If you are ignored by other executives and frustrated getting resources you need, chances are you’re playing at the junior varsity (JV) instead of varsity level. In this episode we’ll explore some questions to ask so you can assess which one you are really playing, and provide some guidance on how you can level-up your playing so you make the varsity team in your organization.

If you’d like to join the webinar Jason mentioned on influence in this episode, you can register at: https://www.bigmarker.com/crisk-academy/Powerful-Everyday-Opportunities-to-Persuade-that-are-Lasting-and-Ethical-Influence-PEOPLE

Get added to the waitlist for when the CAE Forum opens up to new members visit: https://jasonmefford.mykajabi.com/cae-forum-waitlist-page

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The #1 #internalauditpodcast in the world has interviews and discussions (jam sessions) relevant to Chief Audit Executives and professionals in #internalaudit, risk management, and compliance.


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Welcome to another episode of jammin with Jason and this week I just couldn’t resist talking about this topic. And so let me kind of kind of

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Explain a little bit about this because there might be using few terms that some of you are not familiar with. So

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You know, really kind of the topic today is, is your internal audit team playing varsity or junior varsity ball or what we call JV and

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So the reason for that, there’s a couple of reasons. Some things I’ve been thinking about and just kind of this time of the year.

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So here in Southern California actually school has started. Even though it’s early in August. A lot of the school districts have actually started so kids are back at school.

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Which means that they’re also playing sports. So when I was growing up, I actually played sports.

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And in the United States in the high school level. So this is these are kids that are between about the ages of 14 and 18

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In the high school arena, they often will play sports after school. And so in the United States. There’s kind of the top level team and a high school is called varsity

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And so usually kids that are playing varsity are going to be juniors or seniors in high school, sometimes not until they’re seniors until they’re good enough for it.

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But it’s really kind of the elite and kind of top level team in any high school. So they go and play other high schools. This could be volleyball, softball football, baseball

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Basketball in the any of these different sports are like with me. I actually ran track and cross country which is a long distance running

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So, you know, as, as a kid, and in high school, you always if you’re an athlete you always want to be on the varsity team.

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Because the varsity is just kind of seen as being the best. And if you don’t get to play varsity then you play the next level down, which is called junior varsity

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Okay, so, so that’s a little bit kind of about the the the background on what I’m referring to when I’m talking about playing varsity or playing junior varsity

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So as I said, since varsity is kind of, you know, the top level. That’s where a lot of high school students want to play.

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In fact, if they’re going to go on and play sport in college, they need to be able to play the varsity level sport.

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So what does this have to do with internal audit. Some of you might be thinking, right. So again, since school is just started and I’m thinking about that football season has just started again.

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Here in the US, it got me thinking a little bit about sports reflecting a little bit on my, you know, short lived very short lived career as a HIGH SCHOOL ATHLETE.

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And how that actually relates to us in the business world.

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Now I actually had a discussion. A few months ago with a chief audit executive and I was doing some coaching with him because he wasn’t really getting

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Some of the support and things that he wanted to see in his career, he wasn’t really kind of moving up in the organization.

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He wasn’t getting the resources that we need and felt like he was kind of getting ignored and as we started talking about it and kind of going through this one of

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The spots or topics came up to where he actually made the comment. You know, I want to play varsity

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You know, be a varsity player, but I’m not being seen that way by others in my organization.

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And so like I said I was thinking about that again and wanted to try to provide and talk a little bit today about some ways that as internal audit. We can be viewed

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As varsity level in our organization, you know, because I get a lot of you are feeling kind of frustrated

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Because often, you may be ignored by other executives in your organization, you don’t feel like you get the support that you want.

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People don’t seem to, you know, see the value that you’re providing. And so, you know, just like me as a as a as a student athlete, you know, as I was growing

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Up in in developing into an athlete. I wanted to play varsity I wanted to get to that next level and it takes work to get to that next level.

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And so I like I said, I hear this from from lots of different people and in varying ways. So I thought today would be a good time for us to actually

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Talk more about this. So what I’m going to do is go through and actually give you some different questions. I’m going to pose some questions to you.

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And depending on how you answer these will help you to know whether you’re playing varsity level in your organization or if you’re seeing as like the little kids playing junior varsity

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Now sometimes and and again I’m gonna I’m gonna be a little frank with you today. And maybe say some things that you need to hear that’s not necessarily what you want to hear.

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But, you know, if you want to. If you want to play varsity sometimes you got to have a little tough coaching. And so that’s what we’re going to, we’re going to talk about

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Today. So the first question that I kind of wanted to get in with you in pose out there is

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Does everyone on your audit committee and your executive team know who you are. And do you know them. Okay. So that’s kind of the first question to start with.

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Do they actually recognize you. Do they know your name. If the answer is no. You’re probably playing junior varsity

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Now, they may know who you are. But do you know them and I’m not meaning just you know their name and their title, but do you actually know them.

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Have you developed a relationship with them so that you’ve actually made that connection with them in the organization. If the answer is no. You’re probably playing junior varsity

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So what do we do, because I’m going to give you, like I said, I’m going to give you a kind of a question and then I’m going to give you

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Some suggestions for how you can improve what you’re doing. So if they don’t know who you are and you don’t know them really

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It’s time for you to take the initiative and get to know them better and actually think about and use the principles of influence.

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Now I’ve talked about those principles before you know that in order to build relationships. People have to like you, or there’s some element of liking that goes along with that.

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There’s the element of reciprocity that you actually have to provide value or service to them and then they will want to provide value or service to you. That’s how relationships grow.

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Under the concept of influence. You know, if you’re trying to help people overcome objections, you know, getting some sort of consensus from them little small yeses along the way. Excuse me.

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And establishing yourself as an authority now authority here does not mean degrees and certifications. So just because you have degrees and certifications doesn’t mean somebody’s going to believe that you have authority.

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It’s going to be more in the way that you actually show them and provide value with them.

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And then the last two kind of relates to consistency, you know, the fact that you’re showing up consistency and consistently and also that there is an element of scarcity with it.

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Now, like I said, I’ve talked about that quite a few times. In fact, I’ve had Brian a Hearn on the podcast before

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And coming up actually later in August. I’m doing an another discussion with Brian about influence. So if that’s an area where you feel like you need some help.

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Make sure to check out and join in on that webinar. It’s free. It’s through see risk Academy and you can find that, and I’ll try to leave a link to that down in the notes as well. Now the second question for you to ask him to think about

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Do you lean into difficult conversations. Hmm, okay. Now I know as humans, none of us really like difficult conversations we are averse to conflict usually

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But when we need to have difficult conversations. Do we actually lean into them and have those difficult conversations

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And again, if the answer is no. If you’re trying to avoid those conversations. If you’re trying to hide and not be there.

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You’re probably playing junior varsity you’re not playing as a varsity executive because here’s the reality executives are comfortable having uncomfortable discussions.

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So if you are uncomfortable having uncomfortable discussions, of course, you’re not going to be at the same level as some of the other executives in your organization.

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So what do you need to do you need to develop that executive presence, you need to start showing up as a varsity executive and one of the things that they do.

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Is they are comfortable having uncomfortable discussions. Now they don’t like having them either. But they’ve learned how to have difficult conversations without destroying their relationship.

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And so that, again, is one of the things that if you’re not doing that now you need to learn how to do that.

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And I get it. This is not something that you learn. Usually, you know, from going to a training course.

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It’s something that requires practice and and learning about psychology, usually a lot of times, this comes from coaching from executive coaching and from talking and working with mentors.

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To be able to help you learn how to do that because like I said it’s not human nature for us to to be comfortable doing that we’d prefer to back away. But if we really want to be an executive, you have to lean into having those uncomfortable conversations

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Okay, the next one. The next question for you to think about, are you more worried about completing the audit according to II standards or building relationships and helping others in your organization.

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Now I know a lot of times you know we pride ourselves on being professionals and and the standards of the AIA are important for us in order to be able to do a quality audit right that

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That is something that would withstand a peer review, but if you’re more concerned about actually dotting the i’s and crossing the T’s on all the standards.

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And standing up and trying to tell people, nope. This is the way I have to do it. And this is what’s what’s important, that I know better than you.

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Chances are, if that’s the kind of person that you are. You’re also going to be seen as playing junior varsity

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Okay, if you’re more concerned about form over substance. If you’re more concerned about, you know, ticking and tying and having the perfect set of work papers.

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You’re probably not focusing on what’s most important. And so instead what we should be doing is focusing first on helping others look good.

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And make their job easier now let me let me get into that a little bit more sometimes auditors feel like they’re the police or the gotcha, guys.

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And and sometimes I’ll even hear them say, Look, I don’t want others in the organization to think that I’m the police or somebody who’s coming to get them in trouble.

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Well, if that’s the case, if you don’t want people to see you that way.

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Then don’t do that. Okay, so don’t don’t come in and think, well, in order to do a good audit. I have to find a whole bunch of recommendations and I have to improve the process and make everybody you know do something better.

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If you get too into that often what ends up happening is you make others in the organization look bad, and they feel like you are there to get them in trouble.

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That should not be our primary purpose, our primary purpose should be first focusing on on helping others look good. Okay.

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Did you help others look good. So if there’s now obviously if there’s some problems that need to be fixed, then we have an obligation to talk about that.

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But there’s a lot of different ways that you can deliver the message. And if you can deliver the message in such a way, and help that manager look good to their boss.

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You are developing a relationship there. It’s not about who’s right and who’s wrong but it’s about helping the organization move forward.

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And being able to improve it. And one of the best ways to do that is help others to succeed if you help make other people’s job easier, they will love you and they will bring you into the fold. Okay, so that’s another thing for you to be thinking about

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Another question, right. Are you being ignored by other executives and having difficulty getting resources. Okay, now again how you’re going to answer that. If you’re feeling, you know, ignored and frustrated and not getting the resources that you want.

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Chances are that the others in the organization are viewing you from a junior varsity perspective. Now this even carries back over into the sports arena. Right.

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If you’re playing major league ball. If you are playing varsity you get the best of everything you’re going to have the nicest uniforms, you’re going to have the best buses to travel on

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If you’re not in that group, you get relegated to the old jerseys and the other things like that. So, you know, again, if you want to get to that varsity level.

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You’ve got to do some things different. And if you’re being ignored by people. There’s, there’s probably a couple of reasons that that might be happening.

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The first one is like we talked about before, if they always see you as somebody coming in to get them in trouble.

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They’re probably going to want to ignore you, and stay away from you. Okay, so that’s we talked about that already.

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But another thing is give them a reason to actually listen to you. Okay. Now, one of the best ways to do that is, again, to help them solve their problems.

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Instead of coming in and making more problems and more work for people, let’s figure out how we can make things easier for them.

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And actually show that we are really adding value again I’ve talked about this before, but I think often what we as auditors think is value.

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Is not viewed as value by the executives and we need to be more aligned with providing value to the executives and what they believe is valuable.

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Instead of what we think is valuable because at the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter what we think

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If we’re there to help the organization achieve its objectives, we need to be concerned about what that is and how we can actually help in that regards okay now also and I know kind of in this in this format. It’s a little bit hard to kind of see this but but

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There’s an idea behind. I think a lot of people get the concept of trusted advisor mixed up and they don’t really understand what it truly means to be a trusted advisor.

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Because there’s a combination of both experience and expertise that is important to it, but also the impact and influence that you have as well.

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If you’re very educated. If you’ve got lots of experience, but you don’t know how to influence or provide impact you will never be seen as a trusted advisor, you have to have both.

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And unfortunately, I see most of the time people trying to just, you know, try to do the audit better try to do this better.

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Instead of actually trying to develop the relationships and truly be able to influence and have an impact in the organization.

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And I’ll get into that probably more in a future episode because this is something that I actually feel really strongly about. And something that I’ve seen over and over again, my career is people trying to focus on just one or the other. They will not get to trusted advisor status.

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OK, so the next one for you to be thinking. The next question for you to ask yourself, are you showing up every day as the executive, you want to be.

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So are you showing up every day as the executive, you want to be. So if you are currently not acting the way you think you should, you’re probably playing junior varsity

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If you want to be a varsity player, you have to show up as a varsity player. So what does that mean, well let me again share with you kind of from, you know, as I as I was growing up in my high school

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Sporting career. Right. I looked up to when I was when I was a freshman and sophomore in in high school I looked up to these guys who were the varsity players, they were a year or two ahead of me.

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But, but here. Here was the reality right as a freshman and sophomore, I didn’t make the varsity team. In fact, as a junior

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I didn’t make the varsity team either, right. We had some really actually we had some excellent runners top in the state that we’re in our school. So it was very competitive.

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To be able to get that spot because there were only eight spots on the cross country team for varsity

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So, you know, my freshman year I worked really hard my sophomore year, I worked really hard my junior year I even worked really hard.

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But here’s the deal, right, those other people were putting in more time and effort than I was. And they were better than me.

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If I had put in more of the effort if I had actually showing up. If I’d run and trained as hard as they did.

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Chances are, I might have been able to be one of them out. Now, I still train hard but. Was I acting like a varsity player training like a varsity player.

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Obviously I wasn’t because I didn’t make the team until I finally became a senior and got that through my head that I had to actually show up. I had to practice hard every day.

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I had to think and be like a varsity player. Now I got pretty good at it, at least at that point in my career. So were

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Actually got bronchitis at the state finals. Try cross country, meet my senior year and I was afraid that the coach was going to cut me and not let me actually run

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In the state championship race and I worked and worked and worked and I went to the doctor and I got you know pain meds and everything else that I could do to be able to prove to him.

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That I could still run, even though I had bronchitis. Now I didn’t perform as well as I wanted to in that last match because I was sick.

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But I remember the coach telling me, Don’t worry, I’m effort, you’re running, I can see that you’re actually putting in the effort. And of course, I’m going to let you run

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In the state finals your senior year you’ve put in the work. Okay, unless you’re willing to put in the work and show up every day, you’re not going to get on the varsity team.

00:21:58.290 –> 00:22:09.750
So how does that translate it, what is it that we can do. Well, let me let me share with you a little concept in corporate America for the most part, employees are taught

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That when you have something, then you can do it and then you will become that whatever. Okay, so in corporate America, it’s usually have do and be

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But here’s the reality if you actually want to change and become someone different, you have to flip that around.

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You have to be that person today and do those things that that person would do. And then you can have it.

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And so again, that’s probably kind of a great way to somewhat kind of wrap up what we’re talking about today.

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If you want to be seen as a varsity player in your organization, you have to show up every day and be a varsity player.

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Now, if you’re not exactly sure what that means. Let me know reach out to me, I’ll point you some resources, try to help you out. But you have to be that person and do those things that that person would be

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And when you do that, you will have those things that you want. You’ll get put on the team, you’ll get recognized okay executives will come to you and ask for your help.

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Instead of ignoring you. They will actually seek you out and beg almost for your help with certain things. But again, it’s on you to actually be able to go out and do that.

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So, my friends. That’s kind of my message for this week. I want you all playing varsity level and your organization. And like I said, if you don’t know how to get there.

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You know some things that you can do find a mentor reach out to me and ask, ask for some help, you know, I’m happy to share with you some of the things that others have done.

00:24:12.180 –> 00:24:20.940
But a lot of it because it’s individual, you need to have to kind of understand what you’re going through. And what’s going on at your organization.

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Right. And you need to establish a network and the community to be able to help you do that. And so that’s going to be made up of peers of people like coaches and mentors.

00:24:31.890 –> 00:24:45.420
As well, to be able to help you go along that journey. Now I know some of you that might be executives might be thinking, Are you kidding, I’m an executive. I don’t need any help. To which I say

00:24:46.320 –> 00:24:56.250
Okay, I’ve got a couple of videos and you can find them out online Bill Gates. Okay. You all know who Bill Gates is he says everybody should have a coach.

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Bill Gates has a coach Bill Gates has lots of coaches and another video from Eric Schmidt, who used to be the CEO of Google. And again he said the same thing.

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Everyone should have a coach. And so, especially as you get to that executive level, you really need people in your corner helping you.

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To be able to be able to perform

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At that higher level. In fact, when you think about professional level athletes. They all have coaches, even though they’re at the top of their game.

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They would not be at the top of their game they would not stay at the top of their game if they weren’t getting help. Okay, so those are some things that you can do.

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One of the things, the chief audit executive forum that I run this is one of the things that we actually do in that

00:25:52.470 –> 00:26:05.310
Is help to provide that community and support for people who really want to play at the varsity level. So if that’s something that’s of interest to you just reach out to me and I can kind of give you the details on that.

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Again, my friends, I want you to go out. I want you to be varsity level players put in the work. Do what you need to do and and really

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Start working on it, if that’s really where you want to go. You can get their promise you can get there, but it’s going to take some work.

00:26:24.150 –> 00:26:38.220
To be able to get there, but it is so worth it. Once you get to that point. So with that, I’m going to sign off for this week and have a great week, and I will talk to you on a future episode of Jamel Jason

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