Michael Stoops, director of community organizing at the National Coalition for the Homeless, said he thinks Momany's intentions are in the right place, but he doesn't think it's right to charge $2,000 or for Momany to pay himself such a big fee.
Despite his good intention of raising awareness about homelessness Mr. Momany is shamefully trying to profit from it according to Kiser and Stoops.MJ Kiser, program director at Compass Housing Alliance in Seattle, said Momany's tour would use up much-needed resources like housing and food, and that his $2,000 fee "could help a homeless family for two months or provide meals for all  of the folks in Compass shelters one night."
If the experience is really about giving people an inside look at homelessness, then it shouldn't be about turning a profit, Stoops said.The $1,500 per participant that Mr. Momany retains isn't the large sum that Stoops and Kiser think it is. Out of those retained funds, Mr. Momany is required to pay federal and state taxes, Medicare and Social Security assessments, business liability insurance, as well as a host of other fees that are due to the City of Seattle and King County as well as any other agency that wants a piece of Mr. Momany's efforts.
This is a different kind of post for the Process Connections blog. Normally the discussions here are about process and process-related issues. Yet, I'm beginning to believe that becoming a leader and the act of leading people is also a process. So, this post is also about process, the process of growing into leadership.
Some of us learn the leadership lessons early and quickly. Others of us take a more measured approach. How the journey toward leadership takes place is really irrelevant. What is important is that we take the journey toward leadership honestly, courageously, and transparently.
After all, what is a leader, but someone who shows the way to others?
I was reminded of this fact very recently when my husband came to me with a letter he had written for distribution to his co-workers.
By way of background, it’s probably useful to know a couple of things about my husband Dan, and me. At first glance, I appear as the dominant half of our relationship. Dan is quiet in groups and with folks he doesn't know well. He is uncomfortable in large groups or crowds of people. In 1-on-1 situations and when he is comfortable, Dan has a droll and quick-witted sense of humor. Also he is an innately curious person, which ensures that conversations with him are always lively.
In public, business-related activities Dan is quite content to function as the unobtrusive, supportive spouse. In private, he holds me accountable for all of my actions, both personal and professional.
While my leadership journey has been in the context of entrepreneurship, startups, and leading organizations, his journey has been in a different arena. Still, the leadership qualities that he displays are significant for anyone who aspires to leading others.
As I read Dan’s letter to his co-workers, I was in awe of his honesty, courage, and transparency while addressing what is a very sensitive issue for him and our family. On a more personal level, I was reminded once more why I married this man and continue to admire the person that he is and has become.
Showing others the way — leading — isn't easy at times. It's difficult and it frequently involves being vulnerable to those around you. When you are transparent in your actions, you are indeed vulnerable! The flip side is that you also open yourself up so that others may make the choice to accompany you on your journey toward better leadership. The risk is definitely worth the reward, don't you think?
I sent a tweet this week from an article about women, leadership, and success (You can find it here). There was a particular statement in the lower half of the article that resonated with me.
What is really going on, as peer reviewed studies continually find, is that high-achieving women experience social backlash because their very success - and specifically the behaviors that created that success - violates our expectations about how women are supposed to behave.
Over the course of my career numerous folks, both female and male, have asked me if I ever felt discrimination in the workplace. My response then was, as it now is, “No, not really.” However, that wasn’t the right question. The more accurate question was: As a woman for whom achievement is important, have you encountered challenges personally or professionally?
My response to that question is a resounding, “Yes!” Further it would be great to be able to say that most of the hurdles were placed by men who were “put off” by my unfeminine traits, au contraire! There have been just as many women who were offended by my focus and determination to succeed.
Before I recount a very few of the incredible statements that have been made over the years, let me share some facts. I am married, and have been for thirty years, with four children — two girls and two boys. I have been in the workforce since I was fourteen, nearly forty years. Despite my drive and efforts in building five organizations — three consulting companies and two software companies — my greatest achievements are not what I’ve accomplished in business. They are the relationships that I have with my spouse, my children, and their spouses and friends.
So on with the comments…
“I understand that you run a business and it takes a lot of drive to do that, but could you please leave that behavior at work and not bring it in to your personal life?” A well intentioned girlfriend said this as a way to help me understand why I had so few dating opportunities.
“Who could have guessed that I would be sitting here talking with my best friend’s little sister about silver prices and the commodities market.” Believe me when I tell you, this guy thought he was complimenting me!
“Little lady, you may wear the pants at home, but here in this office you will do exactly as I say!” This was in response to my suggestion regarding a change to an accounting policy.
“You’ll never amount to anything more than being a technical writer!” This was in response to my announcement that we were going to need a course correction in our software development effort.
“It isn’t enough that you want to run this organization. You want to take over others as well!” This was in response to having worked with a leadership team for a non-profit association and helping take the organization from a cash negative to a significantly cash positive position.
So that you have a sense of time about these remarks, the first one happened in the early 80’s. The last one was shared with me around 2007.
By the way, these comments aren’t the worst that have been said to me or other women who set themselves on the path to excellence.
So the really vital question is: How, in the face of all that hostility, does anyone keep going and achieve success?
I can only share the approach that I have used and that has worked for me.
Believe in yourself
It is essential to know in the very deepest part of your being that whatever it is you are doing is right for you. Now, I’m not talking about extreme or “off the wall” behavior. I’m referring to your vision for your life and believing with every molecule in your body that it is right for you and it’s the direction to take.
Can belief in yourself be shaken? Absolutely it can, which is why you have friends and mentors who also believe in you and can help you evaluate during those critical moments when your faith in yourself is broken.
People who believe in you
I’ve been incredibly fortunate to have encountered really supportive people, both personally and professionally. My stepmother is among the first of those. With all of the really terrible, and funny, stories about stepmothers, mine is a remarkable woman. Further, she was my initial mentor on the path toward excellence. Her attitude was that success means you keep moving toward your target. The only way to fail was to give up. Yes, there were times when I felt like giving up. I wanted desperately to give up.
She would say to me, “Are you a girl/woman or a wimp?!?!?” Well, needless to say, I wasn’t a wimp. So, after those heart to heart conversations, I would put my “big girl” armor back on and persevere. You won’t be surprised, I’m sure, to know that occasionally I say the same thing to my daughters.
When I was starting my first business, there was an attorney who worked with me. It has occurred to me more than once that I could fill a book with all of things that I learned from him. Perhaps the most important was that people talk. That’s pretty simple, right?
His approach to that challenge was a bit more complex. Yes, people talk and what they think about you is none of your business. Penfield was very old fashioned and yet, he understood branding in a way that few people do.
“People are always going to talk. It doesn’t matter what they say just as long as they keep talking,” he would tell me.
It’s impossible for me to count the number times he said those words. Pen firmly believed that people could say whatever they liked, but it was my responsibility to pay attention and take charge of the dialogue.
It’s also important to have a friend who, in addition to believing in you, won’t let you dissemble — who keeps you accountable and graciously holds the mirror to reflect you back to you. If you have a person like that in your life, you are fortunate beyond description. I know that I am.
Success is a journey, not an endpoint
This last essential component is not to be taken lightly. All of us, and I include myself on this, get caught up in the “success is an end” thinking, as opposed to it actually being the journey. How many times have you, or someone you know, said, “If I can just get here (where ever or whatever ‘here’ is), then I will have succeeded.” I’ve said that, only to remember an hour or so later that “here” isn’t the point! “Here” is an accomplishment — a milestone — along the way.
The point is my vision — of the “who” (not the “what”) that I’m striving to be.
The point is that all of us have a unique journey that involves becoming a “who,” and not a “what.” Irrespective of being male or female, it’s that internal drive, or hunger if you will, to work at becoming a better human being. That is my vision!
Is anyone perfect in that pursuit? Far from it, we’re all human beings.
If I am living an active life, I’m making mistakes. Still, my drive and determination to succeed are just the means I use to move toward my vision. I am constantly reminding myself that my “achievements” are way stations on my journey.
Maybe it will be another thirty to forty years before women can exhibit leadership traits and not experience a social backlash. I truly hope that this isn’t the case.
Whether the situation with achievement oriented women and society changes or not, I’m going to continue believing in my vision of the “who” that I want to be. Further, I’m going to encourage my daughters and their daughters to do the same by asking them the important question that was asked of me, “Are you a woman or are you wimp?”
Each of these sites is useful for gaining an overall appreciation for your targeted organization. In addition to general information, Hoover’s provides a short list of competitors. BusinessWeek includes relevant news and names of key executives along with its company overviews. InsideView’s free subscription plan also provides recent annual revenues and number of employees in its company listings. Jigsaw provides a brief description of the organization along with some details regarding.
If you have a preferences regarding organization size or location, Hoover’s, Businessweek, and InsideView, can help with uncovering that information. If you want to know if the organization has multiple locations, Jigsaw can provide insight into where various employees work. If you want to know about the kinds of job titles in the organization, Jigsaw includes that information as well.
How is the company described on LinkedIn? Look for consistency among the company's web site, employee review sites, LinkedIn, its annual report, and 10K. Inconsistency could indicate a change of direction or could be a "red flag." Do you have any connections with company employees? Maybe you don’t have any direct connections, but second and third degree connections might help you find the information necessary for making a decision.
Look at recent departures on the LinkedIn company page. Who left recently? Where did they go? Is there a pattern to the departures? Also, the people who have left the firm could provide validation for questions or perceptions you develop from your research.
Finally, if the organization is local to you, find a discreet place where you can observe people going to and leaving the office. Do they look eager to get to work or eager to leave? Are they filing out of the building in silence or are various groups having conversations as they exit?
While doing all of this research may seem an undue amount of work, remember that you’re looking for a good fit. You’ll spend more than 2,000 hours each year working with colleagues to further the organization’s mission and goals. I’m betting that you don’t want to waste your time.
If you conduct a thorough survey of your targeted organization, i.e. do your homework, you can develop a decent "picture" of it and whether or not working there would be a good investment of your time.
… a great deal of the brain is hard-wired not to be hard-wired.
Like a beautiful, rigorously trained ballerina, we are hard-wired
to be flexible.1
“…[C]ulture is actually the fiber that brings us all together so that we can execute against the strategy once we have it.”Fred and Leslie are on the right track and it’s similar to an approach that was used by Ken Olsen in building DEC (Digital Equipment Corporation). The company’s strong innovation culture helped propel it to stellar heights during the 60’s, 70’s, and part of the 80’s.