Do less, care more.

The job of an ethics & compliance officer has peaks and valleys. Times when we love our job and days when we dread walking through the door.

For me, the low points are when I have too much on my plate. Not necessarily in the form of a single big project but rather when I have a few dozen minor initiatives going on all at the same time (on top of a big project!). With so many deadlines looming, I skip over details, I decline meetings I should attend, and my sense of humor goes south. In other words, I stop caring. I get in these situations because I allow good to be the enemy of the best. I say yes to projects with marginal benefits without weighing the opportunity cost. And when that cost manifests itself, it’s usually too late.

I find the greatest job satisfaction when I do less and care more. By “doing less”, I don’t mean a 4-hour work week. I mean having a curated selection of projects allowing me to be focused (AF). Never more than a handful, ideally two or three. By “caring”, I mean having the time to think about the impact I can create, to identify the best ideas to create that impact, to come up with a plan, to execute with focus, and to reflect on the outcome. Caring also means that people come first and that failure is seen as learning.

The next time you find yourself uninspired at work, check to see if perhaps you are caught up in second-tier activities. If so, prioritize your work to maximize your impact through activities you enjoy. You will feel the excitement. You will feel the energy.

You will care.

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