Leadership

Leadership is a deep-felt passion of guiding everyone to the best individual choices.

Money does not a leadership problem fix.

In fact, a problem is simply an opportunity in disguise.

We grow — when confronted with the impossible. It is that defining moment of decision. Many will quit. A few will do what others say can’t be done.

Leaders will accomplish what has never been attempted, before.

Those who do are the leaders among us. Those who talk are not necessarily the followers. Talk is cheap and those who blather, generally, complain about all of their problems. Unknowingly and unwittingly, they are complaining about themselves.

For the entirety of human existence, accumulation of wealth has been the measure of empires. The Golden Rule has been disenfranchised into a barbaric slogan, “Those who have the Gold make the Rules.”

Rules and regulations do not an Empire make. In fact, Empires come and go — because, their leaders abdicate the responsibility to set an example. We, the People, learn by doing.

Leadership is not a cult-like mission of forcing others into compliance. Leadership is a deep-felt passion of guiding everyone to the best individual choices.

Say what?! Doesn’t a leader, by default, need followers?

For a moment, forget about following and let’s focus on leading. Leaders believe in the power of one. They understand life is best experienced from the inside, out. They are true to themselves, by constantly improving the character at their core.

Leaders make absolutely sure they have much to give. What they offer to the whole wide world is the Three-E Formula to Enlighten, Empower, and Encourage.

Enlighten

We don’t know what we don’t know. Leaders share the best of what they have learned with all who are accepting. The story of their journey is the inspiration for broadened horizons and myriad options of choice. Leaders communicate their saga — and, color that vision of abundance with broad strokes and vivid detail.

Empower

Knowing what to do and doing it are two, entirely, different things. Leaders offer the tools to build something special. We all want and need something different. Leaders are the ultimate teachers through explanation and demonstration, then asking for imitation, offering correction, and expecting repetition.

Encourage

The best teachers have humbly learned from the School of Hard Knocks. They can share many lessons learned the hard way and know, for an absolute fact, their Students need a few of the same experiences. Leaders patiently wait for new lessons to be learned, all the while supporting that effort.

True leaders always have a following. Hundreds, maybe even many thousands, are watching the silent example of their heroes. Actions speak so much louder than words. A life of character, generously offered to others — through consistent choices to build mutually beneficial dynamic relationships — is the legacy of leaders.

The choice is free, for us to make.

The results are priceless, for future generations.

Let’s accept the challenge of leadership.

www.kimfoard.com

Straight Talk

Honesty in thought and action is a perquisite for building trust and respect.

Straight Talk

How many times last week did someone tell you one thing — and, then, did something entirely different?

Have you ever made plans with someone, who at the last minute changed their mind and did not participate?

Why is it essential to say what we believe and believe what we say?

Reputation is what others think about us. Character is who we truly are — at the core. Sterling qualities of these attributes are nurtured into existence as a result of consistency in word and deed.

John Wooden in his book, The Wisdom of Wooden, shares with us what his father shared with him.

Two Sets of Three

1.) Never lie.
2.) Never cheat.
3.) Never steal.

1.) Don’t whine.
2.) Don’t complain.
3.) Don’t make excuses.

Words, if inconsistent with actions, are blatantly misleading. Recipients of this deceit are cheated out of belief. The most precious of resources — Time — is stolen.

As a result, the cover-up is camouflaged with a combination of whining, complaining, and excuse making.

Take a few moments to imagine a world in which individuals are careful with their commitments.

By default, commitment is entirely void of one word — Maybe.

In fact, commitment is either — This or That.

Just say a simple, “Yes, I will.” — or, “No, I won’t.”

Then, after giving our word — one way or the other — just, “Do it.”

The only downside risk of doing what we say is that the Drama Kings and Queens will need to find another venue for their acting. Because, if we desire a pleasant diversion from reality, we’ll attend the theatre, or go to a movie.

Honesty in thought and action is a prerequisite for building trust and respect.

Straight talk — and, a straight walk — lead straight to dynamic relationships!

www.kimfoard.com

Initials

Awards, certifications, and degrees are, simply, mile-markers on our journey of growth and provide enhanced opportunities to begin relationships.

CPA CITP

Society has adopted as truth this funny notion that there are no differences from one person to another.

Then, it diligently goes about labeling each to differentiate the homogeneous mixture.

Recent attendance at a Scaling New Heights conference was a gentle reminder of this Universal Principle: regardless of how alike a group of people may be, the individual differences are worthy of consideration.

In fact, the uniqueness of the individuals is what creates synergy for the group. In other words, the sum of the whole is greater than its parts. Yet, the value of the group is dependent upon the integrity of the individual members.

As attendees of the Conference, we were provided an assortment of materials and a name Badge. Since the Conference was conducted in cooperation with Intuit®, the maker of QuickBooks, one early announcement was the availability of lapel Pins to note our levels of achievement.

Caught up in the pompousness of the moment, I went by the Intuit® booth and claimed my awards. In observing others with the Pins affixed to their Badges, I did the same — for about an hour.

Then, I was struck with the absurdity: we were all the same, as ProAdvisor attendees.

The real distinction was in the passion at the core of who we are, as individuals.

Our value to one another and the Customers we serve is not in the awards, certifications, or degrees accumulated in appendages to our name. Value is the reality of a perception. Reputation is what others think about us. Character is who we really are.

A couple of years ago, my character was tested by a potential new Customer. By being too eager to please, I gave the best of me to the son-in-law, who asked for help. Although purporting to have authority to purchase, son-in-law was subordinate to Father-In-Law.

Once that was understood, I took the game from my office to their place of business. Oh, the fun of beginning again with the one who controlled funding authority. All was going relatively well, until I decided to take a short-cut.

Rather than build Trust and provide the opportunity for Respect to be earned and given, I thought my credentials were pretty dang impressive and decided to share them.

Since we were standing right there next to a computer, what better way to close the deal than to have this potential new Customer see Testimonials from old Clients? As the CFO son-in-law (under my direction) wiggled the mouse and tickled the keyboard to navigate onto a Site of Distinction, CEO Father-In-Law grew increasingly amused.

Thinking that I had thoroughly impressed him, his lesson in humility haunts me to this day, “So, how much did you have to pay those people to say that?”

In defense of my honor, I assured him that those were actual Clients and they paid a Price for Value. My whining didn’t impress Father-In-Law in the least. He was a proud man, who could make his own judgment to my worth. He didn’t need my help.

So close to being a mutually beneficial relationship and I messed it up by wanting to brag.

If only I had remembered:

Let someone else praise you, not your own mouth—
a stranger, not your own lips.

The collection of Business Cards accompanying me home from the Conference was the perfect reminder of how hard we work to achieve distinction in the eyes of the governing bodies. Yet, all that really matters in life and business is the effort we make, individually, to serve those in our sphere of influence.

Initials behind our names are, simply, mile-markers on our journey of growth. The danger is in believing they are an announcement of greatness. They are not.

The dictionary definition of Initial: Of, relating to, or occurring at the beginning; first.

That’s all Initials are, the opportunity to begin a relationship with another person.

www.kimfoard.com

Three To Be

People will come and people will go. Remember, though, there is only one YOU. You are a unique creation, no better than any other; yet, just as good as all the others.

Three To BeFor every ending, there is a new beginning.

Leading the way into a bigger word is a little one: Be.

See it?

Be-ginning!

Shakespeare asked the questions, “To be — or, not to be?”

There, really, isn’t a question of our existence. The answer is in the exploration of what it is, “To Be.”

Sterling Character

Yes, the adjective is subjective. Nobody wakes in the morning to believe their character is bad. Yet, do we wake to the Wooden Creed? “Success is peace of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to become the best of which you are capable.”

Again, some might want to argue that ‘best‘ is subjective. It is, if we compare ourselves to others. It is not, if we judge ourselves to a higher standard. Through all of civilization, there have been Codes of Conduct. The best of them are simply a map to guide us in The Journey to the highest quality of life.

Passionate Commitment

Knowing something and doing it are two, entirely, different concepts. In fact, choosing one and forgoing the many is the purest definition of commitment. Contempt for failure and death is another measure of being, all in — or, all out — if we consider the example of the skydiver.

At the moment of jumping from a perfectly good airplane, the skydiver is committed to reaching the ground. They have two choices: Dead — or, Alive. In other words, if they have a passion for life, their entire focus is on a successful landing.

Dynamic Communication

Before babies can say a single word, they are effective communicators. By facial expression, tone of voice, and body language, they command attention. They know what they want and how to ASK for it. Why are so many adults dysfunctional? They stopped learning. Literally, the answer is that simple.

We are either growing — or, we are dying. Entropy is the natural physical condition. There is a higher realm, which requires pushing beyond the resistance of what ‘Is’, — to what can ‘Be.’ All we do begins with a thought. We learn by doing. The fun is in the doing. Let’s have fun learning.

In the course of a lifetime, people will come and people will go. There are chance encounters, whereby strangers become friends. There are diabolical missions of deceit, whereby wolves appear to be sheep. In between, are all other opportunities for new relationships.

There is a season for all things. Remember, though, there is only one YOU. You are a unique creation, no better than any other — yet, just as good as all the others.

As others seek a relationship, begin with the end in mind — 1.) Sterling Character,
2.) Passionate Commitment, and 3.) Dynamic Communication.

Three To Be — Free.

www.kimfoard.com

Tops & Bottoms

Reaching the Top is, simply, a fleeting moment of recognizing it as the Bottom of a foundation, from which to build, again.

Tops and BottomsDearest Friend,

Thank you for your thoughtful questions:

“How do you stay at the top?”

“Which is the hardest: Making it to the top — or, Staying there?”

“What is the secret to avoid muddled down?”

The answer to these questions arrives in the form of these Universal Principles and Proverbial Riddles:

Easy is Hard — Hard is Easy
First will be Last — the Last, First
Top is the Bottom — the Bottom is the beginning of a Top

And, that, my friend, is the secret:

Good, better, best.
Never let it rest,
‘Til our good is better,
And our better, best.

As a reminder, Coach John Wooden believed: “Success is peace of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to become the best of which you are capable.”

Each one of us, individually, is capable of much more than we, originally, think we can do.

All we do begins with a thought.

At one time, I believed in the axiom: Preparation + Opportunity = Success
That’s wrong — we don’t need to wait around for opportunity.

All we need to do is Prepare;
And, Opportunities are everywhere.

In other words, as Coach Wooden exemplified and his Players affirmed: Build It — and, They Will Come.

The fun is in the doing. And, yes, you’re right and Coach teaches — it’s easier to make it to the Top the first time, than it is to remain there. Because, once we think we have arrived, someone is digging a hole and planting us, six feet deep.

Life is like riding a bicycle — Pedal, or Coast, the choice is ours. When we coast, we’re headed downhill. It’s so easy — at the Top — to become lazy and complacent. Definition of Rut: a grave with the ends kicked out.

Staying on top of our game requires taking our game to new heights of performance. Coach says, “Be quick, don’t hurry.” He believed in the Fundamentals. In other words, break it down (Pyramid of Success) and build it back: better, faster, stronger, bigger, and more beautiful. Use lots of mortar: Faith and Patience.

John Wooden was a Teacher before and after he was a Coach. His encouragement for us, “Call yourself a Teacher.” In his words, “What a leader learns, after you’ve learned it all, counts most of all.” By taking the science of anything to an art form, we discover joy. By teaching it, we learn even more.

It’s not the arena in which we perform — or, even the performance itself. It’s all about the People.

Reputation is what others think about us. Character is who we, really, are. Building character is within our control. Managing the expectations of others is not.

If we focus on: People, over Process — the Why, before What — and, the Reason for the Results — we attract those of like mind. We are known by the Company we keep.

Character can be defined as:

Respect for Self
Respect for Others
Respect for Rules

From the passion at the core of who we are, we can offer our best in service to all.

Look around and you will see your Team, comprised of: Customers, Vendors, Friends, Peers, Family, and Community. We look to you for the Value of your life Story. There’s only one of you. We want and need what you have to offer. Not everyone will be accepting. That’s OK — many will be appreciative, of YOU.

I encourage you to say, “Yes, please,” to those who choose to be on your Team — and, “No, thanks,” to those finding fault with Your Way. In fact, as Coach Wooden did, help them find another Team.

After we think there is no room for improvement in the fundamentals (Building Blocks and Mortar comprising the Pyramid of Success), we can always improve in how we manage our precious Time. Coach was a crusader for Time Management. As a leader, he accomplished more in two hours than other coaches did in two days.

We learn by doing.
The fun is in the doing.
Let’s have fun learning.

There is no Easy way — only, Hard challenges, which inspires us to new discovery of opportunity and levels of achievement.

First is, simply, a place of Ego. Last is just another word for Endure, which does produce legacies through service to others.

Reaching the Top is, simply, a fleeting moment of recognizing it as the Bottom of a foundation, from which to build, again.

Let’s keep building.

Best,

www.kimfoard.com

The Word

Two little words: “Yes” and “No”. They are the two sides of the same coin. Once we understand their power, we can choose the appropriate response to any question, or situation.

The WordAll we do begins with a thought.

Each thought is given substance with words.

Thoughts become manifest in words. Words lead to actions. Actions develop into habits. Habits accumulate into character. Character shapes  our Destiny.

At the beginning, from a single thought, our destiny is assured. At any point in our journey, the evidence is undeniable — the inspiration for our ultimate destiny is framed within the parameters of words.

How important are Words?

They are the essence of who we are.

In the beginning the Word already existed.
The Word was with God,
And, the Word was God.
He existed in the beginning with God.
God created everything through him,
And, nothing was created except through him.
The Word gave life to everything that was created,
And, his life brought light to everyone.
The light shines in the darkness,
And, the darkness can never extinguish it.

The importance of a Word? Life and Death — Light and Darkness.

Why
One
Real
Delivers

~ Why

Mother Nature hates a vacuum. We either plant good seeds to produce a crop of value — or, weeds will grow. We discover the secrets of life and the passion at our core, by asking, “Why?”

~ One

If it is to be, it is up to me — Me and God. That’s it. Really — it’s as simple as that. Life is experienced from the inside, out. Sure, it’s fun to dance with others. The music, though, is inside each of us.

~ Real

Authenticity is the new cool. Funny thing, though, there’s nothing new under the sun. The next fad will soon pass. Enduring, as a legacy, are the gifts that only we, individually, can offer.

~ Delivers

Results are all that matter. What we do speaks so much louder than what we say. The summation of all that matters: Say what we intend to do — then, do what we say.

Things, today, are about like they have always been. Two thousand years ago, a fellow by the name of Paul was assuring those in his sphere of influence that his intentions were honorable. Those finding fault with him:

» Said that Paul’s letters were hard to understand.
» Claimed that Paul was fickle.
» Thought that Paul had a domineering attitude toward them.
» Felt that Paul wanted to show who had the upper hand.

You may be asking why I changed my plan. Do you think I make my plans carelessly? Do you think I am like people of the world who say “Yes” when they really mean “No”? As surely as God is faithful, my word to you does not waver between “Yes” and “No.” For Jesus Christ, the Son of God, does not waver between “Yes” and “No.” He is the one whom Silas, Timothy, and I preached to you, and as God’s ultimate “Yes,” he always does what he says.

At that same time in antiquity, James was sharing the Farmer Philosophy and encouraging patience for those who chose to listen.

You see farmers do this all the time, waiting for their valuable crops to mature, patiently letting the rain do its slow but sure work. Be patient like that. Stay steady and strong. And since you know that he cares, let your language show it. Don’t add words like “I swear to God” to your own words. Don’t show your impatience by concocting oaths to hurry up God. Just say yes, or no. Just say what is true.

Critics use many words. Their stories go on and on — like the endless desert. Their favorite words are: Try and Maybe. After finding fault with everyone and everything, the critics do things, entirely, differently than what they say. Their word is no good.

We can follow the example of The Ultimate Yes by committing to, always, do what we say. By saying “Yes” to Life and Light, we can boldly say “No” to Death and Darkness.

Two little words: “Yes” and “No”. They are the two sides of the same coin. Once we understand the importance of The Right Word, we can choose the appropriate response to any question, or situation.

Let our “Yes” be Yes — and, our “No” be No.

www.kimfoard.com

A Way

The answer will be found in a new WAY. What way?! This better way of asking the hard questions: Why Are You … Thinking, Saying, Doing, Behaving, Repeating, and Believing this WAY?!

Easy Way, or Hard WayImagine that a close friend announces, “I’m going away.”

What is our response?

I know what mine is. I launch into my Philadelphia Lawyer shtick with the: Why, What, When, Where and How questions!

The intent is pure.

I want the best for my friends and am desirous of understanding: Why are they making that choice? What will they be doing there? When will they leave? Where are they going? How long before we are together, again?

Going away is one thing. Going toward something is entirely different!

Wherever we go, there we are. Moving away from one set of circumstances is no guarantee of a blissful life. Moving toward a vision of the future is the best way to arrive at where we want to be!

Life is what we make of it, friends; if it doesn’t fit, make alterations!

To get from here to there, we do need A Way, to go; one which ensures an enjoyable journey and a successful arrival at the new destination.

Have you noticed that everyone has an idea for you and your resources?! They sincerely believe that they know best the path for you. They don’t. Only, YOU do!

Yet, how do we, each of us, individually, know the way to go? Actually, that is quite simple. We begin by sifting our many options through the filter of these three words: Right, Just, and Fair. Before we take the first step, let’s ask these three questions: Is it Right? Is it Just? And; Is it Fair?

Sometimes, the answers will be obvious and we can respond with a resounding “Yes!” to all three. Other times, the way will be more obscure. If that’s the case, then, we add these attributes to our matrix of questions: Patient, Kind, Generous, Honest, Humble, Happy, Protective, Trusting, Hopeful, and eternally Optimistic.  In other words, “Will we exemplify these facets of character as a result of the choice we are about to make?” If so, then, let’s go!

All we do begins with a thought!

Thoughts manifest in words; Words lead to actions; Actions develop into habits; Habits accumulate into character; and, Character becomes our Destiny. The catalyst for this chain reaction is a single choice at the beginning to decide. Individually, we choose. The result is who we are at this very moment!

Although impossible to write a new beginning to our life story, we can at any time begin to write a new ending! The secret? We must begin! It is by our decision, to take a single step down a path right for us, that we find the courage to take more.

That first step will be a failure, or a success. Either way, it is a beginning for us to find a better way. You see, in order to find a better way, there must first be a way!

There are few guarantees in life. This is one: Hard is easy; Easy is hard.

By choosing a path of righteousness, justice and fairness, we have chosen a journey of guaranteed thrills. There will be bumps and curves, ups and downs, tummy-ticklers extraordinaire. This road is not for the faint of heart. It is for those strong of will. It is for those who set their eyes on the horizon of opportunity, knowing full well that long-term growth is a result of short-term pain.

There are no short-cuts, or easy ways, to success. The easy way is always a temptation and it is always a dead-end cul-de-sac. Going in circles is a fitting metaphor for those running away! To break free from the insanity, they have this choice:

Stay and Decay?
Or, Away and Play!

The answer will be found in a new WAY. What way?! This better way of asking the hard questions, of themselves: Why Are You … Thinking, Saying, Doing, Behaving, Repeating, and Believing this WAY?!

Yes, I know; we will never look at the word WAY in the same way, ever again! Because, we will all be asking this question of ourselves: Why Are You …

www.kimfoard.com