Alumni Spotlight - David Holroyd

Finance & MBA alum believes in change

David Holroyd is involved in change management for Raymond James.

David Holroyd

There are two sides of the human personality that need to be appealed to when trying to make a change: one is an emotional, intuitive elephant, and the other is the logical, methodical rider.

That's what David Holroyd, a Raymond James process improvement consultant and recent MBA graduate, told current MBA students in a Lean Six Sigma class taught by ISDS Professor Ron Satterfield. Referencing the book "Switch: How To Change Things When Change Is Hard," he explained that all change, whether personal or corporate, needs to appeal to both the rider and elephant for the change to take root.

"If you have a good idea and you want someone to use your idea, your first instinct is to explain it to them," Holroyd said. "If they resist you, you try to explain it again. But that's not really how it works."

Holroyd outlined the steps for effective change management: direct the rider, motivate the elephant, and shape the path to provide clear direction. Change management, he said, is about tapping into people's rational and emotional responses.

He told the MBA students that despite knowing these things, no change he had ever implemented had gone perfectly. Sometimes the process improvement team failed to sufficiently explain the change in a logical manner; other times, they failed to get people emotionally invested in the change they were trying to implement.

Holroyd also encouraged students to have a growth mindset and believe that people were capable of change. Optimism, he said, is the first step toward making a change successful. Society has conditioned us to believe that changing behavior or habits becomes impossible at a certain age, but that is not the case, he said.

"Nobody laughs at babies and says, 'you're so dumb, you're no good at math,'" Holroyd said, to laughter from the classroom. "But it's equally ridiculous to tell a 13-year-old that."

Holroyd said his career at Raymond James is his dream job because, in process improvement, he is constantly reminded that he is making a difference, unit by unit. He credits USF for allowing him to rise to his position at Raymond James fairly quickly.

When Holroyd graduated with his undergraduate finance degree in 2007, he started as an intern at Raymond James in IT. He said the mentoring and advice he received from other students in the professional business fraternity Alpha Kappa Psi helped him avoid pitfalls.

"My brothers sat me down and said, 'this is why you don't interrupt people, and this is what it looks like when you come in late,'" he said. "When you start out in business, you're a kid. You don't know what mistakes you're about to make."

Holroyd said those experiences, along with his MBA, have helped him succeed in the corporate world, and help others succeed along the way.

"I love being able to make a difference," he said. "In process improvement, we are coming up with new ideas that get implemented, and are able to combine our skills to change a unit for the better."