10 Sep 2019

Rushi Raja, Generalist, CEO, Dad, Pirate and Human Being

It is common for organizations to stipulate they are seeking a specialist; a candidate with deep industry expertise. But often great ideas come from someone with an outsider’s perspective and the mind of a generalist.

Whether you’re an aspiring management consultant or a hiring manager, you’ll want to hear this interview with CEO Rushi Raja 

On growing up: “When I was in Canada, I was Rushi the Indian guy, when I was in India, I was Rushi the Canadian guy. I’m basically a pirate.”

On aspirations: “The one thing I knew is that I never wanted to be a consultant. They were all arrogant and brash and thought they knew better than everyone else. So of course, I ended up a consultant.”

On influences: “The best thing that happened to be when I was a kid was that I got a retail job at Footlocker. It taught me how to interact with people of different backgrounds to determine their needs. It helped shaped who I am today.”

On family: “Leaving consulting was less about the job and more about family balance and making sure I was home with my little ones. Your number one focus in life changes when you have children. Its a beautiful process, it’s a challenging process. It’s changed who I am and it’s changed my priorities.”

On what they want: “You always get pigeonholed by folks who want you to be a specialist. I’ve always enjoyed floating from industry to industry. It can be challenging to sell yourself. Organizations say they need a specialist but often what they really need is a generalist.”

On people: “I always say that technology is not the solution, technology is the tool. If you have the right people, you can get around the problem. People are the #1 challenge and the #1 opportunity for organizations.”

On passion: “It’s amazing you can suck at something so bad and yet love it so much. Golf fills that niche for me.”

On value: “I went from consulting which is all about utilization and billable hours and revenue and now I’m CEO of a non-profit where our number one metric is value. It’s a very different situation and reflects 3rd gear.”

On success: “The firms with good people, people who are genuinely happy to be there, really enjoy what they’re doing and who are trained…it doesn’t matter what the product is…those companies do so well. If we can find a way to really motivate people and understand their true skills sets and value of individuals in organizations, we can do a lot.”

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