The Government Finance Officers (GFOA) of US and Canada has issued an "End the Acronym" policy statement urging all stakeholders to refer to the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report as just that or as the "Annual Report" or even say each letter of the former acronym individually "C. A. F. R." As the premiere professional organization of government finance officials, GFOA is challenging a population that loves acronyms to discontinue one of the most widely used.
It is about upholding the profession's ethics. The acronym sounds like a slur to a more international audience and GFOA has placed a high value on Diversity and Inclusion in its new Code of Ethics. This got me to thinking about how the Code has changed. I had been using the old code in teaching and training for years, so I pull out my synopsis of it a lined it up with the top level statements of the new code (in a spreadsheet, of course!):
What was most striking in this comparison was the use of "I" statements in the new code. That and broad statements of principles. It is simultaneously more expansive and more succinct. Overall, a very impressive change. When I dug a little deeper I found the YouTube video GFOA produced for the new code. At time of writing it has 3 likes (one of which is mine!) Give it some kudos if you too are impressed by GFOA's more holistic approach to ethics and how government finance strives to make the world a better place. After all, what we budget and what we measure is ultimately a statement of values.
And speaking of values, GFOA has also come out with a publication to take inclusion up a notch and address directly issues of racial justice and the concept of defunding the police. Whether that phrase inspires or exasperates you, one thing for sure is that local governments and finance officers will sit at the cross roads of divergent views. GFOA has taken the topic head on and produced various resources.
Coaching and facilitation helps organizations and individuals address important topics in a proactive and forward-focused way. I feel honored to be in this space and to do work imbued with peace and accountability. If you are tackling issues of ethics as an individual or in your organization, finance or otherwise, please let me know if my services can help.
Twenty-five years ago today, a remarkable speech was given. So much as happened since Hillary Clinton's speech to the 1995 UN Conference on Women in Beijing on September 5, 1995. It is important to harken back to what a moment in history it was. Read the full text of the speech to appreciate its full measure without editorial.
Spring cleaning brings about an opportunity to re-familiarize yourself with your items and make some decisions. Books are especially challenging. Do I keep this or pass along for someone else's learning? My process is to randomly open the book and read a passage. If it still resonates, keep. So it was that I came across the Pocket Pema Chodron in my collection. My random selection produced the following story/passage:
I was once invited to teach with the Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, my teacher's eldest son, in a situation where it wasn't exactly clear what my status was. Sometimes I was treated as a big deal who should come in though a special door and sit in a special seat. Then I'd think, "Okay, I 'm a big deal." I'd start running with that idea and come up with big-deal notions about how things should be.
Then, I'd get the message, "Oh, no, no, no. You should just sit on the floor and mix with everybody and be one of the crowd." Okay. So now the message was that I should just be ordinary, not set myself up or be the teacher. But as soon as I was getting comfortable with being humble, I would be asked to do something special that only big deals did.
This was a painful experience because I was always being insulted and humiliated by my own expectations. As soon as I was sure how it should be, so I could feel secure, I would get the message that it should be the other way. Finally, I said to the Sakyong, "This is really hurting. I just don't know who I am supposed to be," and he said, "Well, you have to learn to be big and small at the same time."
Big and small at the same time. This helped me to reflect the challenge facing community leaders, and on my coaching role as they draw on their abilities from within. Inspires me! And I am keeping this book, as well as passing it along here.
The TED talk by leadership expert Simon Sinek provides insight into the importance of trust in human relationships and organizations. Inspiring words and good advice, especially for governments and nonprofits with small budgets and scarce resources. Want to make the most of funds available? Hire and empower good employees and don't micromanage them . Are you an executive or employee feeling micromanaged by a board? Consider whether or not the seven big questions are driving them. If not, seek help. When considering the problem and costs of micromanaging, the lack of trust is the consistent theme.
Susan Hockenberry's blog of suggestions for info and updates.