Mary-James (Jami) Young
Senior Counsel, Compliance and Regulatory
When we read about resilience, it’s all about systems and planning. Worry about whether our utility infrastructures are sufficiently resilient, wonder about how to build resilience into our systems. Forgotten in the worry and the wonder is our workforce – the human beings who plan for that system resilience and who must be resilient themselves to make those systems resilient.
Can computers initiate those systems? Yes, if resilient people design and program those computers…. Can our business systems provide their own system diagnoses and direct repairs? Yes, if resilient people design and program those systems to do that.
Beyond the current thinking about grid resilience and overall “system” resilience, nowhere is resilience more important than among compliance professionals. Compliance professionals must become adept at quick assessments and effective solutions to compliance problems. Initially, compliance training might include identifying issues, assessing scope and root cause, and adjusting controls and processes to prevent repeats in future. That kind of training assumes a level of resilience that prepares compliance professionals to power through assessments and analyses to reach solutions while keeping systems up and running. But, that level of resilience must be developed. Compliance work can be a high stress and seemingly thankless endeavor. Resilience training and reinforcement of resilience concepts can ease that stress and reinforce the commitment of compliance professionals to compliance excellence.
STAY STRONG – An acronym to remember ten resilience strategies
So, how do we prepare our workforce to be the resilient people who design and program these resilient systems upon which so much depends and who identify, assess and solve compliance issues? There is no one way to grow resilient workers. There are, however, several aspects of resilience that can be incorporated into how we think about and do our work. These resilience reinforcements are particularly important for compliance professionals facing a compliance issue: We Stay Strong.
S is for Setting and Achieving Goals Consistent with our Values
Commitment to core values and to goals consistent with those values removes a key stressor. When we act in ways consistent with what we believe, and we align our actions with our values, we reduce the internal conflicts that add stress to our work. When we align our goals with our values and then with out actions, we become more resilient.
T is for Taking Charge of Our Response in Any Situation
Bad things happen. Unexpected things happen. Compliance “misses” happen. Often, we cannot control those happenings. What we can control is our response. How we react is up to us. In every situation, we choose how we respond. Every time we respond in a constructive, positive way, we become more resilient.
A is for Always Maintaining Perspective
No wonder the Old Masters struggled so with perspective in their paintings, sculptures, and other works of art. Perspective matters – in art and in work and in life. And, perspective can be a real challenge for us. Understanding context helps us apply perspective to any situation. Recognizing how and why (and how much) an event matters can help us manage how we react to that event. When we understand context and apply perspective, we become more resilient.
Y is for You, Paying Attention in the Moment
You matter. Each of us does. And focusing on the moment matters, too. Our focus in the moment can include paying attention, practicing mindfulness, taking issues as they come, prioritizing as we go, and keeping non-productive activities like worry to a minimum – all of this works to help us become more resilient.
S is for Staying Positive
Glass half full; glass half empty – these are two different perspectives on the same situation. Similarly, whether we look for the “positive” or dwell on the negative is another decision we make, every day, all day. Each of us is beset by negative responses from bosses, colleagues, customers, regulators and the public. We can choose to join the harangue, or we can see the positive in a situation and build our response from there. When we stay positive, those around us tend to stay positive, too. And, we become more resilient.
T is for Thinking Nimbly, and Being Flexible
Thinking outside the box is only the beginning. Thinking all the way around the box, inside, outside, upside down helps us learn to adjust as we work through issues. When we learn to think nimbly, we become more resilient.
R is for Resting and Recreation
Taking time for rest and recreation enhances resilience – with rest we gain perspective, stamina and the ability to meet new challenges. Without rest, we struggle. To give ourselves the best preparation for any adversity, we exercise, and we rest. And, we become more resilient.
O is for Owning our Mistakes and Learning From Them
We are human, each of us, and humans make mistakes. More importantly, we humans have the aptitude to LEARN from our mistakes, if we choose to do so. When we understand the “human factor” and human performance, and how to learn from stumbles, falls and splats, we become more resilient.
N is for Nurturing Self Confidence, in Ourselves and in Others
It’s as simple as reminding ourselves that “We’ve got this” as we work through a challenge. It’s recognizing when we can give our colleagues a boost, and how we can bring out the confidence in our teams. Confidence gives us the extra energy to overcome adversities. When we overcome those adversities, we become more resilient.
G is for Growing Strong Relationships
Some of us are introverts, and some of us are extroverts. Likely, most of us know which we are. Regardless, human connections sustain us, at work and in the rest of our lives. Building the relationships, the teams, that we will need to rely on in difficult situations makes us stronger and more resilient.
Ms. Young is an attorney, strategist, tactician and problem solver who works in the private sector (and who has worked in the public sector and the not for profit sector, as well). In addition to her JD, Ms. Young has earned an LLM in Energy and Environmental Law and an MA in Rhetoric. She currently provides corporate legal, regulatory and compliance support to Vectren Corporation and its four regulated utilities. She can be reached at [email protected]