Partner Profile On Craig Berkowitch: ‘Focus Like A Laser’

ArchPoint is pleased to announce the appointment of Craig Berkowitch as a partner. As a member of ArchPoint’s headquarter team, Berkowitch will lead strategic growth initiatives within ArchPoint’s marketing and branding division and lead management consulting engagements for clients.

Berkowitch joins ArchPoint as the company unites its five capabilities divisions – consulting, marketing, sourcing, sales and analytics – under one roof in San Antonio. “We are excited to have Craig’s leadership skills as we bring together our company’s business units. This move will allow us to fuel our clients’ growth by providing them with access to several integrated capabilities across the business value chain,” said Richard Spoon, ArchPoint CEO. “Craig is an important addition to the team to help bring this vision to life.”

Prior to joining the ArchPoint team, Berkowitch was senior manager with Deloitte Consulting, where he drove and supported $32 million in sales over three years and was a key member of Deloitte’s San Antonio leadership team after the firm acquired BearingPoint in 2009. Deloitte presented Berkowitch with several awards for his outstanding contributions to the firm, including serving as a faculty member at Deloitte University where he taught Human Capital Capstone Courses and authored several white papers on human capital topics.

At Deloitte and BearingPoint, and as H-E-B’s manager of organizational design and change management, Berkowitch honed his specialty in aligning people and culture to business strategy. Through his career, he helped several Fortune Global 500 companies and U.S. government agencies improve their effectiveness and efficiency through large-scale business transformations. He has worked in a variety of industries including retail, food service, life sciences, aerospace and defense, financial services, higher education and public services.

Craig earned his MBA from Cornell University and his master’s from Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations. He earned his bachelor’s in international studies and economics from American University in Washington, D.C. Craig also served as Chairman of the Board for City Year San Antonio from 2012-2014 and led Deloitte’s United Way campaigns in the Alamo City from 2009-2014.

“Craig will offer enormous value to our clients across our global network,” said Jesse Edelman, ArchPoint COO. “We are thrilled that he has chosen to join our team.”

Berkowitch commented, “Clients are looking for trusted partners who not only share their values but have the depth and breadth of knowledge necessary to help them grow their businesses. ArchPoint has assembled a keen group of business professionals who are wholly focused on driving results for clients through memorable and impactful work. It’s breathtaking and I’m honored to be part of such an innovative and creative organization.”

You’ve seen a number of different organizational changes in your career. Some succeed and some fail. What have you learned from these companies?

Making large-scale change in an organization is never easy, but it’s impossible without active, aligned, patient and positive leadership. Leaders who initiate change often fail to recognize how far ahead they are on the learning curve. By the time most people in an organization hear about change, the leaders have spent hundreds of hours researching, formulating, debating, and planning the change — and likely thinking about the next big change.

If leaders don’t realize they need to spend significant time helping the rest of the organization understand the “who, what, why, when and how” of the change effort, they may get impatient and mistake lack of progress for organizational resistance or apathy. At the same time, they must walk the talk and serve as role models for the behavior change they expect of others, particularly for their direct report and the middle manager population.

In addition, leaders must remain aligned with each other and to the change effort. Any leader who disparages the change effort to direct reports without airing and resolving the differences with other leaders first is undermining the effort. Lastly, leaders need to focus their energies on communicating the vision and opportunities of the change without getting distracted by doubters and cynics who are inevitably the loudest voices they hear.

Some business pundits say that the market is changing so rapidly that a business strategy is outdated before it’s even launched. Do you agree?

I don’t. Business strategy is always about making choices about where to play and how to win in the market. Whether you’re in fast-moving industries like technology or slower moving ones like utilities, you need to make these choices and then deploy your resources to capture the opportunity. A good business strategy is fundamentally the manifestation of these choices and a way to align people, processes, technology and capital against a focused plan.

I believe what has changed for clients is their potential to be more agile and responsive to marketplace changes. Those who are using data analytics wisely are predicting trends, getting ahead of the market and adjusting their strategies accordingly. Tools like ArchPoint’s myOGSM cloud-based strategy execution platform is helping clients respond internally to take advantage of external opportunities. It’s a game changer.

Having worked with many Fortune 500 executives, government officials and military officers, what attributes of leadership do you think contribute most to their effectiveness?

The most effective leaders I’ve worked with are constantly trying to improve themselves and helping others improve themselves, as well. This duality of not being satisfied with the status quo, while seeking ways to serve others can be a magical combination. That said, effective leaders surround themselves with high performing talent and quickly help those who do not meet high standards either get there or find other opportunities.

These leaders not only focus like a laser on results, they are constantly reading and talking with thought leaders to understand the big picture and the interdependence of social, political and economic movements and how they will impact their organizations and people. These leaders are courageous enough to take risks but pragmatic and enlightened enough not to be reckless.

Based on your extensive volunteer experience, why do you believe it’s important for employees to volunteer and give back to the community?

I believe we are put on this earth to serve others. This work enriches our workplaces, builds communities and, ultimately, gives life meaning.

What advice would you have for leaders interested in identifying hidden resources within their organizations?

If by ‘hidden resources’ you mean the untapped potential of people in their organization, my advice is to move from “interest” in doing this to action as soon as possible. Competitive advantage today comes from human capital — innovation, diversity, culture, creativity and insights drive value and profits in the 21st century.

These are human traits that cannot be duplicated by machines or technologies. The more a company can unlock this value by empowering teams, removing unnecessary rules, restrictive policies and actively managing culture, promoting inclusive and authentic workplaces and investing in learning and development — the more competitive and success it will have in the marketplace.

What is something you learned during your formal education that has made a difference in the way you do business?

During my MBA program, I had the opportunity to take an immersion-learning course in manufacturing management. The class, consisting of 60 graduate students from the engineering, business and labor relations schools, dedicated our entire semester to studying every aspect of manufacturing through small seminars, team projects and traveling the country visiting factories in a number of different industries. My biggest take-away from that course was that businesses are systems — interdependent and connected series of activities that succeed or fail together.

When we start to look at our jobs or functions as independent silos of activities, we sub-optimize the entire system or business. This type of thinking has influenced my entire career as a problem solver and innovator and continues to help me uncover challenges and opportunities that are not as obvious to others.

What qualities did you admire most in your favorite manager?

I’ve been fortunate enough to have many great managers. My favorite managers had high standards, gave me positive and constructive feedback, genuinely cared about me and had great senses of humor. They brought out the best in me, and I gave them the best I could.

What’s the best book you ever read (and why)? What are you reading now?

Hands-down, the best book I ever read is To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. I read it when I was in middle school. Like most adolescents, I was overly concerned about what others thought about me. The book taught helped me understand the power of empathy and caring about others more than myself. I actually re-read it when the 50th anniversary edition came out a few years back and it was even better the second time. Last week, Harper Lee announced that she’s writing a sequel — I can hardly wait.

Right now, I’m re-reading Steven Covey’s Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. I was greatly influenced by it when I started my career, and I thought it would be great to review some of those lessons as I start a new, mid-career opportunity.

What was your first job? Is there something you learned during that job that has stayed with you through the years?

I was 11 years old when I agreed to take over my cousin’s newspaper route during football season while he was at practice. I liked to talk with my customers, go out of my way to put the paper in their mailbox or near their front door and keep the paper dry when it rained. My tips were always much higher than my cousin’s. I learned that great service is appreciated and pays off.