When immediate past chairman Mike Peppers had to choose his three words for his year of chairman, after his predecessors’ themes Mind the Gap, Invest in Yourself and Audit Never Sleeps, he did not have to think long. The words Purpose, Service and Impact felt of great importance to him. His colleagues agreed, but after some thinking, suggested to use a hashtag. Mike agreed that this was an excellent idea, because what do hashtags do? They connect. Using a hashtag makes you part of a group. Especially in this digital age where you touch your smartphone before you get out of bed. Thus #PurposeServiceImpact was born, with which Mike has made connections all year.
It all starts with #Purpose: you need to feel that you are in the right place. For yourself, for your team, and for your organization. You need to have a personal mission and you need to work on the mission of your organization. As internal auditors, our purpose is to enhance and protect. We want to keep our organization safe and make improvements to make it better.
When you know your purpose, you can start to #Serve. You can put your purpose into action. To serve is to know your company. To know your company is to know the people inside it. To get to know people, you need to develop connections with them. “Ask about the boat.” Start a conversation. Ask something small (about the boat in the picture frame on the desk), learn something new, establish the base of a good working relationship and create that trust. Only then you can really serve.
Dó realize that to serve sometimes requires bravery. You might need to convey tough messages. To share news that will not be well received. News that managers or board members do not want to hear. But integrity and doing the right thing are most important for us as internal auditors. It is the base of our job. Therefor it is smart to serve in areas that matter to you. And not just in your organization, but outside of your regular work as well. For instance as a volunteer. Because when you demonstrate commitment, and receive satisfaction from accomplishment, this will always forward your career, so that you can serve even better.
When the purpose is in the right place, service makes us doing the right things, and then we can start making an #Impact. At the end of the day/audit/job/career/life, when we are reflecting, we want to say that we made an impact, a difference – hopefully a positive impact. Sometimes an impact is immediate and loud, like a bowling ball crashing into the pins. Oftentimes though, impact is not as quick and noisy as a bowling ball, but slow and under the radar, and needs several years to become clear. But when you work with purpose and serve, that impact will come and you will make a difference.