Forget Resolutions - Create a Theme
At the start of each new year, we feel compelled to make a resolution to change some aspect of ourselves. Most of us will break that resolution within a few weeks. So this year, lets forget about the resolution and create a theme about what we want to focus on over the year.
Resolutions are specific and easy to break. Themes however are broad ideas that tells an over arching story or message that can focus and unify our focus. We may not always achieve our theme but that does not stop us from continuing to pursue it. Examples of themes: "No Worries, Be Happy", "Be Healthy", "Learn More", or "Re-use and Recycle".
Creating a theme can also be motivating to our departments or teams at work. Themes for teams could be: "Know the Business", "SMEs are Us", "Value Added" or "Stretch Ourselves". Themes at work can provide focus and/or clarity to our team members on what is important for the continued success of the team.
I have frequently used annual themes in the work place and have had amazing results. One theme I used was "Above and Beyond" to focus my team on going above and beyond what is expected of us by our customers. To constantly reinforce the theme, each month I would recognize team members who most embodied our theme.
Themes are an easy and low cost way to get everyone focused in the same direction.
A former RBIA graduate sent in the following comments:
...the most integral part of designing a control structure where benefits [exceed] cost is by following a streamlined methodology that minimizes the semantic ambiguity so often related to SOX controls. This is tricky though, as very few practitioners have experience doing so...
The key to get the right balance (of controls) is to flow chart the business processes then apply a methodology to the documented processes to assess what the risks really are; otherwise the balance will never be achieved. In addition, if you do not get input from senior management down to the front line staff, you will never get the entire picture...I don't know how many times I've been in joint process flow sessions where senior management hears what the front line employee does and asks "You do that???"
This process allows management to see how their shops truly operate along with its associated risks and efficiencies...
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