The 2017 Executive Outlook: Russ Hagey

RussBain & Company

Russ Hagey / Partner & Worldwide Chief  Talent Officer

Consulting: Can you sum up where your firm is today? 

Hagey: Bain & Company is in a very strong position globally, and we are pleased with our multi-year growth, which remains in the double digits. Much of this growth is anchored in core strategy work within our client portfolio. We’ve recently seen this work grow at 2X the rate of our overall growth, while our functional capabilities support our commitment to deliver results to our clients.

Consulting: How would you describe your outlook for 2017? 

Hagey: Bain is optimistic about the prospects of continued growth for the firm in 2017 across all our geographies.  Our focus will be on accelerating our products and capabilities in areas of strength, such as large-scale transformations and digital enablement across broader functional capabilities, including IT, operations and Advanced Analytics—areas that remain increasingly important and necessary for businesses to be successful.

Consulting: What do you see as the biggest opportunities in 2017? What are the biggest challenges?

Hagey: We see several opportunities for growth. First, economic challenges continue to put even more pressure on companies to deliver results. This is Bain’s core and one of the key reasons CEOs and senior executives call upon us. As a result, we are seeing increased demand among our clients for more than just ‘information assembly.’ Instead, they are seeking insights and practical knowledge. At Bain, we bring pragmatism to bear on overarching trends, such as changing consumer behavior. Next, there often exists a tremendous amount of anxiety and uncertainty among corporate leadership teams about where to place their bets on digital business models, as well as the speed at which they digitize. Instead of separating our digital capabilities as a stand-alone, discrete discipline or practice, Bain has embedded digital consulting capabilities in each of our practices to help our clients, regardless of where they fall on the digital continuum. Finally, Bain has done extensive work on the internal and external challenges inherent in growth—some of the findings are in our recently published book, The Founder’s Mentality.  What we’ve found is that growth creates complexity, and complexity is often the silent killer of growth. To help companies practically address these crises—ultimately regaining their Founder’s Mentality—Bain has created a results-oriented Full Potential Transformation program that helps companies achieve the broad and deep changes required against a highly accelerated timeframe. In terms of the challenges that we see, firms will be pressed to deliver a higher return on investment. There is a growing expectation among clients that a consultant can help align a leadership team to achieve the change needed to deliver results and bring solutions that are far superior to what the company can do itself. We think firms will also need the ability to blend multiple capabilities to deliver real impact. Last, it will be increasingly important for consulting firms to continually remain on the vanguard of technological changes.

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