How I Lead: Valuing Each Person’s Input

A conversation with OPM financial adviser Tim Cannon.

Tim Cannon is a senior financial adviser at the Office of Personnel Management, where he works in the chief information officer’s Financial and Program Management Office. Reporting to the director of Enterprise Human Resource Integration, Cannon focuses on leading change, building partnerships and improving the quality of operations.

What is the best leadership lesson you've learned?                   

Stay on the course and do not take all negative feedback to heart.

What leadership lessons do you try to convey to your team?

  • Opportunities are everywhere; it takes a keen ability to see them.
  • Change is a critical success factor; be proactive and be prepared. 
  • A confident attitude is the difference between moving forward and staying stagnant. 
  • Always refresh your thinking and apply your knowledge religiously.

What strengths do you bring your organization?

Leadership, innovation, integrity and diversity. Award-winning success in several program initiatives and project development, which include the U.S. Army of Corps of Engineers’ American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, a $9 billion program impacting communities around the United States, and the Defense Information Systems Agency Base Realignment and Closure Project supporting the construction of a 1 million-square-foot facility at Fort Meade, Maryland.

 What is your strategy for interactions with your supervisor?

  • Establish open communication and use effective communication strategies.
  • Build a productive working relationship with him or her.
  • Practice common courtesy and respect his or her time.
  • Keep him or her informed, follow up and provide feedback/recommendations.

What career accomplishment are you most proud of and why? 

Receiving a Master of Science degree in government information leadership with a concentration in chief financial officer leadership from the National Defense University.

How do you involve your employees to ensure everyone is on board with a new idea?

  • Valuing each person’s input as an asset.
  • Providing all with adequate resources to accomplish the new idea or mission.
  • Communicating clear expectations at all horizontal and vertical levels.
  • Fostering partnerships with employees to progress succession, fulfillment and balance.
  • Creating an encouraging environment for engagement, better communication, conflict resolution and successful outcomes.

What is your latest goal or ambition?

My latest professional goal is to complete the project management professional exam

What is the most important thing you have learned in your career?

Take advantage of career counseling, mentoring and coaching opportunities. Everyone needs a career counselor, mentor and/or coach to provide a beneficial and valuable succession plan, as well as sound advice. I am honored at OPM to have a career counselor, mentor and coach.

Tell me something your co-workers do not know about you.

 I listen to contemporary musical artists.

What was the biggest career risk you took? 

Relocating from Texas to Ohio for my first federal government position. This career opportunity provided valuable experience working in the federal government as a financial systems analyst. However, the move required being away from family and friends, and being on my own for the first time. Overall, the opportunity turned out to be a positive experience from which I learned a good deal.

What motivates you?

Making a difference in the lives I come in contact with each and every day.