“The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.” – Walt Disney
The Golden Rule, which is a good rule, for the most part, doesn’t always apply in today’s complex workplace environment.
Not everyone wants to be treated like “I” want to be treated.
These days training and development are all about, “One size fits one.”
The Association for Talent Development explains it this way: One size fits one is a movement toward providing learning to employees, clients, or children in a way that makes sense to the learner and not to the trainer, teacher or instructional designer.
CPA firm managers are often not very in-tune with the best ways to motivate and engage the people they supervise. In many CPA firms, everyone is trained the same and it is often a very long-standing aspect of the firm culture. Also, accounting firms do not spend enough money on educating and training their managers on how to manage PEOPLE.
One size fits one, acknowledges that people are motivated by immensely different things. For example, one person loves to be recognized publicly and another dreads being the center of attention.
Qualified managers (and partners) are good at understanding people and they adjust their supervisory style accordingly.
“Every action done in company ought to be with some sign of respect to those that are present.” – George Washington
Well-managed CPA firms got the sexual harassment message a long time ago. But, have you continually educated your new team members and your long-time team members about the importance of a sexual harassment policy and how it works?
Your CPAs are advising your small business clients on many topics and making them aware of the need for a sexual harassment policy should be one of those topics.
Sometimes small businesses (like CPA firms and their clients) have a very casual, almost collegiate culture. There is nothing casual about sexual harassment.
Adopt a policy and be sure it is well communicated.
Be sure your people understand what sexual harassment is and what is suppose to happen if it occurs.
Always follow your policy.
Address sexual harassment before it occurs and you must adopt a zero tolerance policy. Many small businesses don’t want to upset their casual culture and try to ease into some sort of sexual harassment policy. There is no easing in – no middle ground. Let everyone know that going forward there will be zero tolerance for sexual harassment.
If you have a policy and don’t follow it, it is a killer – lawyers love it.
“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.” – Aesop
This week, I am celebrating completing ELEVEN years of blogging every business day on the topic of CPA firm management. Here’s an introduction I did on January 5, 2006 – my third blog post. Notice how many of the publications I recommended no longer exist.
My theme, behind all of the practical information I share, began in 2006 and will continue into 2017: Be kind and practice civility.
“Civility means a great deal more than just being nice to one another. It is complex and encompasses learning how to connect successfully and live well with others, developing thoughtfulness, and fostering effective self-expression and communication. Civility includes courtesy, politeness, mutual respect, fairness, good manners, as well as a matter of good health.”
Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.
Best holiday wishes to all of my clients, accounting profession friends and all followers of my daily blog. I sincerely appreciate the many, many people in my life who keep me challenged, engaged, happy and so blessed to be working (and knowing) the wonderful people in the CPA profession.
As we go into 2017, be sure NOT to get STUCK in the past. Instead, embrace and welcome the many challenges of the future. I triple-dog dare you to make future-focused changes in your firm and in your life this coming year!
Don’t you feel wonderful when you hear those three little words?
Sure you do, everyone wants to hear “I love you.” I hope you hear them and say them daily. But wait, that’s not the “three little words” I’m talking about.
The three little words I’m referring to are three you do not want to hear. You probably hide from them and deny them.
I hear this saga very often from CPA firm managing partners, “We don’t have a succession plan. There is just no one at our firm who can take over from us. There is no one here that can do what WE do.” My question is “Whose fault is that?” – – – Baby It’s You.
If you are the managing partner at a firm (or a sole proprietor), you are in charge. The future of the firm is in your hands.
If your people are not good managers, relationship builders or passionate about the firm…
If they don’t show up at the appointed time….
If they spend too much time on the web and social media for personal reasons during the day…..
If they put too much time in a job because they don’t have a budget….
If they make you cringe some days because of the way they are dressed….
Who is responsible for these behaviors? The responsibility for all of these kinds of issues comes back to you…. the leader. Baby, it’s you.
Enjoy the Shirelles singing Baby It’s You.
Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.
Never hesitates to go above and beyond to better serve the client (and make you look good).
Never misses a day of work.
Is the first to volunteer to guide and improve the skills of less experienced team members.
There is a very meaningful way to recognize them and thank them. Personally, handwrite a note to them.
This is a great time of year to write a note inside a Christmas card and put it on their desk. Or, buy a pack of Christmas thank-you notes and write a personal message inside and give them to people you want to recognize.
A few written words can speak volumes.
When I worked at a growing firm, I liked to use little notecards called WOW cards. If someone deserved an extra bit of recognition, I would write a brief message on the small card and place it on their keyboard or desk.
The message is appreciated but so is the fact that you actually took some time to think of them and write some personal words of encouragement.
Unless you are living in the Dark Ages you have probably heard “All I Want for Christmas is You,” Mariah Carey’s big Christmas hit. A special treat this year is James Corden doing Carpool Karaoke to the song with a variety of big-name stars, including Mariah herself (plus Adele, Elton John, Selena Gomes and so on).
How does this relate to you and your leadership role in an accounting firm? Whether you are a managing partner, any partner, firm administrator, marketing director, IT director, human resources director, CPA manager, senior or even a beginning staff member – people look to you for help. Staff members help each other, admin help staff, managers and seniors help teach and coach less experienced people and partners lead the entire parade by setting the example for everyone.
Partners often struggle with what to give their employees for Christmas. Year after year it becomes a bigger challenge in trying to be thoughtful and unique. I’m sure they appreciate a ham, fruit basket, gift cards and cash but what they also want is YOU.
Some partners often skip the holiday lunch in the office or the after-work holiday gathering. Maybe the partners in your office skip most of the in-office CPE sessions or rarely attend the full-staff meetings. Are some absent at the after tax season party?
Many employees want you to talk to them. They want you available to answer questions. They want you to share success stories. They want to interact with you in a more casual environment (like a party or reception). They want you to provide review notes more quickly. They want you to recognize their efforts.
“It is one of the most beautiful compensations of this life that you cannot sincerely try to help another without helping yourself.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
A great client recommends your firm to a friend. A well-respected banker or attorney gives your firm’s name to one of their clients (probably along with two other firm names).
The first thing that person does is Google your firm. Isn’t that what you would do? Of course, it is.
Your website must impress them. It must be modern looking and up-to-date and it must immediately give them information.
The goal of your website is to convert visitors into clients. Make it easy for them by having your contact information easily available. Most visitors will immediately want to know where you are located. If you have only one office, put the street address at the bottom of the home page.
Clients and prospects want to see pictures of real people and be able to email them for more information. So, don’t make your email address a mystery.
Many practitioners tell me they don’t list staff emails or use their pictures because headhunters will find them. Headhunters will find them anyway so why not make it easy for your clients and prospective clients to connect with your team members?
Be sure the commonly used social media icons are on your home page: Twitter, Linkedin, Facebook, Instagram, Blog, etc. Prospective clients want to know as much as possible about your accounting firm.
But, remember they want to know how you can help THEM. So don’t make the website all about YOU – communicate how you can help clients save tax dollars, etc. Testimonials from current clients are a great way to communicate the value of your firm.
They might not need me; but they might. I'll let my head be just in sight. A smile as small as mine might be precisely their necessity.