Wisdom From My Corporate Days – Part 1

So I’ve been doing a little excavating lately, shall we say, and thinking about my corporate days.

As a pension benefits consulting actuary for over a decade, I worked alongside high-level executives at my company, as well as the companies of my Fortune 100 clients, including United Airlines, Kraft Foods, Caterpillar, Bank One, Exelon, and Robert Bosch.

My role evolved over the years, and I did a little of everything – project management, people management, client relationship management, and new business development.  

When I think of my corporate days, the first word that comes up for me is appreciation.

I was surrounded by leaders who invested in my professional development and held me to super-high standards.

While I’m not doing asset/liability modeling anymore, the years I spent in corporate provided a solid foundation for me professionally.

Every season serves a purpose.  The path to success is never linear.  Embrace the season you’re in, even if you can’t yet see how it will come into play later.

So next up – wisdom from my corporate days.  Over the next few newsletters, and in no particular order, I’m going to share with you little bits from my corporate days, with the intention that they help you and those around you.

I worked with leaders who set the bar very high, sky-high, in fact, and much of what I lived for over a decade in the corporate world became part of who I am.

Every day, my team and I here at Live Authentically strive to uphold the highest level of service to our clients and incorporate many of the best practices I learned from the best of the best.

So here it goes, a few throwbacks from my corporate days.

Building Relationships, Producing Results

Building relationships, producing results.  This was the company’s tagline, and it really set the tone for how we all showed up.

Focus on relationships first – relationships with colleagues, relationships with clients, and the rest will follow.

Results, value-added results, were a natural extension of the relationship.  Because we partnered with and really understood our clients and their needs on a deeper level, we were committed to delivering beyond-reproach results.

Which leads me to my next piece of wisdom…

Beyond Reproach

My boss, Steve, was very direct in communicating his expectations for the quality of work he wanted.  He held me and my team to a super high standard.

Sloppiness didn’t cut it.  Carelessness wasn’t tolerated.  Whatever was on the page (yes, this was way back in the paper days), we better be able to explain why it was there and why it made sense.

How exactly did we know what he expected?

Well, he told us, and very explicitly: “This work needs to be beyond reproach.”

I must have heard that phrase thousands of times over the course of my career as an actuary, and I can still hear his voice in my head.

Were there ever errors?  

Sure.  Mistakes happen, and that’s to be expected.  Perfection isn’t reasonable or healthy.  But I can say without a doubt that aiming for this standard played a huge role in not only the work but our company’s exceptional reputation out in the world.  

Next up, I’m going to share with you a best practice that helped us produce beyond-reproach results.

Stay tuned for my next article, where we talk about more ways to differentiate yourself.

And in the interim, if you want to chat, you can find me here.