After nearly 10 years at Oliver Wyman, Niyum now leads a team responsible for the implementation and operations of Mount Sinai’s Health System population health efforts, including contracting, care management, analytics, and clinical program design.
What does a typical day look like for you? What do you most look forward to?
Depending on the day, what I look forward to most varies, but one meeting that I look forward to every week is our weekly executive leadership team meeting. It’s a 90-minute agenda-less meeting that allows our small leadership team to deal with the highest priority issues at the intersection of urgent and important, get on the same page, and problem solve a path forward. It’s a regular reinforcement that we’re truly a team working towards a common goal. The activities of a typical day are pretty much the same for me as they were at Oliver Wyman – back-to-back meetings all day, followed by a dinner meeting many evenings, and then catching up on emails – and flights on Monday AM and Thursday PM (I still live in Chicago and commute to NYC).
How is what you’re doing now similar to what you did at Oliver Wyman? How is it different?
The content is very similar – my team at Mount Sinai is responsible for the same functions that I most regularly consulted on while at Oliver Wyman. The biggest difference is that my team is also responsible for the actual implementation and operations of our population health efforts, so I find that I’m learning a lot from them on the nuances and operational complexities of what we’re trying to achieve. It’s been fascinating and humbling to have a team full of really bright people and know that because of their depth of content knowledge in their specific areas (contracting, care management, analytics, clinical program design, etc.), there’s no way I’d be qualified to do their jobs!
What skills did you acquire at Oliver Wyman that have helped you throughout your career?
The most important skill I learned at Oliver Wyman was how to quickly assess and understand people’s motivations and drivers, and then modulate my engagement of them accordingly. Consulting is not at all an ideas business – it’s a people business. And since our only way as consultants to have an impact was to influence our clients to take (or not take) action, I believe Oliver Wyman helps consultants build a toolkit of influence tactics and trains them to identify which ones to use in which situations with which people. Some people want to be involved early and often; some just want to be told how they can help; some respond best to ideas that come from their boss; some respond best when ideas come from their most trusted employees; and so on. At Oliver Wyman, we practiced identifying these dynamics and acting accordingly all the time in selling and executing our work, and the same skills help me get my current work done much more efficiently and effectively, because every business is just as much of a people business and consulting is.
What do you miss most from your OW days?
This may sounds cliché, but I miss the people. I really enjoy working with my current colleagues; however, there’s an energy embedded within the culture of Oliver Wyman that I think is at least in part driven by the repeated influx of a new group of highly motivated and incredibly intelligent people every year to keep the rest of us on our toes – and I miss that. Plus, many of my closest friends are my former colleagues from Oliver Wyman.