Reflections on the rebound
Recently, I was asked to provide some perspective on my return to full-time at IA, as more and more employees are returning – or thinking about returning – to organizations they had previously left.
Where do I begin? See, I’m not a boomerang in the traditional sense because I was still on the board of directors of IA during the two years I was gone. Even though Mark, Kimberly and I would meet every week to discuss the business, and I was aware generally of changes as they occurred, our conversations were often at the cliché fifty-thousand foot view. That was the right level of engagement for me given my full-time employment, but at that time I didn’t fully appreciate the impacts of the decisions I helped make. The burden of execution rested with others as I went back to my day job. One would think that coming back to a familiar place with ongoing contact would be a simple transition, but I’m here to tell you that my return was not without the proverbial learning curve.
First of all, I returned to IA in a different capacity. Before the pandemic, I worked full-time as a managing principal running our technology group. We were working to create some exciting new offerings to increase our internal efficiency, which in turn would have allowed us to increase the number of clients that we could service. It was great…and then the pandemic hit. Not knowing what the future held, we had to make the difficult decision to focus on IA’s core advisory business as the best choice for the company at that time.
I’m of the mindset that when one door closes another one opens and that’s exactly what happened. I landed a role running a shared services organization. As the owner of several functions including HR and recruiting, I became intimately familiar with the issues plaguing these areas within a high-growth technology provider. It was an eye-opening experience to say the least, and one that led me right back to IA. Currently, I’m a principal advisor applying all of those lessons to client organizations who are struggling with the same issues that I did running shared services. I’ve gained an entirely new perspective that allowed for me to make the switch from a technology-centric role to one that supports the entire HR spectrum.
To say that I didn’t miss the team during my time away would be a gross misrepresentation of my feelings. While I still had access to all the systems and could reach out whenever I wanted, it wasn’t something I did naturally. At the time, I thought it was because I knew that everyone was busy and we didn’t really have a reason to talk. Or, as there were new people on board, I did not want to confuse them by hanging around. In hindsight, that was a mistake on my part. At IA we’re a family, and just because I was a little distanced doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t have made the effort to keep in touch with those that were still there. The great news is that now that I’m back, we all talk quite frequently and it’s like we didn’t miss a beat. Additionally, I am getting to know the new people who have joined the team and they are fantastic. IA truly has some great people with a tremendous amount of knowledge and experience. I am glad to be part of the happy band of misfits once again.
On to the part that I struggled with the most. While things are the same, everything also changed. Let me explain. Tools we were using before evolved into to new and improved tools. There are new locations to find information. Processes we were using before had been optimized, changed, or dropped. The IA way of working changed – and I have had to change with it. While I knew the high-level of changes that had occurred, it was now time to focus on the details and we all know the devil is always in the details. At IA we try to practice what we preach to our customers, which means we are always looking at our processes and adapting them to our current reality or our future state vision.
And let’s not forget that I am now functioning in a new role. No longer am I the “tech guy;” I am now in front of clients, helping them through some of their more difficult transformations. Thankfully, I am now in a position where I can influence change across many clients, and it pleases me to see the clients take our advice. Especially when the change is for the better and they have been paralyzed for far too long.
So, I am back! I am excited, proud, and happy to be part of our IA family and I am looking forward to making our clients better for many years to come.