Author: Ilya Kreynin (2018)
Over the past 2 years, I’ve had the opportunity to intern with 4 different companies, one of them being TPG. All 4 placements were enjoyable and taught me a lot, as all of them are companies with great leaders in their fields as well as great employers. However, despite being by far the smallest of the 4, TPG has uniquely contributed to my personal and professional growth. While it’s hard to fully describe what made these 8 months so memorable and valuable, here are 3 factors that in my view distinguish TPG as a singularly great place to work. (That’s me on the left!)
1. Values Applied to Actions
The word ‘values’ is tossed around a lot in business, and with good reason: they are what separates mediocre organizations from good ones, and good from great. Almost every company will tell you that they are values-driven, and successful companies generally are. They will have a mission statement or a charter of values, and those values will be referenced during training/orientation and when discussing high level decisions.
The TPG difference? This company’s values are front and center during day to day decisions. They are discussed during meetings, they influence individual deliverables, are reflected upon after every engagement, and are frequently mentioned and reinforced during all points of problem solving. Work and life at TPG is inextricably linked to these values, and they shine through in both the work and the culture of the company.
This clarity and propensity towards principled action keeps everyone on the same page and builds an extraordinary level of trust; you cannot help but grow when working in such an environment.
2. Honest and Regular Feedback
Every company has its own approach towards performance assessment and professional development, often tailored to the function and position of the specific employee. However, the approach generally boils down to a standardized, regularly recurring assessment of job-related performance from a specific individual (often a coach or a manager). This has its advantages: the employee knows when feedback is to be given and can therefore be open to it, and a regularly recurring meeting can be useful for tracking improvement over time.
The TPG approach may not be for the faint of heart, but it’s dead simple and skyrockets improvement: honest, straightforward, in the moment feedback. This can come from anyone on the team, and can apply to anything from a deliverable, to a meeting, to a client interaction. Rather than relying on one individual for feedback, everyone is encouraged to help each other grow.
While regular feedback can be tough at first, the advantages become clear very quickly: it allows you to course-correct far more often and hone your craft at a much more detailed level. It’s the difference between doing 4 presentations in a month and then being told to “work on your pacing” in the month’s end 1 on 1, versus doing 1 presentation, having 2 teammates let you know how it went and at which points you talked too quickly, adjusting, and rocking the next 3 presentations.
The openness, honesty, and family atmosphere at TPG are not just perks of the job. In very tangible ways, the trust that exists between people at this company enhances growth and contributes to exceptional performance.
3. A True Commitment to Quality
Good companies are committed to quality and doing good work. They serve their clients well and employ effective processes to run and grow their business. However, after reaching a certain size and pace of operation, effectiveness gradually gives way to efficiency. The vital 20% of work is identified and focused on, and the details around it are either standardized into repeatable processes or fall by the wayside. A set standard of work emerges, and performance evaluation leans more heavily towards the quantity of work done at said standard than towards pushing that standard higher.
Even as the ratio of work to employees climbed over my time at TPG, I never once saw a dip in the painstaking level of detail with which the work was done, or a dilution of the values mentioned previously. Going above and beyond for each and every client and project is genuinely the standard here, with the mantra of “is this my best work?” being repeated for all client interactions and deliverables, no matter how small.
This was a hard standard to live up to early on, but above all else I am grateful to everyone at TPG for supporting me in growing to reach this standard rather than lowering the bar due to my being an intern. Learning what it takes to do exceptional work on a regular basis, and getting to practice every day, greatly accelerated my personal and professional growth and made for an experience as one of a kind at TPG.