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Business must disrupt the status quo

By Joe Echevarria - January 21, 2014

Blog_joee_davos14_300x200It’s time for real change. It’s time for disruption.

In the last few years, the world has been lurching from financial crisis to financial crisis. As business leaders gathered last year at the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting, the U.S. government had just narrowly averted falling off the fiscal cliff. Less than a year later, the U.S. found itself in a similar situation, which resulted in the third-longest government shutdown in U.S. history.

Despite all of this, in the U.S., and globally, there have been positive signs of economic recovery and business growth. Momentum continues and that is why I’m optimistic for the upcoming year.

As the business community gathers with global leaders in Davos this week, we have the opportunity to change the conversation. We need to challenge both the private and public sectors to disrupt the status quo and truly make changes needed to help get the world back on track.

Here are three ways business can play a role in disrupting what has become the “new abnormal”:

  1. Put our experience navigating difficult terrain to action and address the challenges we continue to face, including fiscal reform, the global economy, trade, and talent issues.
  2. Invest in your business. With job creation, talent development, and innovation.
  3. Take action to leave the world better than we found it.

At Deloitte, we challenge the status quo every day. From our organization’s growth and continued hiring to the innovative solutions we are delivering to our clients, including data analytics, cyber security, cloud-based solutions, and mobility.

We are regularly engaging with government leaders on key issues affecting our country and business. Additionally, we have committed $110 million to pro bono service through 2015. To date, we have delivered over $90 million in pro bono services to more than 1,000 nonprofit organizations.

To help clients break away from business as usual, we offer Labs, which are unique sessions designed to disrupt stagnant thinking, reveal new possibilities, and provoke action. One of our clients, a university in the U.S., has one of the largest applicant pools in the world, yet they only accept 20 percent of applicants. The university thought there must be a better way to ensure they were admitting the best candidates, who are not only good students, but who would be successful in college and beyond. The university joined us at Deloitte University, our leadership center, to transform their admissions process. The Lab included an exercise to create a vision for next generation student-leaders, used that vision to explore how to attract these leaders, and looked at a better use of analytics to find the best possible candidates. Since the Lab, the university followed through on its actions, piloting the new program and related ideas.

This is larger than Deloitte. This is larger than professional services. All business can be this change and join in the conversation, whether it is in the public sector, through pro bono, internally with your people, or the way customers are reached. Let’s be honest, let the private sector help when we can do something more effectively and efficiently.

No matter how small or large your disruption, you will be helping lead the charge to sustainable economic growth and ensuring we make not only America, but the world, stronger and better for future generations.


Us_joeechevarria_56x56 As CEO of Deloitte LLP, the U.S. member firm, Joe Echevarria’s responsibilities extend to more than 60,000 professionals in nearly 90 U.S. cities and India. Like all Deloitte professionals, Joe’s work plays a crucial role in serving the investor public and protecting capital markets, while providing high-quality service to some of the organization’s largest clients. He is known for his passionate support of talent and commitment to inclusion. Joe is a frequent commentator on major issues impacting the audit profession, American competiveness, and the U.S. economy, speaking to outlets such as CNBC, Fox Business, MSNBC, and The Wall Street Journal. He is actively engaged in Washington, regularly meeting with leaders on both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue.

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Joe writes: " In the last few years, the world has been lurching from financial crisis to financial crisis."

This is not true.

Canada has not lurched from financial crisis to financial crisis.

We haven't had a bank run since the 1930's.

Perhaps, on blog devoted to solving collective action problems, it would make sense to qualify your statement?

Would it make sense for you to try figure out why in two very similar countries one has as series of bank runs and the other does not?

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