Thursday, February 12, 2009

TO: Mr Stumpf, CEO, Wells Fargo

Mr Stumpf-

The recent news of Wells Fargo going to Las Vegas to extravagantly celebrate its success was poor judgment and lacked thoughtful consideration. As a customer and client of Wells Fargo, I am deeply disturbed by the insensitivity of Wells Fargo to its customers, to our nation and to the world community at this critical time. I am glad you decided not to go, but this only came after an out cry from many.

Trust in our economic system, big business and the government is at an all time low. Trust will make or break any relationship. Joseph Campbell, author of the The Power of Myth, pointed out to Bill Moyers in June 1988 PBS interviews that the tallest building in the community is the keeper of the values and core beliefs of the community. In the 14th century, the tallest building was the church. In the 18th century, the tallest building was the government or palace. As we drive into America's major cities today, the tallest buildings belong to business, many of which are bank buildings! Wells Fargo needs to model-the-way in fiscal responsibility, economic justice and the use of power. At a time when many of our fellow Americans and citizens of the world are lacking the material essentials of life, extravagant celebrations lack empathy. Consider the BIG picture and the lives Wells Fargo touches directly and indirectly.

Let's be clear, Edward Deming defined the customer as anyone who relies on our work. Thus, Wells Fargo has external customers like me and internal customers who are the employees of Wells Fargo. I acknowledge, what gets celebrated gets repeated. Wells Fargo's employees should celebrate success. Choose to celebrate in such a way all served by Wells Fargo can feel good and perhaps share the pride. Overuse and misuse of power demonstrates self-interest. Please use your power with the nation and world's well-being in mind rather than just Well Fargo.

Be guided by wisdom. Act with humility. Choose to celebrate within the spirit of these times. Make me feel good about the company I keep as I write my checks to Wells Fargo.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Can you keep a secret?

Do you have a secret(s)? Why?

Do you stress over people discovering your secret(s)?

What would happen if your secret(s) was revealed?

How much time and energy do you use keeping your secrets?

Have you shared your secret(s) with God, Papa, Yahweh, Allah? How did that feel?

Have you shared your secret(s) with another human being? How did that feel?

The Double Secret Room

My current office is in a lovely old manor built in the very early 1900's. It has a double secret room! This room was where the home's original owner had his wine cellar during prohibition! To get to this double secret room requires knowing several things. First, you need to know which room in the house holds the doorway to the double secret room. You need a key to unlock this door. Upon entering the door, you need to know about two hinged shelving units and how they move! Upon completing this maneuver, you need to remove shelves that appear built into wall! Next, you need to know the secret compartment to open so you can reach in and grab the latch to slide the wall! All this complexity to keep this double secret room from being discovered by the unwanted!

Think about secrets you have. Do your secrets have complexities? It took a lot of attention to detail, planning and thoughtful construction to create this double secret room! Have you given your secrets lots of attention, careful planning especially around the "what if..." is your secrets are discovered? It took a lot more energy and careful measures to create this double secret room. What kind of energy and measures have you taken with your secrets?

Consider these quotes:

Our real sickness is in our secrets. Alcoholics Anonymous

Nothing makes us so lonely as our secrets. Paul Tournier

You can not hide from your influence. Anonymous

Secret considerations

Life is a dance. Dance may involve partners. Dance may have an audience. No matter how you dance, with whom you dance, where you dance - everyone should dance! You can not dance freely when you have secrets! Life is a journey full of experiences. Secrets keep us from fully enjoying the journey and completely being immersed in life's experiences. Secrets isolate and prevent relationships from growing and developing. Secrets keep us becoming fully human, keeping us vulnerable and preventing others from helping us to heal. Secrets prevent life from speaking to us and prevent us from hearing what life has to say and offer to us. Secrets prevent us from loving ourselves, thus we are prevented from truly loving others. Secrets are rooted in our past and cause us to worry about the future thus prevent us from living in the now. Secrets prevent us from living out loud.

I am convinced the real evil in the world is what works to separate us from God and from our neighbors. Secrets are evil. Secrets thrive on maintaining separation.

Giving up your secrets

We only give up what does not own us. Anonymous

Who can you trust so may reveal and confess your secret? God, Father, Papa, Allah, Yahweh, is the beginning. What human being can you reveal and confess? When will you do this? What don't you want to happen from this revelation? What do you want to have happen because of this revelation? What are pitfalls, the perceived problems and the obstacles to making this confession? When can you start living a more full life?

Leadership and Secrets

If you believe leadership in a flat world is every body's responsibility... If you believe leadership in a flat world is about modeling the way... If you believe leadership in a flat world is about being relational... If your believe leadership in a flat world requires openness and transparency... then, can leaders have secrets?

Experience Keeping Secrets

Have you played the game Mafia? Go to for rules. Play the game. Debrief. How did it feel to be wrongly accused? If you were the "mafia" how did it feel to keep it a secret. How did you protect your secret? If you were the "mafia," how did feel to be found out?

Suggested Video

Secrets and Lies (1996) - (Maurice) Secrets and lies! We're all in pain! Why can't we share our pain? I've spent my entire life trying to make people happy, and the three people I love the most in the world hate each other's guts, and I'm in the middle! I can't take it anymore!

Suggested Reading

tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom ISBN-0-385-4851-8 Doubleday 1997 "Forgive yourself before you die. Then forgive others." page 164

Mastery: The Keys to Success and Long-Term Fulfillment by George Leonard ISBN-0-452-26756-0 Plume 1991 "For the master, surrender means there are no experts. There are only learners." page 88

Addiction and Grace by Gerald G. May ISBN-0-06-065536-5 Harper and Row 1988 "Denial, repression and rationalization do not necessarily stop; they simply fail to keep the truth hidden." page 45