Currently Head, Business Deposits and Pricing at RBC, Rajini McRae’s varied experience ranges across multiple industries and she has expertise in financial transformation, M&A, and business strategy. She’s also a valued member of the Women of Influence Advisory Board.
By Rajini McRae
As I sit here listening to my sons laugh, talk, and play Fortnite downstairs, I realize maybe this video game thing is not that bad, and maybe it is just a different way of playing and connecting. As most of you with siblings, children or friends have experienced, we too have had plenty of debates in our house about what is the right amount of time to play video games. We have had this discussion with friends, family and of course our children. This consistent approach to the art of questioning and understanding the root cause has made me realize how this has become a fundamental skill that my family and friends have in common that has helped us in life.
Having curiosity to understand why drives you to critically think, learn different approaches and gain a deeper understanding. There is a Japanese approach that was practiced by Toyota called The 5 Whys that helps one understand the root cause of a problem. The theory is that when you ask why 5 times to a problem, you generally will come close to identifying the root cause. This would be the first lesson I would share with you. Be curious and try to understand the root cause as much as possible, as this enhances your learning and understanding at a deeper level, guiding your decisions and interactions more successfully. This is especially needed when information is so readily available in many mediums and, unfortunately, more often than not, without much depth.
Through the journey of balancing many priorities of work, three children, volunteer/advisory board involvements, aging parent, etc., I have learned the importance of thinking in ‘and’ solutions. Many who I have admired and learned from have this innate ability to combine solutions when they are proposed conflicting choices. In business, the best leaders I know are exemplary at delivering on conflicting requirements such as driving revenue growth while reducing cost or increasing capacity while maintaining the same resources. Mastering this skill to find an ‘and’ solution when faced with conflicting choices, not only leads to innovative solutions but also a truly full life.
“Generosity and gratitude are so infectious. It is a key attribute that I have learned and noticed in truly contented people.”
As I continue to hear my kids play and then my mom and husband prepare dinner, I am reminded of all I have to be thankful for. Having lost my father at a young age, my mother at 36 had to learn new skills, come to a new country and raise my two sisters and me. Without the generosity of many and the gratitude we always felt and hopefully showed, we would not be where we are today. At work and life, practice generosity and gratitude with all the people that support and surround you — your mentors, colleagues, sponsors, friends and family. This includes genuine small gestures that some have shown to me, such as sharing an useful article that is meaningful, connecting a colleague that can assist, or getting lunch to simply say thank you. Generosity and gratitude are so infectious. It is a key attribute that I have learned and noticed in truly contented people.
Lastly, as I finally get a quiet moment as all have gone to their own corners in our home, I share with you one of the most meaningful lessons I learned in my thirties. This is the lesson to genuinely celebrate the success of others. My husband is the ultimate example in life that teaches me this often. He is consistently finding reasons to celebrate others. I recognize when we celebrate others and ask others to share their successes and journey, we create an environment of learning and positivity. Especially in these times where fear and negativity seem to be more pervasive, it is much needed to celebrate all the many positive achievements of those around us.
With these key lessons, I hope that you achieve greater success and contentment in your career and life. Thank you to all the thoughtful and intelligent mentors, sponsors, colleagues, friends and family that have helped me along the way!