Sarbanes Oxley All Over Again?

Here we go again. It was getting kind of sparse out there for the global consulting houses as Sarbanes Oxley (SOX) started winding down. No new systems to design, policies to write, audits to perform, secret 800 numbers to set up. We did our best to legislate integrity, police honesty and audit truth and honor. And where did it get us? The sub-prime lending disaster, Wall Street greed, financial collapse. But the good news (?) is that the financial houses will be busier than ever helping their surviving clients understand and comply with the new slew of regulations about to come down the pike. Should put SOX to shame. What are we pretending not to know? We can’t legislate honesty and integrity. We just find legal work-arounds. We need to start acting in ways that encourage candor, authenticity, and transparency. We need to reward people who speak ground truth in...
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Madonna’s Lesson in Reinvention

Madonna has marketed various versions of herself throughout the years , from her earlier not-quite-a virgin-white-wedding-dress days to her punk-rock style, from Material girl to diamond clad Marilyn Monroe, to the gangster and futuristic characters she brings to her current persona.  She exhibited these versions of herself in one particular number where she seemed to scorn them as she sang her hit, She’s Not Me. While Madonna is a master at re-invention, after reflecting on the concert, I suddenly realized that Madonna, in a way, could represent the many “selves”, other than our authentic self , that we can all hide behind at work, at home, in all aspects of our life. It is this need to reinvent oneself that can be our biggest asset or a slow, deadly slide. This reflection hit home for me, as during the course of this year, in particular, I have taken a deep...
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3 Tips for Writing a Best Selling Book

If I had a buck for every time I’ve advised would-be authors how to write a best selling book, I’d be, well, not rich, but quite comfortable. Here’s what I always advise. Imagine that you had the complete, avid attention of every person on this planet - for thirty seconds.  What would you say? Or if you don’t have a message for the world, who is your ideal audience and what message do you most want to convey? Remember, you only have thirty seconds. When you can crystallize a compelling message, you are ready to write. Without clarity and passion, you’ll waste precious time and energy heading down rabbit trails that will leave your readers confused, possibly bored. Important: Say it out loud. Time it. Then write it down.   You don’t need to find your voice.  You already have one - yours.  Use it. Write as if you were...
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Find Your Voice, Consult With Your Own Organization

Where exactly do you look when you’ve lost your voice? It’s not like you can find it underneath the couch cushions or behind the filing cabinet. When did your voice disappear? In a previous life, one where I could comfortably use the words, crappy and job in the same sentence (under my breath or out at a bar with friends), I used to tuck my real voice in my bag on the way into work. It was conveniently buried under my fear and my need to be liked. I substituted it with the pre-programmed, Kool-Aid consuming, yes I’ll get right on that, whatever you say, voice. Where did you put yours? You know where it is… so go get it! Here’s your chance! Put a different hat on today. Take a new look at the issues facing your organization. Take yourself out of the middle of it and see it...
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President Obama's First 100 Days

In April of 2008, an article by Ellen McGir t in Fast Company attempted to explain the President’s appeal, particularly to young constituents. McGirt wrote, “While a visionary puts forth a specific plan to be implemented, an adaptive leader works with constituents to devise one together.” And that Obama... “reinforces the notion that everyone is included and that this movement is actually a conversation to which everyone is invited.” Bravo! The challenge is that when President Obama gathers around him people with competing perspectives in order to arrive at the best possible decisions for all of us, ingrained human behavior and politics as usual will get squarely in the way. If ever there was a time to transform an ineffective “culture”, this is it. I am not neutral. I believe that the President’s administration should: Engage in fierce conversations from the very beginning.   Have conversations during which those at...
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