Today marked my 10-year anniversary at Deloitte. I’ve experienced a lot of super-cool things in that time, but the one that has had the most enduring, meaningful impact on me personally occurred as part of my role in the US chairman’s office.

Over the course of nearly four years, I wrote announcements about retired partner deaths. You may think it’s weird or morbid, but it was a special honor to be the one that paid tribute to the lives of some remarkable people who helped make Deloitte the special place that it is today, and whose contributions helped shape the profession as we know it.

I wrote several hundred such tributes, and in the process, I interviewed hundreds of people about the impact their colleagues had on the lives of those around them, going as far back as the 1950s. Here are a few things I learned from people as they reflected on the lives of their colleagues at the times of their deaths:

How you treat your colleagues and clients in the course of your everyday work has a lasting impact on their lives. Your words and actions are received, felt, and remembered by others. More keenly than you expect, in fact.

The “little” things matter. Integrity matters. Private conversations stay with people, so invest in them wisely.

Work is one expression of humanity; it’s not business, it’s personal.

Technical skills are very important, but character is most important.

In my first ten years, I worked with rookies and sages; interns and CEOs; colleagues, clients, competitors, and the professional community at large; people in every part of the US, and every region of the world; the unknown and the famous; and every type of person along the many spectra of society. Deloitte is a special happening, and I am honored to be a Deloitte “colleague for life”.

(If you want to make my day, please share a memory of our working together at some point over the past decade. Through you, my family can come to understand my professional life better, and why I am so committed to the green dot. Thanks!)

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