December 18, 2017
At HighPoint, one of the things that sets us apart is our approach to client engagement. Because business leaders face complex challenges that defy short-term solutions, our partnerships deliver lasting results through deep engagements. These partnerships are shaped by our drive to align on the why before executing the how and HighPoint’s Senior Advisors are an integral part of this process. Comprised of former leaders from the world’s top consulting firms, our Senior Advisors are valuable resources for clients, providing thoughtful collaboration and partnership on projects at all stages.
Bob Kaplan is one of our original Senior Advisors. He works in the fields of strategy, organizational structure and processes, and IT. He acts as a counselor and sounding board for CEOs and other senior level executives.
How did your career lead to you this type of work?
I earned a BA in Economics at Yale, an MBA from Stanford, then worked toward a Ph.D. in computers and information systems at Stanford as well. I spent the first part of my career in strategy consulting with BCG, where I was a senior partner and managed the San Francisco office. I then moved to the Silicon Valley Office of McKinsey, also as a senior partner, and was one of the global leaders of the firm’s IT practice.
Following my 25 years BCG and McKinsey, I had a number of line management experiences, including turning around several software startups as acting CEO and board member, plus several hands-on IT positions including as CIO of a major technology-oriented bank. I also served on a private sector advisory board for the CIO of the State of California.
What’s been your proudest professional moment?
A CEO at a major bank had been told by his internal executives that it would take two to three years to design and build a new private bank and wealth management organization. Strategically, this was unacceptable and the CEO asked me to see if it was possible to do it in considerably less time. I handpicked and led a SWAT team of people from the bank and, using a variety of unconventional approaches to systems and processes, was able to get the de novo effort up and running in six months. The private bank has since been extraordinarily successful in attracting clients and assets.
What are you doing when you’re not at work?
I have a “second” career as a musician. I am a drummer in three different groups – one is a rock cover band, the second is a rock, pop and blues band, and the third is an acoustic jazz trio. We play private events in the Bay Area and frequently play at the Stanford Coffee House.
What’s the best advice you’ve gotten?
The best advice I got was while working on an organizational assignment at McKinsey. One of my partners reminded me that great people will make any organization structure work, and that weak leaders will screw up even the “best” structure.
What’s the worst advice you’ve gotten?
Not to buy Bitcoin.