Truth and Freedom

To avoid manipulation, think of direct, clear communication as the psychological equivalent of holding up a cross to a vampire.

Truth and FreedomIn the journey from childlike innocence to adult discernment, one trait requires a metamorphosis.

Naivety contains the seeds for discovery and destruction.

As to which we will nurture? That choice is within our control.

To fall under the influence and control of another person is dangerous. A lack of worldly experience and understanding can result in harm, to ourselves and others. Good judgment comes from experience — experience comes from bad judgment. Discretion is the better part of valor.

Yet, these are the naive qualities all children enjoy — and, we, older kids, can continue to practice:

  • Free from guile, cunning, or sham
  • Absence of complexity, artifice, or pretentiousness
  • Childlike directness, simplicity, and innocence
  • Spontaneity and freedom from self-consciousness
  • Sincerity and unaffected simplicity
  • Absence of insidious or treacherous cunning

As we practice the pure qualities of naivety, there is one, very, large caveat: Beware the wolf in sheep’s clothing. In other words, the Machiavellians, Narcissists, Borderlines, Histrionics, and Manipulators do not subscribe to a mutually beneficial Code of Honor.

To combat the scurrilous tactics of these Con Artists, only one weapon is required: The Truth.

Before we engage in daily interaction with the Disturbed Characters, the truth empowers us to be free.

  • Our conscience is free from regret and blame.
  • We boldly step through the doors of new opportunity.
  • The benefit of our actions lifts the spirits of all in our care.

From the book, Who’s Pulling Your Strings?, by Harriet B Braiker, PhD, comes this powerful observation:

Think of direct, clear communication — especially when it is about the manipulation itself — as the psychological equivalent to holding up a cross to a vampire. Most manipulators recoil in the face of being “busted,” and the air goes out of the pressure they are trying to create just as easily as it escapes a punctured balloon.

Direct, clear communication is just another way of making reference to: The Truth.

From the sages of old is this simple request: “I beg two favors from you; let me have them before I die. First, help me never to tell a lie. Second, give me neither poverty nor riches!”

The truth will set us free.

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

Conversations

Conversation without Price is a social exchange; Conversation with Price is an introduction to dynamic results. To achieve greatness, consider the Price and offer it for Acceptance.

We all love to talk.

Yes; some more than others.

The expressions of our thoughts, opinions, and stories give definition to who we are.

More than that, by expression, we fully feel our existence and a desire to share that aliveness.

Acknowledging the value of every conversation, there are only two types:

Conversation without Price is a social exchange.

Conversation with Price is an introduction to dynamic results.

Every syllable, sentence, and paragraph of personal conversations is of benefit in acknowledging the value of two individuals: the Talker and the Listener. Since communication is what the listener does, the social exchange works best with feedback. The listener becomes the talker and returns a volley of thought.

All we do begins with a thought.

What is required to transform thoughts into actions?

Answer: Price.

There are only two elements of any contract: Mutual Assent and Consideration. In other words, there must be an Agreement about Price.

What’s the difference between Cost and Price?

We’ve all heard of “Opportunity Cost.” I propose that we take a look at the other side of the coin, which is “Actionable Price.”

It is true; we are encouraged to “count the cost” before we begin. Otherwise, we begin things without finishing them. We, then, become the objects of ridicule for the sidewalk superintendents.

It’s one thing to avoid failure. It’s quite another to pursue success.

Costs are the inputs, the disposables, and the everyday consumption of resources. For example: utility expenditures to keep our homes comfortable. Price is the investment in a long-term benefit, which is either tangible, or intangible. For example: the asset of our homes; or, our educations, experiences, and relationships.

We can suffer Costs by passively doing, absolutely, nothing. In fact, opportunities can come and go, inflicting a heavy cost on body and soul. Or, we can run around in circles, with our hair on fire, billowing black smoke, and incurring tremendous amounts of expense, with absolutely nothing to show for the effort.

On the other side of the coin is the Price we pay for every action. By choosing this, we forgo that (all of that, every other option). Over time, the Price of our choices represents the investment we have made in ourselves and what is important to us. It is the value representation of every brick in the structure of who we are.

Whether simple cabin, or splendid mansion, we are the result of every choice we, individually, have made.

All we do begins with a thought.

Now, when sharing our thoughts with others in conversation, remember:

Conversation without Price is a social exchange.

Conversation with Price is an introduction to dynamic results.

We can banter to our hearts content. To accomplish the desires of our hearts, we must always consider the Price and offer it for Acceptance.

Then, we can expect mutually beneficial dynamic results. The catalyst for committed and disciplined actions are the two elements of mutual assent and consideration; an Agreement about Price.

Let the conversations begin!

www.kimfoard.com

Cornerstones

We can select and nurture dynamic relationships, which exemplify energy, motion, change, activity, progress, intensity, vigor, variation, personality, ambition, and new ideas.

Cornerstones

What are the four attributes of every mutually beneficial dynamic relationship?

Relationships with those people we like are the most enjoyable. Yet, think of the relationships we also have with those less friendly. Think about every dynamic relationship.

In fact, think about this: we either have a relationship with someone; or, we don’t. There is no maybe to it.

So, what are the four attributes of every dynamic relationship?

The secret is in the adjective: dynamic.

  • Of or relating to energy or to objects in motion
  • Characterized by continuous change, activity, or progress
  • Marked by intensity and vigor; forceful
  • Of or relating to variation
  • An interactive system or process
  • A force
  • Characterized by personality, ambition, energy, new ideas
  • Expressing action rather than a state of being; not static

Relationships are mutually chosen. In other words, it is a bond between two individuals, who mutually choose to connect. It is of freewill and unlimited in potential.

These are the Cornerstones:

  • Core
  • Courtesy
  • Commitment
  • Communication

Core

Before we waltz out to establish a relationship with another person, it is imperative to know what is at the center of the individual. Not the other person; ourselves. Not in the plural sense. Singularly: Who am I? What do I believe? Why? When will my world view be challenged? How did I get to this point in my journey? Where am I going?

Courtesy

Once thought to be “common,” a simple Please and Thank You open the doors for Trust and Respect. Joining them are the character traits of Patience, Kindness, Truthfulness, Protectiveness, Hopefulness, and Perseverance. By simply caring about another person, we find the right, just, and fair things to say and do.

Commitment

Life is a series of ups and downs. Some days we’re the windshield; some days we’re the bug. Yet, through it all, we have the choice to be happy, or sad; pleasant, or rude; optimistic, or pessimistic; engaged, or disconnected; flexible, or rigid; open, or closed. The ultimate choice is whether we can be true to ourselves and definitive in expressing, “I will.”

Communication

Talk to me; let me listen; then, accept my thoughts. Three phases to each exchange: Transmission, Reception, and Feedback. We all love to talk. Listening requires discipline. Feedback can only be done with the courage to be vulnerable. Communication is what the listener does. Please, hear and understand me. Simply, share you to be heard and understood.

If a structure is designed to have four supports, each must be solid and relatively equal in substance. Think of the last time you sat on a chair with one leg shorter than the others. You wobbled. If that weak leg is substantially defective, a crash is imminent.

Four at the corners is the foundation for a mutually fun, beneficial, chosen, dynamic relationship. By building on these cornerstones, we can select and nurture relationships, which exemplify energy, motion, change, activity, progress, intensity, vigor, variation, personality, ambition, and new ideas.

A force to make a difference in the lives of two, and many more!

www.kimfoard.com

Objective Thinker

By everyone understanding the quadrants of DiSC, communication is guaranteed to be more effective.

Puzzle Quadrants

Have you ever said, or thought, “Why can’t the rest of the people in the world be just like me?!”

And, then paused to consider, “Good thing they’re not!”

Typically, when these thoughts occur, we are experiencing a challenge in communicating with another person. We, all, want to be heard and understood. When that is not happening, we wonder, “Why?”

Maybe, we even re-think the idea and present it again to that other person. They still don’t get it. Then we remember: Communication is what the listener does. So, we choose different words to share the logic of our grand, new, premise for consideration. A positive response still eludes us.

As a ranch kid, growing things was a way of life. In fact, the Farmer Philosophy is inherent in all that we think, and do. For seeds to sprout and develop, they need a properly prepared bed. A bed of soil that has been tilled, leveled, firmed, and made ready to receive a seed for germination is absolutely necessary for abundant harvests.

Farmers use discs to slice and dice the soil. We will use DiSC to do the same in the garden of human relations.

The concept of DiSC is a powerful tool to enhance our relationship with the neighbors.

To understand the foundational premise, picture a map of the United States. Then, divide it into quadrants by drawing a horizontal line and a vertical line, which intersect in the center of the map. Now, look at the location of your home. It is in one of those quadrants. Where are the homes of your friends? Odds are good that one, or more, is in a quadrant other than yours.

Do you expect your friends to always come to you? Or, do you ever visit them? Since the questions are rhetorical, I know the answer — We travel to visit our friends. We expend purposeful physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual effort to get to where they are. Same thing holds true for relationships. At times, we need to get US to where THEY are.

Thus, the magic of DiSC.

D          (Dominance)

I           (Influence)

S          (Steadiness)

C          (Conscientiousness)

By taking the DiSC Behavioral Profile test on April 13, 2008, my results are available for us — with which, to have great sport.

Classical Pattern: Objective Thinker

Conscientiousness (C)

Kim, you are high in the Conscientiousness dimension. As a result, you most likely work steadily within the existing circumstances to ensure quality and accuracy.

Those who are strong in Conscientiousness (“high C’s”) like to be precise and keep their focus on key details, while working in an environment that values quality and accuracy. High C’s like to be accurate and orderly, and they make decisions in an analytical way. They prefer to control factors that affect their performance and seek opportunities to demonstrate their expertise. They also like to be recognized for their skills and accomplishments.

High C’s tend to be analytical thinkers who relish asking, “Why?” It’s probably important for them to understand the parameters of a problem before they tackle it. Once the task is clear, people who are high in Conscientiousness tend to use a systematic approach to solve the problem. In all likelihood, their goal is to achieve superior results.

Clearly defined performance expectations are critical for high C’s, so they may try to avoid surprises and request specific feedback on how they are doing. They may also crave a work atmosphere that is reserved and businesslike, and that gives them the time to do the careful planning that they prefer.

When working with others, those high in Conscientiousness tend to be diplomatic and use an indirect approach to avoid conflict. Developing a higher tolerance for dissension could make them more effective. They may also find it helpful to have colleagues who are able to initiate and facilitate discussions, and to state controversial opinions.

High C’s often want to assure the accuracy of their work. In a fast-paced environment, however, their focus on maintaining such high standards can backfire. In this case, they may need colleagues who can provide quick decisions.

Because those high in Conscientiousness tend to adhere strictly to rules, they may be hampered when compromises become important to a successful outcome. They may benefit from working with those who view policies and procedures as guidelines rather than edicts.

High C’s tend to put a premium on accuracy, so they may often become overly critical when assessing co-workers. They may also be hesitant to delegate important tasks. It may help them to learn to respect others’ personal worth as much as their accomplishments, thereby encouraging an atmosphere of teamwork.

In the introduction, I generously used the pronoun “we” (think me, with a frog in my pocket) and purposely set the stage with Logic. For the high C’s and D’s of the world, that might work. For the high I’s and S’s to hear and understand, they want to feel the Emotion. To reach and touch them, I must get to where they are.

So, let’s take a peek at the emotional aspect of DiSC by using the analogy of target practice with a rifle, the performance of which is best achieved by — Ready, Aim, Fire.

The high C’s (remember, that’s your favorite SageTalk author) will do this — Ready, Aim, Aim, Aim, Aim, Aim (while considering distance to target, weight of bullet, grain of powder, composition of target, wind velocity, barometric pressure, etc). Somewhere in this sequence, probably after the third Aim, your head is about to explode! Our bad. We — me, a high C — need data, lots of data. Because, we intend to be precise in the result — when we eventually commit to squeezing the trigger.

I have many high D friends. Their approach to our target practice is — Fire! ~ Ready, Aim. In fact, they’re probably using their semi-automatic to blast away. “No worries, mate! Knock ’em all down. We’ll sort out the pieces, later!” Their motto is, “Just get it done and get it done, now!”

Oh, look. Here comes an I, a “High I” at that. Dressed to the nines in his sporting jacket, and puffy pants, fancy cap, and high-top boots, he has a designer shootin’ iron, draped under his elbow and over his forearm. He’s ready for the party, drinks and conversation, after we punch a few holes.

And, yes, that’s a high S standing off to the side making sure all the spent cartridges are gathered and wondering if we, really, need to make this much noise.

Bill Engvall has the right idea for the galactically stupid people of the world — and, expresses it in his comedic routine — Here’s Your Sign. Yet, by considering the insight, above, the question becomes, “Are they (actually) stupid?” Or, are they just doing the best they can, with what they know, and the resources available to them? And, is it possible that their DiSC sign is different from ours and they’re thinking that we’re the “stupid” ones?!

While impossible to buy LOVE, the DiSC results are yours for the asking. Guaranteed, it will be the best investment you can ever make in Building Dynamic Relationships.

www.kimfoard.com

To the Nth Power

From NO to ON, and NOPE to OPEN, profitable interactions occur through doors of opportunity that swing on the hinges of “No, thanks.” and “Yes, please!”

Yes and No

This is a story about a Hen, a Pig, a Cat and a Rat. Neighbors with very different world views. Unique in their approach, they became aware of the consequences of their choices at an individual pace.

Before we begin, I must confess. The catalyst for these thoughts came from a question asked of me by one of my favorite young adults, “Why did you choose accounting as your work?”

My first response was, “Well, there was this teacher, back when I was a junior in high school …” Then, a thirty year story about jobs, college, doing, learning and growing. Until, a Rest of the Story moment of, “And, I wanted to provide financial opportunities for my family.” Later, that day, as we were comparing leadership qualities, I experienced a flash-back to childhood and the story of The Little Red Hen.

Now, to many people, the little word “No” is perceived as a “Negative”. Maybe, it’s because both words begin with the letter “N“. Maybe, it’s because “Communication is what the listener does” and the listener has had their twig bent from childhood experiences modeled on scarcity, derision, intimidation, inferiority, or just plain, old-fashioned, generic, meanness.

This morning, the thought occurred that NO written on a piece of paper and held up to a mirror might morph into ON. With thought into action, the result was close. With failure, comes new opportunity. Then, I remembered the sign in the window of a store I drive by each day to work. Early in the morning, I see NOPE. If I pass by later in the day it displays OPEN.

More than the power of “N”, we will discover the degree of opportunity in “NO”.

When the little red Hen asks her barnyard friends, “Who will plant, harvest, thresh, carry and bake?” the answer is the same every time. “Not I,” says the Pig. “Not I,” says the Cat. “Not I,” says the Rat.

“Well, then,” said the Little Red Hen, “I will.”

And, she did.

Then, probably because she had acquired the habit, the Red Hen called, “Who will eat the Bread?”

All the animals in the barnyard were watching hungrily and smacking their lips in anticipation. The Pig said, “I will.” The Cat said, “I will.” The Rat said, “I will.”

But, the Little Red Hen said, “No, you won’t. I will.”

And, she did.

The flip of a coin is used to determine choice at the beginning of every football game. On one side is Heads and on the other side is Tails. One coin; Two possible answers. Of the results, one is not “better” than the other, before the question.

Why do some people say No to everything? Why do others say Yes to everything? Both groups, will then, struggle to understand “Why” someone will tell them, “No. No, thank you. Heck, No! What part of “NO” don’t you understand?!”

The secret to understanding is: Boundaries.

Those with solid walls for boundaries keep everything, and everybody, out. Those with porous sieves for boundaries let everything, and everybody, in. Both are dysfunctional.

Profitable interactions occur through doors of opportunity that swing on the hinges of “No, thanks.” and “Yes, please!”

Look carefully at the word NO. Now, focus on the O. What do you see? I see the beginning of Opportunity!

Just like the Little Red Hen, I see an opportunity to say, “I will.”

In fact, there is an opportunity to remember and practice, once again, the “2×10” mantra: If It Is To Be, It Is Up To Me.

The most important part of the “2×10” is the first “2×5”: If It Is To Be.

“To the Nth Power” is a reminder to move the N from NO to where it belongs: ON. And, to move the N from NOPE to where it belongs: OPEN.

From there, let’s toss the P and center the N: ONE. By doing so, we leverage the power of N to the Nth Degree and enjoy a reality bigger than we ever imagined!

www.kimfoard.com

A Better Way

Listening to our clients is another of those Win-Win propositions: We learn what they want and they learn how much we care.

Thinking In A Different Way

Innovation only comes from those willing to think differently.

Since all we do begins with a thought, new thoughts lead to new actions. While new thoughts are frequently accepted as entertaining, new actions give the world cause for pause!

Because these thoughts and actions are new, they are different from the old. If everyone is doing the same old thing, the innovator gets noticed. Our comprehension of anything stems from language. Until we have a word, title, or category for something, we are limited in understanding its reward, or risk.

This is a story about being different.

There are days of pleasant surprises. Yesterday was one of those for me. The gift was wrapped inside my email Inbox.

Hi Kim,

I’ve added your blog to my AccountingBlogList.com under the category of General which, after reading some of your blog, doesn’t seem quite accurate to me. Can you skim my list and tell me if you see a better spot? Or suggest if I should create a new category and, if so, what might it be called?

Thanks and congrats on a good blog!

Michelle

This is my response.

~

Michelle,

Thank you for the great honor to be included on AccountingBlogList.com!

Your comment about finding me “hard to categorize” did make me laugh! It is not the first time I’ve heard that. In fact, many tend to believe there needs to be a special classification in the neighborhood of “Off The Wall”.

Seriously, though, I have noticed that, as I tell my stories, eyes get big and soon laughter follows; usually, with a comment of, “Kim, you’re unique!”

The greatest documented compliment was offered by Ron Baker when, at the bottom of my Trailblazer article, he provided this valuable feedback: “More importantly, congratulations to you for having an open mind, looking for a better way, and contributing to the dignity of our profession by doing the right thing for your customers.”

That comment is what, I believe, defines Accounting:

  • Care about the people.
  • Listen to them.
  • Deliver value.
  • Learn.

Then, repeat the cycle.

Meeting you at the AICPA Tech+ conference was a treat for me. The excitement of being with a thousand of the sharpest minds in the country was only dampened by the frustration of not being able to meet and share with each of them.

Sitting in the session of One-on-one with Peter Sheahan and listening to the methodology of promoting ourselves to others resulted in a moment of clarity. The questions from the audience were relative to the specific steps in offering our marketing more effectively. It dawned on me that the problem is not with our sales tactics; it is with our ability to communicate. Communication is what the listener does.

We, simply, need to listen to our customers. Their desires, today, are different from what they were, yesterday. Each day is a new opportunity to deliver value to them, and the marketplace.

Listening to our clients is another of those Win-Win propositions: We learn what they want and they learn how much we care. What I know, now, after thirty years of sitting at their feet, pales in comparison to the formal college degree. Sure, our clients come to us for our qualities as a Master in the realm of accounting; yet, we (and they) benefit when we become their Students and learn even more about them and the multifaceted world we share.

That’s a very long introduction to my point: In my original Tribute email to Ron on Memorial Day, I shared a story of growth to that moment in time. Now, it is different. I was doing the best I could with what I knew, at the time. With new education and experience, I’ve discovered A Better Way.

Originally, the thought was to have a Business blog and a Personal blog. Silly me! Great accountants eat, breathe, sleep and live this chosen profession, passionately, 24/7. So, the design has been re-tooled to provide introductions from my Website blog; then, to tell stories at the SageTalk blog.

In a telephone conversation with a Client last week, I heard a new twist on that friend’s impression of my efforts. She said, “Kim, you’re a gladiator! You refuse to sit on the sidelines; you are engaged in battle to make a difference.”

Maybe it’s the Scotch-Irish ancestry and the parable that goes with it: “You know what Irish tact is, right? It’s the ability to tell a man to go to H-E-double L and have him looking forward to the trip.”

Personally, I want to believe it stems from a Teddy Roosevelt shtick quoted in this Coattails blog post:

The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but, who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly!

My purpose is to join you and Ron in your efforts to make a difference in the lives of many.

If there is a category for our type, I believe a fitting title is: A Better Way

New, Different, Better; regardless of the semantics, we intend to, truly, be Trailblazers for the benefit of all.

Thank you, again, for your kind and thoughtful recognition.

Best regards,

Kim

~

www.kimfoard.com