Thoughts on the Importance of Time, Context, and Resilience: A New Year's Note to My Team​​

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Good morning everyone. I've been sending you updates on changes to the organization as I get them. I find one of the benefits of being in internal audit is the amount of corporate "stuff" we are informed on, often before others at lower levels in the hierarchy are in the know. At any rate, I find this to be a benefit. While some surprises are good (presents!), in general corporate surprises are to be avoided.

Now let me add in context. Why are changes made and how should we interpret them? Everyone wants to know how change will impact them personally: What's next? And this is where resilience comes in, and the absolute imperative to manage your time and energy. 

Organizational change happens everywhere — in good times and in harder times. People decide they need to accelerate their careers by taking a new path. Or they decide they prefer a different corporate culture. Or the corporate culture rejects them. Or … well there are thousands of good reasons for change. The constant is the need for resilience. How do you react to organizational change? This is an aptitude — it's called change agility. And the ability to absorb shifts in strategy, organization, job responsibility, and team structure is key to maintaining balance and moving forward, to getting ahead.

The Greek philosopher Theophrastus said, "Time is the most valuable thing a man can spend." As we go through the annual performance evaluation process, leaders "calibrate" the performance and leadership qualities of employees throughout the company. A few things have become clear to me.

One, there is no perfect set of experiences to get you to the top, but it is absolutely your own job to ensure that you get enough of the right kinds of experience to position yourself for success. How do you know which are the right set of experiences? Ask someone who's made it to the place you've targeted.

Second, people can lose sight of the fact that they are being evaluated for fit and effectiveness continually. It's easy to forget as we plod on with the day to day that people are observing, reflecting, deliberating, and measuring our abilities and trajectory. It's a really good idea to have a read on the content of those deliberations as often as you can. (More directly: Get feedback and take it to heart.)

And third, sometimes you have to take a leap of faith that with the right coaching and mentoring, people can rise to the occasion and be the leaders we need them to be.

We all have a role to play in building our careers — that's the long game. But don't forget that the long game is composed of the things you do every day. How you spend your energy and time matters. As we begin 2015, make this the year that you reflect every day on where you want to be by Dec. 31 and whether you have the support of your peers and leaders to get there. It's just a fact — they are scouting you every day.

Best,

cds

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