Magazine article American Banker

BITS Chief Encourages Executive Soul-Searching

Magazine article American Banker

BITS Chief Encourages Executive Soul-Searching

Article excerpt

An unexamined career may not be worth pursuing.

So contends Catherine A. Allen, chief executive officer of the Banking Industry Technology Secretariat, a division of the Bankers Roundtable, and co-author of "The Artist's Way at Work."

She argues that executives need to engage in a systematic, creative exploration of their lives and professions to reach self-fulfillment.

Corporate cost cutting, restructurings, and layoffs create anxiety. The advocated "artist's way" is supposed to help employees adapt more readily to change.

The problem, say the authors, is that many people believe creativity is the province of "a secret tribe of people."

"There is a mythology about creative people," said Mark Bryan, another co-author, at a recent forum in New York. "Often the most creative person in a company will be the most isolated."

Individuals sabotage their own creativity with self-doubt, said Ms. Allen, who before joining BITS last year founded and managed a consulting firm, Santa Fe Group. She was the founder of the Smart Card Forum and a marketing officer and strategist at Citicorp, Dun & Bradstreet, and CBS. She has also taught at American University in Washington.

The common pattern, she said, is: "You're waiting for someone to notice you don't know what you're doing. The fraud concept eats away at us.

"You have to think about how to overcome that. You have to be able to say to yourself, 'I don't have to know everything, but I do have to know who can answer those questions. …

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