CIA (e)Bulletin/(e)Bulletin de l'ICA
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April 2017

My Top Tips for Success

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By Jim Christie, FCIA

Here are my thoughts on tips to be successful in your life and career. They are not in any particular order, but all of them have been helpful to me.

  • Volunteer: It is a great way to deepen your understanding of issues and learn that there are often numerous perspectives and/or approaches for any problem. As well, serving on task forces and committees significantly broadens your professional network and often helps establish your professional credibility in surprising and unexpected ways.
  • Listen: Perhaps the most important attribute you can bring to any problem is to listen carefully and openly to what others are saying. Sometimes this can be exasperating but you will often glean real insight into issues by being open and carefully weighing other positions.
  • Commitment: Whatever assignments you take on or promises you make, be committed to delivering the best-possible solution.
  • Dedication: Know what you are trying to achieve—not just this week, or this year—and focus on reaching that goal. But don’t be too single-minded. Your goals can and should evolve as you progress through life.
  • Hire strong people: Perhaps the best way to get ahead is to engage the best possible people to work with or for you. Never worry about strong individuals taking your place—that’s really what you want—so you can move on to bigger things.
  • Teamwork: Very few issues are resolved by the work of one individual. Encourage everyone on your team to work as one and to develop the best ideas or solution to your joint problem. Always be sure to give full credit to team members when your team solution finds favour.
  • Delegate: Your team will only grow stronger as members take on additional responsibilities. This also frees you to be looking at the bigger picture continually.
  • Under-promise and over-deliver: Be realistic in setting timetables and deliverables. If the proposed goal or timing is completely unrealistic, say so at the start of the project, rather than make excuses later on.
  • Be nice: Life is a long road. Try not to burn any more bridges than are absolutely necessary as you work and play. Always be polite and acknowledge help or kindness you receive from others. Similarly, always be willing to lend a helping hand or suggestions. Never ask anyone to do something you would not do yourself if the roles were reversed.

Jim Christie, FCIA, served as CIA President in 2011–2012.


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