Friday, July 23, 2010

Mirror or Map?

A couple years ago Tyler Gilbert went on a journey to visit 21 countries for his 21st birthday. In his published travel journal, he shares a profound thought...

"There are two kinds of travelers... those who look at maps, and those who look in mirrors. Those looking at maps are heading out. Those looking at mirrors are heading home."

Am I looking outward, to the adventure of action, to the unknown, to the possibility? Or, am I looking inward, at the change, the depth of purpose, the sense of personal awareness, of who I am?

It's the classic tension of "doing" and "being", isn't it? And, it's not a right or wrong question, but simply a recognition that we are both "human doings" and "human beings". Sometimes we are focused on the action at hand, the doing, and sometimes we are focused on who we are, the being.

Thanks Tyler.

Click here to check out his book on

Friday, July 9, 2010

It's Budget Time

I must be getting old. Because when I was cutting my teeth as a frontline operator, part of my job was to produce a balanced operating budget and then perform to it. The CEO doled out the expectation of 'balanced' (and whatever that meant) and we the operators got to work figuring it out.

Today, I hear more and more from both CEO's and front line folks that the CFO is writing and balancing the budget. Hmm. How'd that happen?

I don't know. But I'm here to get out my soapbox and stand on it.

The CFO's job is to report what has happened. And, to forecast what will happen if the present course is kept or the proposed course of action is taken. That's it.

The writing of a budget is a financial expression of a plan. The responsibility for the plan is between the CEO and the people responsible for generating the resources to execute the plan. And, that's not the CFO. If it is in your organization, than your CFO is really the COO and has lost the objectivity required of a good CFO function. I'd like to see the CFO take a vacation for the two weeks that a balanced operating plan is being developed.

Okay. I feel better. Now, all you CEO's and Frontline Operators... go write your own plans and budgets!

Good questions here...
  • "Whose job is it and why?"
  • "Whose decision is it?"
  • "What principles will guide our decision?"


Thursday, July 8, 2010

How is that working for you?

Rejection. Yuck. Picked last for the team, or not picked at all. Friends that have faded away as fascades melt and real-life unfolds. Voted off the island during a corporate re-structure.

Often , it is the fear of rejection that blocks me from revealing the truth of what is going on inside. It's an old tape... "If you share the truth, you will be rejected and hurt."

So, the other night I was having dinner with an out-of-town friend and shared some of what was going on in my life. He asked... "So, how is that working for you in your work?" To which I responded... "It hasn't affected it at all."

"Really?" he asked. "I would have thought your work might have gotten better. Stronger. Deeper."

And I smiled.

"You went to rejection didn't you? You thought what I asked was 'Have you been rejected?' in your work."

He was right. I went to focusing on the bad thing that might have happened, instead of the good things that have happened. Because, in truth, these last few months have produced better, stronger, and deeper work for me.

It's a familiar struggle... will I focus on the bad thing that might happen if I step out, speak my truth, expose a vulnerability... or will I focus on the good thing. Fear or appreciation.

I choose appreciation. And you?

Am I Listening?

A while back, someone said to me, “Wow, Vince, you’re such a good listener!”  It made me wonder what it’s like to be a bad listener!  So, I ...