Oliver Bladek leaves McKinsey Australia full of gratitude

20 September 2019 Consultancy.com.au

Fifteen years after joining the consulting firm, Sydney-based Associate Partner Oliver Bladek has left McKinsey & Company to pursue his career externally.

“McKinsey was my first real job – I showed up in the Toronto office in 2004 with experience leading regional and national student organisations, working as a summer camp counsellor, and driving a forklift at a home improvement warehouse,” reflected Bladek in a post on his personal LinkedIn page.

Fast forward fifteen years, and Bladek looks back at a fulfilling learning experience. After working eight years from McKinsey’s office in Toronto (the strategy consulting firm has two offices in Toronto and other Canadian offices in Calgary, Montréal and Vancouver), he relocated to Australia in 2012. Most recently, Bladek was an Associate Partner and leader of McKinsey’s Organisation practice for Australia and New Zealand.

I depart full of gratitude for the giants who have allowed me to stand on their shoulders and the office heroes who helped make everything happen. I wouldn’t have traded my time at McKinsey & Company for anything,” he said. 

Oliver Bladek, Associate Partner, McKinsey & Company

Looking back at his time, he has learned “enough Excel shortcuts, PowerPoint tricks, and business frameworks to last any executive a lifetime,” but what he gained the most from his experience at the strategic and management consulting firm, “is undoubtedly leadership.” 

Bladek said he learned ten characteristics about good leadership traits. These are:

  • Empathy: recognise that the performance pressure and anxiety that weigh on us exists in others as well
  • Grounded: very few things in life are as urgent (or as important) as we think
  • Action: worry less about making the right decision, and worry more about making the decision right
  • Teamwork: inclusion starts with the little things
  • Resilience: facing and potentially overcoming adversity is how leaders grow
  • Vulnerability: a skill that requires practice, but pays off more than you can imagine
  • Perspective: back yourself and your passion - this prevents others from wagering your sweat equity on your behalf.
  • Prioritisation: say yes to less, and put sleep first
  • Caring: colleagues never forget when you weren’t honest with feedback, but will always remember when you deliver a tough message and putting their interests first
  • Integrity: the standard you walk past is the standard you accept

“I can’t take the credit for coming up with these factors, nor would I suggest they ground-breaking. But I write them with gratitude to the mentors and leaders who helped show me the way, and with hope that they may inspire,” he concluded.

McKinsey has four offices in Australia and one in New Zealand. In Canada, the firm has a team of over 300 consultants.


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