Sarah McEneaney is a Partner and the Digital Talent Leader for PwC across the US and Mexico. A member of the People Leadership Team, she is responsible for enabling success across all talent elements of PwC's digital transformation priorities. Sarah sits down with Butch Jerinic, a Second City Works Designer and Facilitator, to discuss infinite learning, the Digital Accelerator program, and using improv as a lens to practice the human-centered skills centered around the change strategy at PwC.
Talk to us about human-centered skills for digital
"So we [PwC] have a view that a lot of the change that's underway in the world is spoken about from the lens of technology. But what we think is much more important for people in organizations to understand is that humans power all of this change. So technology is at the center of it and it enables it, but it needs to be paired with skills that make humans bring all of these insights to life. And the principles of improv and the principles of innovation are very much the same...working as an equal ensemble, building on each other's ideas, making sure that you don't let mistakes set you back and actually see them as opportunities. All of those things are very much at the center of the human piece of technology change."
You often talk about continued learning. How do you describe your theory on continued learning?
“We call it infinite learning, meaning that it's kind of boundless in terms of its possibilities, but it's this concept of lifelong learning. People should remain curious. There's nothing you can learn in a formal episodic experience of learning at some point in your life and be prepared for every future that might come your way. So we very much expect our people to invest in themselves and in others through learning for their career with us and hopefully after they leave us.”
What was one thing that most surprised you about some of the learning you've done that supports infinite learning and why you're such a big believer?
"I've had the privilege of working with thousands of people over my career, and I've consistently found that the people who are curious and who make the effort to invest in themselves regardless of what their technical domains are, are just different types of leaders. They solve problems differently, they lead differently, they coach others differently. And I'm just a nerd myself. So I'm continuously taking classes on whatever it might be. I've gotten really into storytelling as a domain itself, and storytelling is something we expect a lot of at PwC and where we're increasingly going to do so as a skill."
What do you think the value is of thinking about how to craft your story and engage your audiences?
"We've found a huge upside of teaching people data visualization and data story skills at PwC because they often have an audience who doesn't understand data or who may not be a numbers person. And it creates a shared language about what each party cares about and focuses the data and the insights around that...I think a lot of people who work in our world who are accountants or consultants feel like they have to have an answer. It forces you to listen. Showing someone data and actually watching how they react to it and understanding where they go with it helps you answer the question based on the solution they're looking for."