Donna Schneider (firstname.lastname@example.org) is Lifespan Vice President, Corporate Compliance and Internal Audit, Lifespan Compliance & Privacy Officer, Providence, RI.
Let’s face it, typically no one calls the compliance office to check in or report good news. We are most likely contacted when our workforce has a question or concern regarding what they perceive to be a compliance and/or privacy issue—or we need to reach out for the same reason. It is for that basic tenant, coupled with COVID-19, that I decided to share a daily message of positivity and self-growth with my staff every day in an email, video, cartoon, or drawing.
The inspiration for this began about two years ago when my husband introduced me to an author, Jon Gordon, who has written numerous books on positivity and team dynamics. My husband did a book club with his high-school girls’ lacrosse team using one of Gordon’s books, and that year his team won the Connecticut High School Girls Lacrosse Championship for their division. I began to think, if this worked for a lacrosse team, why can’t these messages work for my compliance team?
The idea was born; I bought a copy of Gordon’s book, called The Energy Bus, for each person in the department. We had gone through a leadership change on the team—I became the new leader—and we had outsourced our internal audit function. That was a lot of change for long-tenured staff to undergo. So, this book was crucial in teaching lessons of autonomy, understanding, and team dynamics in a way the team could rally around.
I shared Gordon’s message with my boss, the system president and CEO. He loved it. He has since embraced this message wholeheartedly and even did a video for our healthcare system with Jon Gordon during the pandemic. Additionally, he also shares a weekly passage from one of Jon’s books as he closes his weekly video to our healthcare system workforce.
How positivity can add a new dimension to our work
In the world of compliance and privacy, we sometimes get frustrated, beat down, and feel undervalued. Reading about taking a different approach to the challenges we face (e.g., professionally, with a different framework, in terms of what you get to do each day and how you can take ownership for the circumstances at work which you can control) in The Energy Bus was empowering. To me, the most inspiring message I try to instill daily is that the best is yet to come. Thinking that there are exciting opportunities in our future that we do not even know about yet, which will inspire us, enlighten us, and make us happy, gives a goal to each day. When you are in the thick of a difficult investigation, conversation, or compliance issue, it is comforting to know that better experiences await.
This is not a Pollyanna outlook that life is filled with rainbows and lollipops, rather a mindset that with a framework to believe in yourself, enjoy the ups, and learn from the downs, there is personal growth. I would encourage every leader to look at a positive mindset when communicating with their staff.
As most teams did, starting in March, my team worked remotely for four months during the COVID-19 pandemic. Recently, I brought back parts of my team on different days in order to enhance social distancing and ensure personal safety. That said, working remotely or even partially remotely has been a learning experience for me and all of my team members.