As Dave Williams took over the helm of our London-based business, we spoke with him about embarking on a new journey to grow and establish Slalom in the UK and Europe.
Welcome to Slalom! You’re at the helm of Slalom’s London office, which is the spearhead of our expansion in Europe. How do you see Slalom’s presence growing in the UK?
Our focus is on establishing an exceptional team and delighting our clients here in London, where the business environment continues to be vibrant and leads much of the economic decision-making for companies in Europe. Over time, we’ll look at our options for expanding to other cities in the UK, Ireland, and multiple continental European locations. Like our differentiated Slalom model throughout North America, we’re serving clients locally, right where they are.
What attracted you to Slalom?
Slalom offered me the opportunity to build a business and team in the U.K. and Europe that will serve clients in the right way, with the right people, delivering amazing outcomes. This is a very special opportunity that I’m completely energised by. It provides opportunities for those who want to join a very ambitious and rapidly expanding consulting company, while offering clients a new alternative to the norm. We’re doing things differently. We’re building exceptional solutions. We’re fun to work with. We work quickly and embrace agile. I have an unwavering principle of doing what’s right for clients, always, and working with them directly to make decisions. I feel very at home with Slalom in that regard.
You have 20 years of experience. How did you get your start in consulting?
After studying engineering and economics at the University of Birmingham, I found a match for my desire to help industrial companies improve their economic performance by joining the Andersen Consulting Process Management Consulting division. I was promptly sent to serve my consulting apprenticeship under some great leaders, delivering services at several of the largest industrial companies in the world.
From then on I’ve been smitten by delivering business improvement and transformation projects of all shapes and sizes in many different parts of the world.
What drives you?
I love solving problems. I’m hooked on partnering with clients to deliver amazing outcomes. I revel in the teamwork required to meet deadlines. Combining those three factors has given me the best days in my working life.
I’m also driven by doing interesting things with great people. And I’m driven by wanting to support the core part of my life: my family, traveling, and having fun.
What’s your leadership style?
I like to have open discussions about how we should approach a challenge. I do more asking than telling. When I commit to something, I do it, as best as I can. I have the same expectations for others. It’s important to me that people enjoy what they do and the company they work for. Principles and integrity are paramount. Clear and simple is always best.
You’ve just returned from a big adventure. What can you tell us about it?
I accepted my first job at Andersen Consulting because they offered me the opportunity to name my start date after I graduated. So, I chose to start a year later and go backpacking around the world with my partner for life, Nicky. Twenty years later, we decided to travel around the world again, this time with our three boys, ages 9, 11, and 13. It was the best time of our lives.
We home-schooled the boys, visited amazing places, went on adventures, learned so much more than we imagined possible, and spent 24 hours a day together as a family. While doing it, we also set up www.goliveyoung.com, which is a travel inspiration website for families.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
Always be a first-rate version of yourself rather than a second-rate version of someone else. That’s courtesy of Judy Garland.