For executive adviser Douglas (Doug) Haynes, the human element is equally important to the technical and functional underpinnings of success. Throughout his management consulting career, Haynes has emphasized the value of developing mutually beneficial relationships with his high-level clients.
“My passion is guiding the people I work with become better leaders, build high-performing teams, and achieve more in work and life,” he says.
Doug Haynes’ Executive Advisory Services Achievements
Doug Haynes provides advisory services to public and private enterprise leaders as The Council’s president and Council Advisors’ managing partner. Before founding The Council, Haynes excelled in several high-profile roles. He most recently served as Point72 Asset Management’s president. Prior to that, Haynes served as a senior partner at McKinsey & Company. Joining the firm in 1992, he led its Northeast U.S. region and co-founded its technology-focused services business. Before beginning his 22-year McKinsey & Company career, Haynes worked in software development and design engineering positions.
Making the Transition to Consulting Work
Haynes’ technology background provided a good foundation for his future management consulting work. Graduating summa cum laude from West Virginia University, he earned a mechanical engineering degree. Following graduation, Haynes broadened his technical skill set by working in engineering and software development positions.
Within his first few years after graduation, Haynes began developing a strong interest in the business world. Acting on this interest, he garnered a William M. Shermet Scholarship at the University of Virginia’s Darden Graduate School of Business. He credits this exceptional educational experience for his shift to a management consulting career.
“I can’t say enough good things about the faculty, community, and legacy of Darden,” Haynes emphasizes. “I had never even heard of management consulting until I went to business school. My background was in engineering, mathematics, and computer programming.
“I loved Darden’s case method for teaching and loved the diversity of industries, problems, and ideas that were featured in the cases. By the time I left business school, consulting seemed like the perfect fit.”
Doug Haynes’ Pivotal Career Move Brings Relationships Into Focus
During his 22 years with McKinsey & Company, Haynes worked with diverse executive clients across the globe. Embracing the McKinsey culture, he became an active part of this intellectually stimulating community. Haynes reflects on the benefits he received by building enriching relationships while engaging at a high level.
“Joining McKinsey opened the world to me,” Haynes remarks. “I had the privilege of working with brilliant colleagues on interesting engagements all around the world. McKinsey was a unique community to which I was completely committed. Those 22 years were formative in every way.
“Looking back, I could never have imagined the opportunity to collaborate with such terrific clients and colleagues on such interesting and important work. In some ways, my career has been a random walk, but I would not change a thing. I have learned new things at every step and on each path,” he concludes.
High-Integrity Relationships Make the Defining Difference
Haynes credits his achievements to two guiding principles. He recalls his father’s guidelines that even today provide structure for working with high-integrity people and companies.
“To the extent I have been successful, I would cite two principles — both from my father: 1) Do the work that is in front of you to the best of your ability, every day; and 2) Work with people or organizations that have integrity.
“The first principle helps me remember that quality work is its own reward. It is easy to get ahead of yourself about what you might do in the future. The culture of multitasking makes this even more seductive. The discipline to focus on what you are doing in the moment is more than good practice — it is almost a meditation.
“The second principle is the real key to success because it defines success. You spend the majority of your waking hours working. Doing so with people and organizations that do the right things for the right reasons is success,” Haynes emphasizes.
Placing a High Value on Personal Connections
Haynes readily acknowledges technology advances that enable seamless remote work opportunities. However, he enjoys the personal connection that results from meeting business associates in person.
“I appreciate the technology and changes in work culture that enable work from home, but I am ‘old school’ in my preferences. I love meeting with people in person, working over meals, and enjoying the personal relationships that form through informal interaction,” Haynes remarks.
As the COVID-19 pandemic’s workplace impacts continue to lessen, Haynes speculates on how this global disruption will affect future workplace dynamics. He’s hopeful business leaders will place a new emphasis on human interaction and quality person-to-person communication.
“I hope that face-to-face gatherings will be treated as special times when we put away our devices and really engage with one another,” he says. “I hope that talent development, mentoring, and personal connections are differentiators for firms that really value people. I hope that the pandemic puts an end to the scourge of the cubicle!”
Doug Haynes Is Enriched by His Nonprofit Contributions
Haynes contributes to several nonprofit organizations. He’s inspired and challenged by the opportunity to use his skills to help enrich others’ lives.
“Becoming involved in not-for-profit organizations was another ‘door’ that opened for me when I left McKinsey … It is a blessing to be able to use some of the skills I have learned in my ‘day jobs’ to give back to others,” he says.
This longtime philanthropist is especially dedicated to three types of nonprofit organizations. He helps further programs that enhance education, assist veterans, and fight poverty.
He currently serves on the boards of directors of Robin Hood Foundation, which strives to alleviate poverty in New York City; Cohen Veterans Network, which provides mental health services for
veterans and their families; and Camp Southern Ground, which delivers life-changing experiences for children with diverse abilities and returning veterans.
Commitment to our Veterans
Doug Haynes gives his time and contributes to organizations that benefit United States veterans. He assisted in launching the Robin Hood Foundation’s Veterans Advisory Board. This entity raised more than $12 million to support returning Iraq and Afghanistan troops. To enable additional support, Haynes partners with New York-based businesses to promote veterans’ job opportunities.
Haynes is a Cohen Veterans Network founding board member. This nonprofit furnishes mental health services to veterans and their families. He also supports Cohen Veterans Bioscience, a nonprofit group that facilitates and funds PTSD and traumatic brain injury (TBI) neurological research.
The Value of Human Interactions and Relationships
Regardless of the industry, satisfying work experiences involve far more than a regular paycheck. Haynes believes meeting people with similar mindsets and who possess commitments to shared goals can be personally as well as professionally rewarding.
In addition, face-to-face interactions enable accurate interpretations of person-to-person dynamics. To illustrate, someone’s tone of voice, speech inflections, and body language can often communicate a message as well as their spoken words.
In contrast, it’s easy to misinterpret a colleague’s or potential business partner’s email or text communications. In certain cases, these misinterpretations can negatively impact or even permanently sour a previously cordial business relationship.
3 Ways To Promote Quality Human Interactions
To benefit from enriching personal interactions, they must become a priority rather than an afterthought. These three strategies can add a new dimension to varied professional and personal interactions.
Make Time for Informal Interactions
Carving out time for coffee breaks and leisurely lunches is as important as attending onsite or virtual meetings. As Haynes notes, interacting with high-integrity colleagues and potential business partners can be a mutually beneficial experience.
Utilize Technology To Enable Human Interactions
Harnessing technology to promote person-to-person experiences is ideal. Where possible, these enjoyable human interactions should replace impersonal technology-based communications such as apps, email, and video calls.
Contribute to Business Colleagues’ Well-Being
Timely professional and personal support can offer real value to business colleagues who need it. Assisting without expectation of personal gain is essential.
The Executive Advisory Industry’s Future
Haynes predicts that enterprise leaders will continue to benefit from executive advisers’ personal, yet impartial, advice. However, he says corporate-level executives are often driven by business models and the mechanics of scaling their companies.
“I believe that objective advice and counsel, particularly for enterprise leaders, has never been more important, or harder to find,” he says. “Leveraged business models and the pursuit of scale are seductive. Many firms have been drawn down a path that treats relationships and trust as a means to an end, fueling a business model.”
The Council’s Doug Haynes says mutually beneficial relationships are the desired goal rather than the means. “We believe that personal relationships and earned trust are the end. I am excited to see how clients are responding to objective, informed, and experienced counsel, delivered personally by senior advisers,” Haynes concludes.