Learning & Development

Unveiling Eric Miles’ Path to Leadership

The roadmap to becoming a leader goes beyond having technical knowledge. According to Moss Adams CEO Eric Miles, collaboration, care, and vulnerability are required.

CEO Eric Miles couldn’t become the leader he is today without clearing a few hurdles along the way. He explored his 25-plus years at Moss Adams, including his journey to honesty, vulnerability, and investing in those around him, on the Leading the Future of Work podcast.

“Our asset is people,” Eric said about the culture at Moss Adams. “As a professional services firm, our long-term success and sustainability are only achieved when we focus on team satisfaction, development, and support. We want to develop our team to be better today than yesterday, provide a good coaching and apprenticeship model to support the needs of our team, and provide flexibility and a good work-life balance to keep them happy.”


Homegrown Leadership

Eric’s path to CEO began on the football field at Pacific Lutheran University. His experience on the field taught him to work hard and seek the best in others around him, and he carried those lessons to Moss Adams as he worked his way into leadership.

Eric began his career at Moss Adams in 1998. At the time, he focused mostly on perfecting his technical expertise, and “did not take the time to engage or work with people, nor to be a force multiplier.”

It wasn’t until a partner he admired sat him down to discuss his true value that Eric understood he could be more than an individual contributor; he could be a contributor who invests in those around him. The partner reminded Eric of the importance of team collaboration.

From that moment forward, Eric redirected his approach to ensure his colleagues developed their skills in an environment where they could thrive. That meant investing in a work-life balance that aligned with the goals and ambitions of his team members. This approach became his North Star.

“People want flexibility in their lives,” Eric said. “We recognize that people are holistic human beings who have interests and desires outside of work. We need to align what we do here to support their broader desires in life.”

Checking for Blind Spots

Eric also learned the importance of investing in resources to address blind spots in his decision-making. At a point when he was determined to lead a combination pursuit that would help grow the firm, he noticed a few red flags but disregarded them. Within a year the issues became too great to ignore. He had to accept that he made a mistake by disregarding those red flags and took accountability to guide the firm toward a solution.

This experience prompted Eric to reflect on his decision-making, thereby deepening his self-awareness. “We should all be paranoid about our blind spots,” Eric noted.

He’s since developed mechanisms to strengthen his decision-making. Ishikawa diagrams visually present Eric with all the potential factors contributing to an issue, illuminating a clear picture of any given issue. Then, Eric employs the 5 Whys technique—he asks himself “why” five times, which allows him to peel away the layers to find the root of a problem.

These strategies have become pivotal in Eric’s role as CEO and leader of the firm. He’s able to more efficiently navigate around his blind spots, which leads to more well-informed decisions and addresses issues more effectively.

Learning to Pivot

Eric is fueled by curiosity and a mission to lead effectively. He focuses on leading by example in an agile approach to work that allows room for growth.

“Being curious allows you to consider your current trajectory and change directions,” Eric said. “You need to learn to interrogate your thinking and ask questions.”

He added, “It’s freeing to know there’s no such thing as perfect. We are all works in progress, and that’s okay.”

Investing in People

Moss Adams is committed to establishing a workplace where leaders can grow. The firm is dedicated to providing the coaching and the resources needed for people to develop their careers and become leaders at Moss Adams.

Learn more about the career opportunities at Moss Adams on our website.

Go Beyond the Desk

At Moss Adams, we believe in the power of possible to empower our clients and people to pursue success however they define it. Explore stories about our professionals, including their personal achievements, at our Beyond the Desk page.