After graduating from Williams College, I joined Teach for America in Charlotte, North Carolina. I remember unboxing a copy of Teaching as Leadership, delivered to each incoming Corps Member, and representing as close to a textbook for TFA as there is. It presents a framework quickly filled with experiences that include failure, success, reflection and adaptation.
Throughout the program, Corps Members are often reminded, “it’s all about you and not about you.” It’s all about you in two ways: First, your thoughts, decisions and actions drive outcomes. Further, it is a crucible of an experience for shaping your leadership, views and perseverance. It’s not about you in one way: your students become your world, your clients, your responsibility, your drive.
I mention this background not only because BlackArch is looking for you to bring the totality of your experiences to bear when you step in the door and throughout your tenure, but because in many ways, its analyst program presents a similar challenge and opportunity. Being part of the BlackArch team is a constant course in Teamwork as Leadership. Said another way, the work is all about you, and, inspiringly, not about you.
It’s all about you. BlackArch and the senior professionals you work with are uncommonly invested in your growth, development and success. Doors are always open. Teaching and learning are perpetual and constitute the cultural fabric. You are in the driver’s seat of your success daily and every deliverable and stage of the transaction process will have your indelible contribution. You will be expected not only to experience, but to propel every stage of the transactions you are a part of as ambassador for an entrepreneurial brand fiercely driven to providing better quality and outcomes than the market.
It’s not about you. In the classroom, I had 80 clients who I worked alongside daily to achieve their goals. You quickly learn that volume constantly competes with quality. At BlackArch, you will typically have one or two clients at a time and play a critical role in what is often the most significant transaction in a company’s history. In my time at BlackArch, I was fortunate to work with my teams on four such transactions towards delivering the outcomes these incredible management teams and shareholders sought.
My first transaction was with a company led by a CEO who had started in the field and worked his way up, ultimately driving success at an inflexion point in its growth. My second, third and fourth were all founder-owned businesses, two of which had never previously received institutional capital and all of which were leaders in their respective fields.
Throughout my BlackArch experience, the six leadership principles from Teaching as Leadership are readily applicable:
- Set Ambitious Goals - BlackArch’s flat culture is a springboard for your exponential growth. You will unsurprisingly get out of your experience what you put in. So take every chance to shatter your comfort zone. You will be surrounded by colleagues who want you to develop quickly and succeed.
- Invest Your Teams in Working Hard to Achieve Them - Hard work doesn’t go unnoticed. BlackArch analysts work hand in hand with their clients, which results in high visibility into the time, effort and caliber of what you deliver. This creates respect and invests clients as they quickly understand your goals are 100% aligned.
- Plan Purposefully to Achieve the Vision - Efficiency is everything. Taking the 10 extra minutes to understand and devise an informed plan allows you to move a level up from execution to always being a step ahead.
- Execute with Judgment and Adjustments - You will be given significant responsibility as an analyst, which creates many opportunities for leadership. At times, however, the number of things you need to complete will be immense. Every day is an opportunity to turn a hurdle from something that impedes you to something that improves your skill set and fortifies your mindset.
- Continuously Increase Effectiveness - There is always a better, faster, smarter way. BlackArch excels at teaching you to never stop hunting for it.
- Work Relentlessly to Navigate Challenges - Find a way, or make one.
It’s fun to apply these principles across my two experiences, but at the end of the day, the points above are just a shell, and this is really about you. Is this an exciting outline? If so, the BlackArch team is waiting your story to fill it.