What I’ve learned through the challenges of 2020 has been...
When I look back on this year, I want to make sure I remember that in spite of the disruption to everyday life, there was an air of innovation and possibility.
2020 has been the “great revealer.” 2020 has shown up as gaps in our understanding of the world and of human behavior, but it has also shown us these great attributes of resilience, perseverance, character of integrity and forced us to have a laser-like focus on what our true priorities are both personally and professionally.
2020 also required us to take a long look in the mirror about how professionals in the compliance and risk space are faring from a well-being perspective. This year forces the conversation about what work might look like for decades to come and what compliance might look like going forward.
So what do these themes look like in action?
Resilience: Psychologists define resilience as the process of adaptive behavior in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats or other sources of stress. There have been so many sources of trauma, threat and stress in 2020 that it is almost not possible to count the ways that we have been pushed both personally and professionally. What has been truly remarkable is how compliance and ethics professionals have adapted, found ways to cope and encourage others to do so too.
Our work to drive values-based decisions is seated in deep meaning. This meaning serves as a beacon for everyone during trying times.
Perseverance: Being steadfast in service of others is how compliance and ethics professionals have continued with their plans despite difficulty or delay in achieving goals. By keeping long-term objectives and a clear remit at the fore, compliance and risk professionals have been a calming and clear point of support for the business.
Character of integrity: The character traits associated with integrity have been on display during this time. Those who are gracious, trustworthy, hardworking and honest are worth their weight in gold. Compliance and ethics professionals have seen the good, the bad and the ugly. They are ambassadors for the characteristics of integrity that are highly prized in difficult times.
Priorities: During the course of a corporate life, it is often easy to get lulled into complacency and not take as critical an eye to the priorities. When there is a significant disruption, priorities are re-evaluated. Usually, disruption happens in one domain, but in 2020, there was disruption in every domain; personal, professional, political, health, community, etc.
Because of the holistic disruption, we all needed to re-prioritize in multiple areas to identify how we choose to move forward based on our own priorities.
Well-being: Historically, there was not sufficient attention paid to the mental and emotional well-being of compliance and risk professionals. Carrying the load of being a standard-bearer for values and compliance with the law is often isolating and taxing. Because so many people are struggling, there is finally a true platform to talk about the challenges and opportunities to improve mental health and well-being for our profession.
My hope is that we leave 2020 with a clearer vision of who we are, what we do, why we do things, where we are going and how we will create a better future based on what we learned.