I get this question all the time, and I know I am not alone.
In my case, I’m a CPA, but I don’t do CPA work…
I’m a senior business executive, but I chose to leave industry in 2008…
I have a passion for technology, thinking differently, and getting better, so that is where I focus.
Let’s Start With What I Actually Do…
Most of my time is spent on:
- Developing a culture and mindset that is relevant to today’s business environment — data driven, mobile and digital,
- Leverageing organizational data to develop and create visibility to drive business insights and operational perspective that may not have existed before.
- Challenging the existing environment,
- Listening and brainstorming opportunities for improving operational effectiveness,
- Educating on new technologies and gaining an understanding of the benefit on the other side when you cross that “chasm”,
- Making sure there are defined, time specific goals and measurable results,
- Making sure there is accountability to commitments made,
- Maximizing knowledge and skills around use of a professional’s EXISTING tools (MS Office, email, cloud, etc.)
- Continuous learning for overall skills development,
- Mentoring professionals, and much more…
That’s a lot of words, and generally too much to digest.
So, I concluded that the best way to describe what I do is:
“I create tension”
But that’s tension in positive way. As Seth Godin stated in one of his blog posts:
“Effective teachers have the courage to create tension. And adult learners on their way to leveling up actively seek out this tension, because it works. It pushes us over the chasm to the other side.”
Why is there tension?
- It’s uncomfortable (but rewarding),
- It’s uncertain (will it work, will I benefit, do I need it..)
- It’s commitment
- I might fail (that’s not a bad thing!)
- The payoff is not guaranteed
- I might look “dumb” (no such thing…)
- Largely, it’s change and we are “out of our element”
Seth Godin Put This Into Perspective For Me
I am an avid reader of Seth Godin — his blog and his books. They make me think. I don’t always agree, but they make me think, and I love that!
This post — “Tension vs Fear” — especially resonated with me.
A few highlights that hit me.
“But when we try to learn something on our own, we often get stuck.
It’s not because of fear, it’s because of tension.
The tension we face any time we’re about to cross a threshold. The tension of this might work vs. this might not work. The tension of if I learn this, will I like who I become?”
As Seth points out, we SEEK OUT certain kinds of tension.
“As adults, we willingly expose ourselves to the tension of a great jazz concert, or a baseball game or a thrilling movie.”
Unless we feel threatened, in which case most of us tend to shy away…
“But, mostly because we’ve been indoctrinated by fear, we hesitate when we have the opportunity to learn something new on our way to becoming the person we seek to be.”
I realized while reading this that I actually ENJOY the exploration of new things and ideas, the process of learning and I embrace tension! Yes, it’s challenging. Yes, it’s difficult. But the payoff is well worth it!
“I create tension”
So that’s it, three words to describe “what I do”.