Last time I checked, if you survey a group of students the phrase “GRC Professional” will NOT be on the list of careers kids dream of. In classrooms across world, kids see pictures of doctors, nurses, firefighters, police officers and even chefs partnered with the phrase “what do you want to be when you grow up?” (It probably helps that these jobs have colorful costumes and hats.) These posters are meant to be benign inspirations for kids to start uncovering their passions, but they also shape our worldview for what an exciting and fulfilling profession is.
While a photo of a “generic, white-collar professional” may not inspire the next generation of our workforce, a few stories and excerpts from my time as a Governance, Risk and Compliance (GRC) consultant can go a long in way in encouraging talented youngsters to consider what this field has to offer. I won’t bore you with topics such as policy authoring, risk mitigation tactics or comprehensive compliance solutions (at least not this week); today I thought I’d write a more light-hearted blog post about living a day in the role of a GRC consultant with the help of the incredibly wise, Dr. Seuss!
Engage with a Wide Range of Businesses
You’re off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting,
So… get on your way!
— Dr. Seuss, Oh the Places You’ll Go!
As many of you know, or have learned in reading our blog, the GRC industry can be incredibly complex to the outsider. When we don’t watch ourselves, we speak in jargon and cryptic phrases that cause the eyes of passersby to glaze over. In my mind, GRC has always been the fancy acronym that defined the foundation of how all organizations operate, from large corporations to small local businesses. Each type of mountain (small business or corporation) has its own unique challenges and its own unique rewards. At the core of the mountain are the processes that define what type of rocks make up the mountain. To begin scaling your peak, the first thing you have to do is go to the mountain – it’s not coming to you. Every climber has the responsibility to diligently study his/her mountain, and every consultant must invest time to study his/her client. For those with a passion to learn new things, new perspectives and new approaches to doing things, GRC allows a professional the chance to experience a wide variety of businesses and management styles.
Broaden Your Professional Network
Oh the places you’ll go! There is fun to be done!
There are points to be scored. There are games to be won.
And the magical things you can do with that ball
will make you the winning-est winner of all.
— Dr. Seuss, Oh, the Places You’ll Go!
Trust isn’t built in the boardroom and it’s not earned through a slick PowerPoint presentation. Nurturing and building trusted relationships is cornerstone to achieving your objectives. Often, the best way to foster stronger relationships with a client is to get out of the office and have a little fun. As a travelling consultant, you have the opportunity to be a willing partner for the clients’ perspectives of their home city. Don’t end every day under a mountain of paperwork in your hotel room. Venture out with you clients and take in dinner at their favorite restaurant, tour a famous attraction or attend a sporting event. Whether it’s going sailboat racing in Los Angeles, biking in the Australian wilderness,or simply catching a game of a local sports team, the traveling always keeps things interesting. The most fulfilling aspect of this line of work has been the relationships we’re able to build and grow along the way. Each and every client is a new opportunity to expand our own social and professional networks and many of my former clients are great friends to this day.
Tackle Challenging, but Rewarding Problems
And when you’re alone there’s a very good chance
you’ll meet things that scare you right out of your pants.
There are some, down the road between hither and yon,
that can scare you so much you won’t want to go on.
— Dr. Seuss, Oh, the Places You’ll Go!
Unfortunately, things aren’t always as exciting as I’ve described above. Sometimes there are clients in less exciting parts of the world, sometimes there are projects that are overly complex (or not well defined), and sometimes there are stakeholders who are just difficult to work with (see OrangePoint’s previous blog post entitled, Good Grief: Dealing with 5 Personalities You Meet in GRC). You’ll probably even encounter a spreadsheet so terrifying you’re afraid to download it on to your laptop or a process so convoluted it takes a team of eight people to fully explain it to you and a whiteboard diagram that looks more like a Rube Goldberg device than a workflow. I won’t lie; the first few hours, or days, of facing a hornets nest of complexity can be scary. Yet, when we take a deep breath, sit down and begin unraveling the smaller elements, things gradually start to come together. Perseverance and patience are the key to surviving the trials of GRC. The more challenging the project, the more satisfaction you get when you come out successful on the other side.
Remember, always keep a positive attitude. (Reading a little bit of Dr. Seuss helps too!)
–Nick Butcher, OrangePoint