Being Heard

Three ways to Impart Wisdom:

Any one of us can lose control of a situation or a relationship. We can let things can go sideways. Any relationship can get to a breaking point in spite of our best intentions. There are dozens of causes for relationship-fails and breaks, including: lack of (mutual) skill; overworking;  neglect (of ourselves or the other); or too much time spent in chaotic environments. It is easy to loose our center point and become ungrounded.  Accelerated pace and multiple stressors can push us to lose sight of our true path and highest purpose. This has happened to me, and it has probably happened to you, too. This is why I advocate for Radical Self Care, but that is another essay.

Reflecting on a recent setback, I considered words spoken by one of my truth-tellers: “You cannot be responsible for how others receive your wisdom (advice, inputs, recommendations, etc),  you are only responsible for how you deliver it.”  Wow, this points to just one way any of us  might get off track. In trying to help, we might make things worse. Continue reading “Being Heard”

Two Ways to Improve Whistle-Blower practices

Whistle Blowers, and the will to speak…

In a piece for the Huffington Post, Carol Morgan writes,

Let’s face it – it seems like we live in an age where we all see a lot of borderline criminal behavior in our work places. As for me, even though I haven’t witnessed overtly criminal behavior, I have definitely seen a lot of blatant pathological lying that wreaked havoc on everyone in the line of fire. In fact, we had one person who made our work lives miserable, but many of us were afraid to report the person. I guess we were afraid to be the “whistle-blower.”

Whistle blowing is an important matter within the discussion of Ethics, because many times, regardless of our level in the company hierarchy, we find ourselves needing to make a decision about whether to report a violation. This invariably involves an assessment of risk to ourselves or our livelihood, along with measuring the issue against our own moral compass.  Additionally, how an organization and its leaders handle reports of violations will reveal much about the entity’s values and ethical standards. Continue reading “Two Ways to Improve Whistle-Blower practices”

Ethics: Theory vs Practice

Some interesting articles on Ethics (per my recent interest) were sent my way. Here are a few tidbits to share about ethics in general.

In 1984 the Journal of Business Ethics published a paper “Concerns of College Students Regarding Business Ethics” the authors found that in what was then considered “an increasingly complex and competitive business environment, with new pressures being brought to bear on…traditional values and ethics of decision makers and managers”, the issue of business ethics was gaining significant attention, particularly among college students. They found that traditionally, the developing of ethical decision makers and managers had been the task of educators.

In the same journal, 23 years later, in 2007, Continue reading “Ethics: Theory vs Practice”

Installment 1, Ethics in Practice: Why it Matters

Throughout my career, I have observed organizations that seemed to be struggling just a bit on the ethics front, which led me to explain here why I am compelled to write about some of these and related dilemmas.

For this series, I will share what I and others have seen, in the form of six stories, changing the details, and merging stories enough to protect the identities of those involved.

None of the good people who led the real organizations of these stories ever set out to be less than transparent, and all would describe themselves as having impeccable moral character. I admire many of them. They all work hard towards mission achievement. As we all have seen in our experience, human ego, selfishness and short sighted thinking all can get in the way of good leadership. In nonprofit settings, I believe that additional specifics factor in:

  • low salaries can lead to resentments and entitlement issues.
  • The many demands can overwhelm the moral directional systems unless boundaries are always visible and self care is a priority.
  • The pure intensity of the passion for mission is blinding, just like quest for profit can be in the private sector. I am left with the impression that there can be an underlying code of conduct that says: “If our end objectives are pure, just and good, how we get there is of little consequence. If our behaviors and actions are damaging along the way, while the end result is on target, then the end is the more important measure of performance.” It is the classic End Justifying the Means argument, and honestly, I don’t think much of this happens at the conscious level. Which is why I believe we need to look at these and other case studies, and keep our human foibles at the forefront of our thinking.  Strong leaders must have Ethics strongly implanted at the strategy and execution levels at all times.

For this installment we will look at:

Organization A:  Community Housing Association Continue reading “Installment 1, Ethics in Practice: Why it Matters”

Ethics in Nonprofit Practice

If you’ve worked in the professional accounting field, you know that through the lens of “the books”, you can see just about everything, including the dark underbelly of the business and its systems. Situations I encountered seem to point to some ethical breakdowns, so I thought it might be time for a reminder of why ethical practices matter, and what the societal costs can be when ethical standards are lowered. This serves as a great launch pad for related discussions of justice, equity and where ethics fitshutterstock_378312253 in a diverse society. In light of the current political discourse, the timing is perfect!

I hope to engage readers in dialogue on related matters as this series of articles unfolds. I figure that if I have noticed these concerns, others are struggling as well. I also assume that the best organizations see themselves as learning organizations and embrace self-reflection and regular examination of practices. It is in the spirit of inquiry and learning that this examples and situations are presented. I encourage you to dissect them for your understanding.

Installment 1:

Read more Here.


Enneagram 2.0

EnneagramDrawingAs planned, I have officially begun a study program towards a certificate as an  Enneagram Practitioner. This is a capstone project of sorts, topping approximately 20 years of exploration. The opportunity to study the human personality in more depth, along with the connection of personality patterns to human achievement and life satisfaction—well it is very empowering. At the end of the day, I hope to bring this valuable insight to clients and colleagues in a number of ways, coaching being the first that comes to mind.

What have I learned this week? Well, simply that personal growth and transformation are never complete! I guess I knew that, but it was interesting to be reminded once again! Continue reading “Enneagram 2.0”


Door to the new world.
“Come Through”, definition: Succeed in achieving desired goal after adversity; Reach; Arrive; Succeed; also, Brit speak for “come on in” (ala Doc Martin as patient’s enter with caution or trepidation into his office).

Any stint as a nonprofit staffer is going to provide new grist-for-the-wheel, new learnings to process and a fair amount of fatigue to be reversed. Sometimes it is just time to open some new doors and maybe a few windows, too.

With significant learnings and accomplishments added to the toolkit (or is it a doctor’s bag?), I  am putting together some new programs and strategies to help organizations effectively evolve, grow and deliver results. Continue reading “Momentum”