A vital part of the Ethos of Propeller is creating balance. We strongly believe that we are so much more than what we do at work between 8 and 5 every day. We’re working moms, dads, husbands, wives, volunteers, students, activists, and more. We are all multi-dimensional humans. Propeller doesn’t expect people to check those things at the door every morning.
Part of “Creating Balance” is Propeller’s firm-wide belief that making time for self-care both at work and outside of work ensures that we are always bringing our best selves every day for our colleagues and our clients. It also means you don’t have to trade a successful career for a balanced home life either.
San Francisco-based Propeller consultant Michael Ernst talks about life as a consultant solving ambiguous business challenges in a bustling city and how creating and maintaining balance means taking time throughout the day to be mindful and re-energize:
Solving the ambiguous, investing in people, and the endless pursuit of learning
“There is not just one experience that has prepared me to become a consultant. In school, my past jobs, and my personal life, I have always been most excited when I have had the opportunity to solve an ambiguous problem. Consulting felt like a natural fit because there are always new problems to solve and you never stop learning.”
“The great thing about Propeller, is that you own your own career. If there is a new skill you want to learn, Propeller will help provide the resources for you to accomplish your goals. Leadership cares about investing in its people and not dictating a certain ‘path.’ There are also multiple internal firm initiatives you can get involved in such as Recruiting, Learning & Development, and Community Service. If you volunteer to get involved internally then you typically are meeting with your internal teams on a more frequent basis, and these teams can span geos (Portland/San Francisco/Denver).”
Picking up the Slack – collaboration across projects, teams & cities
“I am really lucky because I get to work with amazing people at the client and the firm while also helping solve challenging problems. Since we are spread out at different clients, we stay connected through the collaboration tool -- Slack.”
“My first project at Propeller was supporting an M&A (Merger & Acquisition) Integration for a client. It was a little intimidating for my first project not to be in my immediate realm of expertise. The firm and my partner on the project supported my development so that I could quickly earn my client’s trust and lead the project with confidence."
Binge-watching & long walks on the Embarcadero; balance begins with a bit of self-care
“Working as a consultant in a busy city (San Francisco) can sometimes feel hectic. To stay balanced, I take time for self-care by doing some of my favorite activities. Whether it's going for a walk along the Embarcadero, spending time with friends, or binge watching my favorite TV show, I make time for self-care at work and outside of work to ensure that I am always bringing my best self to Propeller and the Client.”
“I like to live a very active life. I typically workout 5-6 times a week to keep my mind clear and the endorphins flowing. The good thing about living in SF, it is easy to mix it up with a hike, run, or taking a local fitness class at a nearby studio.”
The typical cut-throat consulting firm vs. Propeller’s “you-win, we-win” mentalitY
“Propeller consultants are always willing to help each other out. Even if you are not on the same client project, it is very normal to reach out to the firm and ask for assistance or feedback on a current issue you are facing. At Propeller we do great work, but we don’t take ourselves too seriously. This is not your typical cut-throat consulting firm… we support each other and have a you-win, we-win mentality. Our leadership is committed to this culture!”
Michael Ernst believes in taking time throughout the day to be mindful and re-energize. It fuels his ability to lead diverse teams that are able to deliver innovative, agility-based solutions. As a visionary and trusted leader, he fosters an environment of mutual trust, confidence and connection with coworkers and clients alike. Michael holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration and strategic management from George Washington University.