Through the Looking Glass: 3 Questions to Ask Your GRC Partner

GRC Tea Party

Life as a GRC professional can get a bit crazy at times – who do you invite to your “tea party” to make sense of it all?

Dear, dear! How queer everything is to-day! And yesterday things went on just as usual. I wonder if I’ve been changed in the night? Let me think: was I the same when I got up this morning? I almost think I can remember feeling a little different. But if I’m not the same, the next question is, Who in the world am I? Ah, THAT’S the great puzzle!


In 1865, the timeless literary classic Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland emerged from Lewis Carrolls’s desire to delight a young girl with his whimsical stories. The White Rabbit, the Cheshire Cat, the Mad Hatter, the Caterpillar and the Queen of Hearts – just mentioning the names of these rich and endearing characters allows us to picture them in our minds and marvel at their strange and wonderful ways. To quote Alice, forgiving her grammatical incorrectness, “curiouser and curiouser!”

My GRC Reflections
Whenever I think of Alice and the strange characters and situations she encountered, I cannot help but think about the surreal rabbit hole down which my professional life has taken me. I’ve been working in the GRC space in some form for over 15 years, and the main thing I’ve learned is that 15 years does not a career make. I was not one of those people who had it all figured out when they stepped into the working world. The only think I knew when graduating from college with my accounting degree was that, gosh darn it, I didn’t want to be an accountant!  There were many times at the beginning of my career where I felt like someone was handing me a piece of the Caterpillar’s mushroom with a tag that said “Eat Me” and telling me to give it a go. Yet there was always that thought that eating what I was being served would instead shrink me down to the size of a mouse and render me ineffectual. So I followed my own path, choosing to go with the potion that said “Drink Me” and pursue my own mind and heart. Over the last 15 years, I have felt like Alice must have felt wandering through Wonderland. There have been times where I’ve been fascinated, frightened, amazed, confused and delighted, leaving little to no room for any dull moments.

What Do You See in Your Mirror?
You may be having some of the same experiences in your own career as you try to navigate the rich world of GRC. So many interesting players, strange situations and unexpected surprises await professionals brave enough to help organizations navigate this complex landscape! As a GRC professional, you may be faced with situations that are strange, unfamiliar and downright crazy, and you may find yourself lost among the madness. Remember:

Feeling lost in the GRC world is completely and totally normal.

Nobody has all of the right answers, nor should anyone be expected to know it all. Don’t travel this path alone. Find a partner that can guide you and join in your quest for the best solutions. But choosing such a partner can be tricky – do you end up with a wise and thoughtful Cheshire Cat, or are you letting yourself be drawn in by the nonsensical ramblings of a Mad Hatter? Selecting the right partner to help you navigate the madness is essential and should not be taken lightly.

3 Questions to Ask
So where do you turn for help? How do you discern the Hatters from the Cats? While this list is not exhaustive, these questions can help you frame a conversation with a prospective partner for your journey into GRC:

  1. How many times have you done this before? If you are embarking on a tour in a foreign destination, you want to be walking with someone who’s been there before, who understands what you’re dealing with, who’s proven himself/herself willing and able to navigate the routes in the way that makes the most sense for you.
  2. What have been the most challenging GRC problems you’ve encountered? With GRC, you need a partner that has experienced that same craziness and uncertainty that you’re facing, one that doesn’t treat symptoms but rather solves problems. The more familiar someone is with the unexpected surprises encountered in this field, the better that person can help guide you.
  3. Will you tell me no? It’s easy for consultants to walk away from failed engagements blaming the client for all of the bad decisions. However, in a true partnership, both parties have a stake in the outcome. You need a partner that will push back appropriately if you are about to go down a rabbit hole.

At OrangePoint, we’ve all been through the looking glass; we know what awaits you on the other side, and we know what it takes to make your way through unscathed and with your head still firmly in place. We invite you to keep coming back to our blog over the next few months as we unpack some of the challenges facing today’s GRC professionals.

–Jason Rohlf, OrangePoint

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