Sunday, December 13, 2009


My Zimbio
Do you know people, as I do, who have detailed goals that they set about acheiving, every year? Life for them, seems compartmentalized, controlled and forward moving.

I'm reminded of my own younger days... and (believe it or not) large communist governments (the Soviet Union, for example). Everything was planned. Every detail was a component of an orchestrated mosaic. Neat. Clean. Wrote a good resume.

Of course, "neat" and "clean" don't seem to describe many successful lives, seems to me. Soviet Russia was incredibly inefficient because goals set sometimes weren't acheived, sometimes didn't make sense when the environment changed and didn't capitalize on smart people solving evolving problems every day.

I think there is no substitution for the energizing value of a good plan -- but somehow we need to be flexible (as individuals and organizations) to modify the plan to capitalize on exciting opportunities that evolve in front of us... and to drop a goal that no longer makes sense.

What's your New Year's Resolution?)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Credentials II

About a week ago, the 2010 winners of the Rhodes Scholarship were announced. A very impressive lot. Presumptuous to say I'd have won, but my undergrad advisor encouraged me to apply for a Rhodes after my thesis took a prize. At the time, I was anxious to get on with life and certain I would win a prestigious MBA or JD either during my tenure in the Army or after I fulfilled my scholarship commitment. I went on to win admission to, and graduate from, the best business school in the world, but still wonder, "what if," when the list of Rhodes Scholars is published every year.

These days I'm considering other credentials. The CISSP. The PMP. The CFA Charter. Like the CPA, CISSP, PMP and CFA credentials add experience requirements to a challenging test (or several tests). People typically study rather extensively for the test component of the credential and find the designation positions them clearly in the job or advisory market. The CISSP is a Cyber Security credential, while PMP is focused around project management. The CFA Charter, on the other hand, is intended to provide a standard experience base around financial instruments and investment decisions.

CPA's didn't prevent Arthur Andersen from stumbling into a disastrous engagement with Enron that resulted in a wide scale sale of its practices to competitors and financial ruin for many employees who invested many years in audit or tax work with integrity. I'm sure you or I could dig up plenty examples to similarly tarnish the CFA and PMP, though the CISSP may be too recent an arrival for much negative press.

Key to building knowledge is finding synergy with past experience and existing talents. Standard tests and programs validate we actually learn something from the pages we read and the work we do. I'd be interested in hearing comments on these credentials....