David F. Dougherty, |
David Dougherty Advises Students to Start at a Big Company
Convergys executive vice president speaks at Michigan Business School Dean¿s Seminar
ANN ARBOR, Mich. Go to a big company, David F. Dougherty, BBA '78, counsels Michigan Business School students and new graduates.
Dougherty, executive vice president of global information management for Convergys, participated in the Dean's Seminar Series in March, Seminars give students opportunities to talk with successful alumni about business issues of the day and career development.
Convergys, with $2.3 billion in revenues in 2002, provides worldwide business process outsourcing in the areas of customer service, human resource service and integrated billing. The outsourcing market, estimated at more than $1 trillion, is huge and growing, said Dougherty, who described Convergys as a "stealth company serving major Fortune 500 corporations. They don't want their competition to know we're doing work for them. They want to retain their competitive advantage."
He acknowledged that outsourcing is a serious public relations and political issue. "However, big companies must lower costs. When we do it, all the profits come back to the United States," explained Dougherty, who added that about 85 percent of Convergys' approximately 55,000 employees work in the United States. Looking ahead, Dougherty predicted that financial services and healthcare are the next areas to benefit from the organization and cost cutting that come with outsourcing.
Before joining Convergys 14 years ago, Dougherty worked for Procter & Gamble for eight years and for LensCrafters Inc. for four years. Launching a career at a large firm like Procter & Gamble is smart, he said, because "you learn things you'll never learn in a small company in terms of communication skills, data analysis, financial discipline and managing people."
For example, discipline and procedures such as performing personnel reviews every six months are built into the P & G organization.
Dougherty also warned against trying too hard to manage one's career. "Life is like a golf swing. The harder you swing, the worse the results." Instead, he recommended, "keep your head down and focus on how you can help the company be successful. Stay focused on the job."
To be a leader, you must have a team, he added, which means sometimes following. "I routinely look to see if someone working for me is more qualified to do something than I am and tell them 'you are the leader. You tell me where I need to be to help.'"
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Mary Jo Frank