s he’s, he’s just a wonderful person who everyone likes a lot and who I still talk to on a regular basis, but you know, for me in my career, he just was made such a big difference in giving me good advice getting me on the right clients, introducing me to people and you know, without him I wouldn’t be ready I could give you five other names, but he’s probably divine.

 

Scott D Clary  49:39

So good, very good. A book or a podcast that you’d recommend people go check out

 

Adam Weissenberg  49:47

you know, I read I read like everything across I’m trying to think I’m looking at my my shelf here what I’ve read recently you know, I’m like, that’s like a science fiction for So

 

Scott D Clary  50:00

it doesn’t have to be a business book.

 

Adam Weissenberg  50:02

Yeah, you know, you’re gonna laugh at this, but I don’t know if you saw Dune is out again. Yeah, I’m rereading dune. And really, it’s awesome. I read it years ago, Frank Herbert and I loved it. And so I’m rereading, and it’s kind of really cool. There’s been a lot written about it, because if you reread through it, it’s talking about, you know, a world where, you know, there’s no water and stuff. So this is very real in terms of what’s going on the real world today. And, and kind of all the political stuff. So um, you know, I watched the movie, and I was like, hey, this movie is awesome. And so I took the book out again, I’m like, I guess I gotta reread these, because I logged in when I was a little kid. And I love him again, I Yeah, but I will read a lot of historical fiction I’ll, I’ll read a lot of light of everything. But that’s what I’m, that’s what I’m reading at the moment.

 

Scott D Clary  50:47

I love it honestly, like stuff that just like, either like de stresses or makes you more creative or whatever. It doesn’t have to be business stuff. It’s it’s, yeah, I’ve I haven’t seen the movie yet. Saga

 

Adam Weissenberg  50:57

kind of go? It was really good. Good.

 

Scott D Clary  51:01

If you could tell your 20 year old self one thing, what would it be?

 

Adam Weissenberg  51:06

You know, I would probably say, don’t worry so much about the short term, right? You know, as I think I would tell my twin yourself, guy, you get so caught up, and we’ll watch this job. And, you know, what am I doing tomorrow and so forth, I would tell myself think more long term and think about the future. You know, take don’t worry so much what happens on a day to day basis, and, and have a plan for what you want to do. But also be realistic, you know, by changed multiple times, I in a million years, when I was 20, couldn’t have told you this is where I’d be today. This is probably wasn’t even on my radar. So you know, don’t be afraid to take risks, don’t be afraid to try new things. And and don’t, don’t get so caught up in the short term.

 

Scott D Clary  51:48

I love that. And lastly, what does success mean to you?

 

Adam Weissenberg  51:53

You know, success to me, I’ve always been a big believer in you got to have balance, right? So, you know, you can work 100 hours a week if you want to, right, and you know, maybe that’ll give you success if you want to find it and you know, money or whatever, you know, seniority, fame, all those things. But I look back at my life. And I kind of think I’ve always had balanced like, I went to my kids plays at coach my kids soccer teams, I spent time with my family. And balancing that with with being successful at work and achieving things. And so the other piece that ties into that in terms of balances you got, you gotta be able to rely on people and learn early on, you know how to delegate. I’m a huge believer in if someone else can do it, and that’s not what I’m supposed to do, then they should do that, you know, the firm pays me to be a partner and a senior leader doesn’t pay me to do you know, other stuff that others can do. And so I’ve always you know, pushed my teams to do what they need to do so I delegate to them doesn’t mean I give up you know, in terms of coaching them or guiding them or taking responsibility for what they do. But But learn early on how to delegate and to get others to help you and that’s that’s the key to success and then you can have that balance because if you try and do everything yourself you won’t and so you know having people you can rely on you can delegate to you keep an eye on is critical and that that has been you know, I could you tell me in terms of met mentor, you know, people I’ve mentored over the years, you know, who will achieve success, I’m even, you know, more proud of, because that that’s critical. And you know, if you can’t look back and have you know, say hey here who are people I felt be successful, then you probably need to take a step back and relook at what you’re doing. This is how you achieve all the things you want. And that’s how you can have the balance ultimately, to do fun things and not work all the time.

 

53:57

I’m Amira rose Davis, host of the new season of American prodigy all about black girls in gymnastics. My white coaches just said you may not get the scores that you deserve because you’re black is the story of a decades long struggle of black gymnasts trying to find and amplify their voices.

 

54:15

I can’t be the next mobiles. I can’t be the next Dominique DODDS. I can only be the next version of myself.

 

54:21

Listen to American prodigies on Apple podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, and wherever you get your podcasts

 

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