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From Frogs to Finance

Last month you were all picturing frogs of one ilk or another. Now, literally, picture your frog; put a frame around it. Seriously, frame your frog.

What kind of frame did you pick? Square? Rectangular? Oval? Round? Plain? Ornate? Wood? Plastic? What is in the frame with the frog? Was the background a solid color or did you fill in frog habitat? Did you maybe put a crown and cloak on the frog, sit him on a pillow and then proceed into fond memories of childhood stories? Caught ya!

Just as we see things as we are, we lead as we are. Leaders who tend more toward left brain dominance tend to excel at process, organization, numbers and finance. Leaders who tend more toward right brain dominance tend to excel at building teams, inspiring others and visioning. Both are necessary parts of leadership. When we respect each other’s strengths and seek out complimentary expertise, we strengthen our own abilities.

However, when an organization or a profession, is weighted to left brain or right brain dominance, the tendency to peer deeply inside that particular frame is reinforced. We start to peer deeply inside to the point where we don’t see what we don’t see. This is usually where finger pointing begins.

Too often when we are deeply fixated within our own frame, we’re frustrated with one another. HR is saying, “Why do managers come storming in wanting me to fire someone right now? ” Managers are saying, “Why can’t HR just do what I want them to do without making me jump through hoops?” Senior leadership is frustrated that people aren’t picking their heads up and keeping an eye on the long term strategy. People on the frontline are frustrated that senior leadership doesn’t understand their day to day stresses.

Some frustration is normal; a lot of frustration isn’t. As a leader, recognize when the frustration is growing and take action. The first action is to understand what is in the other person’s frame. There are opportunities for improvement and growth in other frames. Csikszentmihalyi, one of the foremost authors in creativity research, notes that the most profound break through will come from a person who has depth knowledge in his or her frame AND a breadth knowledge of other frames.

This is not a new message. Our language is littered with reminders:

  • Walk a mile in my shoes
  • Seek first to understand
  • Look before you leap
As leaders, modeling for others is a key skill. Every leader in an organization can model looking through another’s frame.

At this point you got the frog and you’re wondering where finance is. Wait, here it comes. . . .

A frame the HR profession has been encouraged to look into is finance. That is, learning enough about the money side of the business to align HR to the financial strategy. A painless way to do that is EBIT-Duh!™ Finance for the HR Professional authored by yours truly and exclusively available at

Ok, I confess. I’ve taken a look into frame called “Sales and Marketing.” Whoa! You should see what their frog looks like!

For a free chapter, click here