Why give severance to a terminated employee?

by Joe on October 2, 2013

We naturally think of severance when companies downsize, but what about situations where employees are laid-off/terminated/fired/removed due to poor performance or destructive behaviors? Should these individuals receive severance? They weren’t chosen to remain in the job so why continue paying them through a severance arrangement? 

Well, lets take it through our new framework for business decisions:

“Given the core competencies of my organization and the assets under it’s control, how can I best direct the organization to serve? Which products or services could we produce that would best enable my community to flourish?”

We need to ask if the employee is a part of our community (yes- they are because you hired them in the first place!), and then we ask how do we enable him to flourish?  Do we produce enough revenue to enable us to remedy the employment situation yet enable the individual to have a bit of a runway to find work?  Granted, my first response when reading through this framework, was YOU ARE KIDDING ME!  Severance for this guy or that guy?  I was making the decision about me, and not about the community.  So it’s a daily challenge to think differently; but, it’s exciting to know that thinking differently is possible.

What to do when my child does not listen…

by Joe on September 20, 2013

It happens all the time, to each of us parents: our children disobey. They know its time for a diaper change and they run away, they hit us, or they do something you’ve asked them to stop doing. Such is a parent’s life right?

So reading today, I found a great explanation from Mr. Reaves, a father in Fort Thomas, KY, that poetically describes my approach for how I try to treat my son when he chooses evil (like not listening or running away from me):

“For instance, in our home, when one of us chooses evil, the others get to witness two of our basic beliefs reinforced. First, that evil always has negative consequences. It is my job as father to see that those negative consequences are administered consistently and effectively. Second, that redemption is always possible when you turn from evil and make it right.”

What awesome stuff – consequences and redemption.  Check out his other great thoughts about helping children walk through tough stuff: What Dad Thinks: 6 Ways to Train Your Child in Evil – What My Kids Read

Oh… and he still doesn’t sit still during a diaper change.

Where I’ve been

by Joe on August 8, 2013

It has been much too long since I wrote anything. I’m not even going to do the math. But, I haven’t exactly been doing nothing.  I’ve been doing this:

My son and I

And trying to teach him as best as I can and as best as his little heart and brain can learn, these things (among a million others – like how to sit still during a diaper change):

  • Contribution, not celebrity. — Which my friend Todd so brilliantly described as “In a western culture that seems to value celebrity with no merit whatsoever, we must begin to ask once more “what does it mean to contribute?””
  • Proverbs 2:2-4 — “turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding— indeed, if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure.”


Profit and Maximizing Shareholder Return Fail to Inspire

by Joe on March 27, 2012

Many of us spent 4 years at an undergraduate business school learning the question that we boil business down to is: “What will best maximize shareholder return?“ But over time, I’ve realized that it is a question that fails to inspire and move me, and I’m guessing others, to action. So I’ve spent the last few years exploring how to approach business outside of the uninspiring shareholder-maximization mentality. After years of searching, I stumbled across this:

“Instead of asking…Which choice will maximize my ROI? We ask instead, Given the core competencies of my organization and the assets under it’s control, how can I best direct the organization to serve? Which products or services could we produce that would best enable my community to flourish?”

At first take, I asked how you can ignore profit? Well, you cant. The argument here is that profit is what helps the business attract sufficient capital to continue growing and enabling greater and greater levels of community flourishing and service.

These two compelling questions are inspiring my actions on a daily basis. How would your world change if you focused on these two questions in lieu of maximizing ROI?

Thomas Merton Quotes: The Epilogue to Jerry Colonna’s guest post on A VC

by Joe on February 21, 2012

After reading what I’ve found to be one of the most well put together treatises of management with the subtitle of “On Becoming Your Self,” I thought I’d follow it up with a few quotes that have been useful to me as I’ve sought to be more fully myself.

Selected Thomas Merton quotes as an epilogue to Jerry Colonna’s guest post on A VC:

  1.  “One of the chief obstacles to this perfection of selfless charity, is the selfish anxiety to get the most out of everything, to be a brilliant success in our own eyes and in the eyes of other men. We can only get rid of this anxiety by being content to miss something in almost everything we do. We cannot master everything, taste everything, understand everything, drain every experience to its last dregs. But if we have the courage to let almost everything else go, we will probably be able to retain the one thing necessary for us -whatever it may be. If we are too eager to have everything, we will almost certainly miss even the one thing we need.
    Happiness consists in finding out precisely what the ‘one thing necessary’ may be, in our lives, and in gladly relinquishing all the rest. For then, by a divine paradox, we find that everything else is given us together with the one thing we needed. “ – from No Man is an Island
  2. “All men seek peace first of all with themselves. That is necessary, because we do not naturally find rest even in our own being. We have to learn to commune with ourselves before we can communicate with other men and with God. A man who is not at peace with himself necessarily projects his interior fighting into the society of those he lives with, and spreads a contagion of conflict all around him. Even when he tries to do good to others his efforts are hopeless, since he does not know how to do good to himself. In moments of wildest idealism he may take it into his head to make other people happy: and in doing so he will overwhelm them with his own unhappiness. He seeks to find himself somehow in the work of making others happy. Therefore he throws himself into the work. As a result he gets out of the work all that he put into it: his own confusion, his own disintegration, his own unhappiness. “ – from No Man is an Island
  1. “The deep secrecy of my own being is often hidden from me by my own estimate of what I am. My idea of what I am is falsified by my admiration for what I do. And my illusions about myself are bred by contagion from the illusions of other men. We all seek to imitate one another’s imagined greatness.If I do not know who I am, it is because I think I am the sort of person everyone around me wants to be. Perhaps I have never asked myself whether I really wanted to become what everybody else seems to want to become. Perhaps if I only realized that I do not admire what everyone seems to admire, I would really begin to live after all. I would be liberated from the painful duty of saying what I really do not think and of acting in a way that betrays God’s truth and the integrity of my own soul.” – from “No Man is an Island”

How can we enable each other to become more fully ourselves?  How can we enable our wives/girlfriends be more fully themselves and for them to do likewise to us?