As a recent recruit with a wealth of experience, Jim Thompson is working with clients to improve the security of our country through digital transformation and innovative leadership strategies.
You’ve only just joined Deloitte; can you tell us a bit about how you came to be a Partner in Defence?
My career has been focused on delivering and enabling digital transformation for Defence clients. This has been on behalf of numerous well-known technology companies such as Microsoft and DXC Technology. Technology is great, but I’ve always felt that I must operate with a higher purpose of contributing to the prosperity, safety and security of the UK. It’s clear that Deloitte shares those values and purpose, so it felt like a great fit for me personally. To be honest, it was an easy decision for me to join the firm, Deloitte have a stellar reputation in the market and is a brand I have always admired. Deloitte already strategically supplies high-value digital services into the Public Sector, therefore it is only a natural progression to use these capabilities within the defence sector. Deloitte is of course not new to the Defence sector; we have great heritage in many other areas of business outside of 'digital'. More broadly, the opportunity to take part in the digital future for the defence market felt like a fantastic opportunity, and Deloitte are well placed to contribute.
And the application process?
The partner process is very involved and gives you a chance to meet with other Partners across the firm. The cornerstone of the process is a personal business case, which involves effectively communicating what you can bring to the firm, and what the market opportunity might be. Personally, I enjoyed the process, and the opportunity to meet the other partners was a huge part of my decision to join Deloitte. The talent in the firm was hugely impressive and the culture felt right to me.
Can you tell us a bit about what projects you’ve been involved in so far?
It has been almost overwhelming as a new Partner, because I’ve been so surprised by the breadth of capabilities within the firm. There has been so much to learn! My main challenge so far has been knowing where to begin. As we are somewhat new to the Defence market from a digital perspective, we are principally involved with new opportunities and pursuits. So far, I have been discussing numerous topics, such as defence logistics, journey to cloud, medical services, maritime transformation and many more. It is clear that digital transformation opportunities in Defence are currently at the forefront of the sector, so it will be a matter of focusing on key objectives and establishing and building our capabilities. Like our Defence clients, we will try things out, gain experience, learn lessons and keep improving.
What about your role are you most excited about?
The opportunities for transformation (enabled by technology) in Defence are vast, which is very exciting! Deloitte is well placed to connect our long heritage of delivering business led transformation, and we already have a huge presence in the Public Sector. A large part of my job involves building awareness of our capabilities. The entire UK defence industry has made a commitment to move to the cloud, and Deloitte are at the forefront. Defence does not move at the same pace as the private sector due to its complexity, so it is a case of one step at a time, focussing on incremental gains and building momentum (with transformation still being the target).
Overall, and most importantly, I am passionate about keeping the country safe. Enabling our defence clients to modernise and transform is at the top of my agenda - this will result in them to keeping pace with the modern day threats to a peaceful and productive world.
How do you approach leadership and personal growth?
I subscribe to the Satya Nadella (CEO of Microsoft) leadership principles of giving clarity, generating energy and creating success. So far, I have focused a lot on learning by doing. We use a “lean start-up” methodology to try new ideas quickly/fail-fast and move on. The lessons from failures are equally useful for future success.
Given the seriousness of your role, what do you do to unwind?
A huge part of my spare time is taken up coaching a local children’s football team. I find that working with children is as equally rewarding as it is challenging - kids take no prisoners! Outside of football, I live with my family in Berkshire and we spend much of our time walking our Hungarian Vizsla dog as he needs a lot of exercise!
Interested in a Consulting career at Deloitte? Explore your opportunities here.