The Changing Room

Five questions for… Matthew Hillhouse

1.- What is the one absolutely essential quality any potential member of the Taleo team should have?

Adaptability – we meet many individuals who have the fundamentals to be a competent PM or BA. The ones who differentiate themselves are the ones who have a high degree of emotional intelligence. They can assess in real time the human situation and know what type of style is appropriate for that situation. By adapting their style they become a more effective member of the team. These individuals tend to be much more successful in helping our clients achieve desired goals.

2.- How do you educate partners and clients about change and risk?

Change and risk, though varying in degree, are part of every assignment. These are the things that add to the challenge and excitement of our work. They aren’t negative. We educate our clients on change and risk in two ways 1) identify both as they emerge on the project 2) recommend what (if anything) we should do about it. The critical point is that you keeping doing 1 and 2 throughout the project not just once at the beginning.

3.- When was the last time you felt frustrated by a project, and why?

I typically don’t get frustrated by any project, frustration comes from many sources including anger at not being able to control things the way you want to. Successful consultants understand that you can’t control everything on a project. Things happen, things change, sometimes for good reasons. What is important is to embrace change. To recognize that it is a constant and that how we respond to it can ultimately differentiate between failure and success.

4.- How do you manage your stress levels on a daily basis?

I am very fortunate to have a circle of mentors, family and friends that help me through life’s daily adventures of highs and lows. They come to me in varying forms – business partners, cycling companions, children, best friends, etc. What is amazing is the different perspectives they provide to me. They help me stay grounded, open minded and in tune. And they are always present throughout the day either in texts, telephone conversations or face to face get togethers.

5.- What is your favourite skill and how did you acquire it?

Tenacity: I’m not sure if it is great for all situations but I am very aware of how tenacious I am. It might be a result of being the youngest of three boys in the family. We competed constantly for everything – food, monopoly, sports. I like to achieve goals that I put before me.

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