Dance of Equals

Dance of EqualsAt first glance, your thought might have been, “How do eagles dance?”

The eagles might have another word for it. Yet, it’s done in their very own little piece of heaven. That’s what I want for us – to soar like eagles, as equals.

To prepare for a launch into the wild blue yonder, here’s the pre-flight checklist of one question:

“Are you able to intellectually engage in a conversation about a future result that is mutually beneficial and willing to emotionally commit to take action to achieve that result?”

Is that a tough question? Yes, it is.

In fact, the inherent magic of this thought exercise is that there are only two possible answers: Yes, or No.

Are there tender rewards waiting? Yes, there are.

Eagles will lift off to explore the unknown, while Turkeys continue to peck in the dirt.

If you just made an aerial circle to test your wings, congratulations. For those confused and timid souls happy with the way things have always been, please, stop reading, now – before you become completely offended by the Rest of the Story.

Life is a continual series of choices – Yes, or No – This, or That – Left, or Right, at Oak Street 🙂

Since you’re right here, at the tip of my wing, you understand this Universal Principle. For us to be flying, together, we purposefully chose to leave the ground – Off the ground, or On the ground. Choice is ours.

Within this pattern of absolutes, we are either Growing, or we are Decaying. Comfortable fence-sitting is not an option. You know this – I’m preaching to the choir.

And, that opens the vista of where I want to go with a Partner.

I believe in the Promises made by the One who created the playground of heaven, for us. Even beyond the Future fulfillment, we can enjoy heaven on earth – right here, right now.

“Are you able to intellectually engage in a conversation about a future result that is mutually beneficial and willing to emotionally commit to take action to achieve that result?”

A whole new world waits for us — let’s dance!

www.kimfoardcpa.com

Three Chords

Three Chords

Many times, less is more.

There is merit to the KISS principle:
Keep It Simple Sweetheart.

For music aficionados, the minors and majors add a dimension of emotion to the foundational key. Variety is the spice of life. Yet, the basics of scale and note must exist before flavor is added.

So, it is with the melodies of the heart.

We can achieve harmony with a commitment to always: Honor the Past, Respect the Present, and Trust the Future.

The Basic Functions of Harmony

At its core, all music can be considered an interplay of tension and release. The degree of tension can come from dissonance vs. consonance, orchestration, dynamics, or a hundred other musical elements. The key to using tension and release is balance. With too much tension and no release the tension can become unbearable and the music unlistenable. On the reverse side, if the music is too neutral with little to no amount of tension it can be dull and lifeless.

The Perfect Country Song

He sits with his elbows on the table, mellow and relaxed. He smiles a lot, and his deeply lined face is dominated by serene brown eyes. “A lot of country music is sad,” he notes softly. “I think most art comes out of poverty and hard times. It applies to music. Three chords and the truth — that’s what a country song is. There is a lot of heartache in the world.”

Honor

We are the beneficiaries of those who have gone before. By their sacrifice — the blood, sweat, and tears of their effort — we enjoy opportunities, otherwise impossible. Everyone has done their best, with what they have known and the resources available.

Respect

Right here, right now, it’s great to be alive. This is the only moment to boldly make our decisions. By setting aside the regrets of the past and the anxieties of the future, we can focus on the choices available at this time.

Trust

With preparation, comes opportunity and success. By doing our best to become all of which we are capable, we can confidently look forward and know that goodness waits for us. It might be in the form of lessons to be learned; or, it might be a celebration of accomplishment. Either way, it will be right, for us.

Three chords and the truth is the melody of a life to be enjoyed.

For generations to come, that song will endure.

www.kimfoard.com

Passion; or, Prostitution

Passion ScrabbleOur affair was over when I heard her ask, “Is it about the money?”

Without hesitation, the answer was, simply, “No.”

As a builder of relationships, I knew better.

What begins twisted, ends twisted.

In the beginning, as a young CPA, I said, “Yes!” to everyone who waltzed through the front door. Thirty years later, I still dance with some of them.

Where did the others go?

They are off to find someone able and willing to be paid to perform.

Those little words: To and For. They are innocent in appearance; powerful in meaning.

Knowing something and doing it are two, entirely, different things. My philosophy has, always, been to serve. At times, my actions have been less than honorable. Rationalization was made that, as a business man, it was okay to take on projects simply because someone asked me to do it and they had the money to pay.

“And,” you ask, “the problem is?!”

My reply, “It didn’t feel right.”

Difficult to put into words. Yet, there was something about their attitude that bothered me. There was not a true meeting of the minds, or a connection at the core of word and deed. While I wanted to do something of value for them, they just wanted me to do it for the money. There was going to be a financial exchange, nothing more. And, I agreed.

What begins twisted, ends twisted.

So it was with the woman above. For over a period of ten years, she had money and needed accounting services. I was paid well for my services; very, well. In fact, I asked to be paid more each year in search of a better feeling (commitment) for our arrangement.

Silly me, for believing that people are more important than projects. I offered ideas for building wealth and achieving success; she took them and paid me. Right up until, she wanted to believe she owned me and that I should be willing to accept her abuse.

You see, she is very gifted in intelligence, charm, and social skills. Yet, rather than grow in maturity of business acumen and ownership of the consequences of her choices, her approach is to manipulate those around her. And, if that fails, to buy them.

When I said, “No. No, thanks. and, No more!” — she asked, “Why?”

I went on to say, “Because, for the last few years, I have felt dirty working for you. While I want to do things for you, you want me to do it for the money. No more.”

Lest anyone think that I work just for the love of it, let’s take a look at the spectrum between logic and emotion.

Yes, money is important. Those who say it isn’t will lie about other things, too. Money is a tool, nothing more. When managed properly, it allows great businesses to serve great people.

Equally important is how any relationship feels. It must be mutually beneficial in ways beyond the quid pro quo of a financial arrangement.

Those clients with whom I have danced for thirty years are the ones who receive much more than the accounting projects for which they ask. They, in turn, share with me their life stories. We have a connection beyond description. Suffice it to say, we share a similar world view and an enduring bond of family, friends, and community.

Much more than a professional Accountant ~ Client relationship, it is one of friendship. Friends go above and beyond to serve the best interests of each other.

So, when I hear one of my Friends say, “You sure do a lot of work for that amount of money!” I know we have discovered the true potential and passion of a mutually beneficial long-term relationship!

www.kimfoard.com

Objective Thinker

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.

DiSC is a registered trademark of Inscape Publishing, Inc.

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)

A simple de-coding of the quadrants in Chart form can be found at the Manager Tools website.

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 CPA) 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 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 all this 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

ASK

ASK Ask, Seek, Knock

Courage is a three letter word — ASK.

In fact, the acronym comes with built-in promises.

Ask and it will be given to you; Seek and you will find; Knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; those who seek find; and, to those who knock, the door will be opened.

Within the last week, I have been reminded of how powerful one, little, word can be. As a parent, words are inadequate to describe the appreciation for two young adults, who are boldly making the world a better place. More than words, these two young people are living the principles — and, that takes courage.

Two children with different approaches. Yet, they are using the same Universal tool to receive goodness into their lives, discover new paths of growth, and have doors of opportunity swing wide open. All because they show up each day and do their part, to ASK.

One has been enrolled in the School of Hard Knocks (pardon the pun) for the last two years. The education and experience ranges from building log homes, pouring concrete foundations, driving beet truck, guiding dudes on hunting trips into — and, back out of — the wilderness, creating barbwire works of art, managing a crew of rednecks, tending bar in a cowboy saloon, busting broncs and spurring hair off of bulls.

Upon deciding to begin work on his graduate degree in finance, he went to where new wealth is being extracted and asked to be part of the action. By the time he made it back home, a Company wanted to know more — about him. After one five minute interview and a week’s worth of passing tests, this young man is across the threshold into a new adventure.

His older sister, while more conventional in approach, is just as non-traditional in her own way. A high school math teacher once described this marvelous combination of logic and emotion, straight-line thinker, and creative genius, with this statement, “She does everything asked of her and some things just for herself.”

Directly out of high school, she marched into college. At the beginning of her junior year, she doubled down by starting a full-time job, and adding another facet to her degree program. Towards the end of four years, a few credits were standing between her and graduation. With a faculty open to negotiation, the delivery of a little extra work earned the equivalent of a five year degree in four.

For the last two years, the education has continued with a Master Certification in customer service — and, the experience has broadened to managing technicians into productive roles, for the benefit of all. Wanting to be closer, geographically, to a Special Someone, she is carefully considering a variety of new opportunities.

A dad’s response to their effort — to ASK — “Wow!”

www.kimfoard.com