72nd Edition – June 21, 2020
1. Father’s Day, Fatherhood, and Unconditional Freedom
I read between 50,000 and 75,000 words a week. By far, here’s what I enjoyed the most over the past 7 days:
World, meet Lincoln Elizabeth. She came early and checked in at 4 lbs, 15 oz, and just missed the cutoff for NICU, but all is well.
Although not originally planned, it’s all too fitting that this baby girl shares the same name as a President who’s most famous words may be “ … all men are created equal,” a proposition that it seems in our country that many have either forgotten or never learned in the first place.
Julya and I have absolutely no clue how to be parents and raise a child, but I’m pretty sure I know where to start. The fact that anyone could be treated differently due to the color of their skin [or] lose their life because of it is sickening–all due to the snap judgments we make about what we see on the outside of a person rather than the inside.
This baby is going to grow up learning WHY the color of skin does not define who we are … that is because we are all children of God, handmade by Him in His image. And we are all imperfect and are in need of his love and grace. This child is going to learn that differences make us special and unique and that no one gets far in life by walking only with people who look the same, talk the same, and act the same and think the same. Our circles should be diverse like the world we live in.
She will learn that when in doubt of how to act, we simply treat people the way we want to be treated, because just maybe when we love our neighbors as ourselves people will see a reflection of the one who created us. So yeah, that’s where we are going to start. And it’s where many people could probably stand to start over.
Brock Gandy, CPA and Director of Finance
2. A Dozen Rules of Management
Regarding freedom, I cannot get Benjamin Franklin out of my mind, one of the architects of the Declaration of Independence.
Many business writers recommend Franklin’s autobiography as must-reading material. Unfortunately, the text is choppy and misses some of the most important chapters of his life.
Isaacson’s biography on Franklin is excellent but weighs in at 600-plus pages. If you prefer something shorter, try Blaine McCormick’s short and digestible book – Ben Franklin’s 12 Rules of Management.
3. Don’t Think Like a Buffalo
I recently saw a LinkedIn picture of buffalo connected to a quote from John Maxwell with the #BeABuffalo hashtag.
I’m not certain it’s a good idea to be like a buffalo. That’s because the buffalo herd loves following a leader – just one. The early settlers figured that out quickly – kill the leader, and the herd stands still waiting for what to do next. The slaughter would ensue.
I didn’t learn that from a history book, but from one of my all-time favorite CEOs, Ralph Stayer. He’s the co-author of the 1993 book, The Flight of the Buffalo.
If you consider running your business based on transparency, autonomy, and purpose as mission-critical, then this is my recommended book as you will learn about one man’s journey to opening his mind to an open-book redesign of his company.
4. How I Learned to Let My Workers Lead
Don’t have time for Stayer’s book? Then read the HBR article that he wrote a few years before his book came out. It’s a gem, but give yourself a good 15 to 20 minutes to read it.
My favorite part of the article is his 6 rules for greater performance:
- People want to be great. If they aren’t, it’s because management won’t let them be.
- Performance begins with each individual’s expectations. Influence what people expect and you influence how people perform.
- Expectations are driven partly by goals, vision, symbols, semantics, and partly by the context in which people work, that is, by such things as compensation systems, production practices, and decision-making structures.
- The actions of managers shape expectations.
- Learning is a process, not a goal. Each new insight creates a new layer of potential insights.
- The organization’s results reflect me and my performance. If I want to change the results, I have to change myself first. This is particularly true for me, the owner and CEO, but it is equally true for every employee.
Why haven’t we heard more about Stayer? Because he suffers from the same character trait as my other favorite CEO, Alan Mulally. Both are incredibly humble. It’s never about them, but about others.
5. Performance Goals vs. Learning Goals
When I start working individually with both CEOs and CFOs, the first thing I want to see from them is their list of objectives and goals for the year, personally and professionally.
Between performance goals and learning goals, want to bet where the emphasis is?
To make sure I’m not being abstract, setting a goal to ace a french test is a performance goal. Mastering the french language is a learning goal.
Which is more important? That’s a trick question. We need both. But most management gurus focus on performance goals. Instead, when we master new skills and capabilities in marketing, sales, operations, and customer support, those performance goals become not easy but easier to reach.
This week, revisit your company’s goals and take note where the emphasis is. One inspires, the other can weigh heavily on teams. At least that’s what Stayer learned through his transformational journey.
In Loving Memory
John David Gandy
September 3, 1929 – June 16, 2020
Thank You For Reading. Thank you for making this a successful newsletter.
If you like the content above and the posts at CFO Bookshelf, may I ask a favor? Feel free to share this with other readers along with commenting on your favorite blog posts on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook.
Stay safe and healthy.