Today, I would like to recommend a book that maybe you are not as familiar with as some of the others I recommend. When I first read Leadership and Self-Deception, I was amazed and it opened my eyes to many behaviors that I had never explored before. It also opened my eyes to what others often did in the workplace (and in home life) that they don’t even think about.
I don’t often re-read a book. I have read this one 3 times over the years and given copies to people working on their leadership skills.
From the book:
Self-betrayal – An act contrary to what I feel I should do for another is called an act of “self-betrayal.”
Self-betrayal is the most common thing in the world, Tom,” Kate added, in an easy manner. “Let me give you a few examples.”
You are in bed and you hear the baby cry at 1:00 a.m. You should get up and tend to the baby but you pretend you are asleep and wait for your wife to hear the baby.
You jump on the elevator, in a hurry, an see a man hurrying to get aboard but you just let the door close. You have the immediate sense, I should have caught the door for him but I didn’t.
Maybe it’s a time when you felt you should apologize to someone but never got around to it.
There was a time when you had some information that would be very helpful to a co-worker but you didn’t share it.
They are all examples of self-betrayal, times when I had a sense of something I should do for others but didn’t do it.
Here’s a short video setting the stage for reading the book.
The book focuses on a problem. As Bud says to Tom, “You have a problem. The people at work know it; your spouse knows it; your mother-in-law knows it. I bet even your neighbors know it. The problem is that YOU don’t know it.”
I focused on and inflated her faults when I needed to feel justified for mine.
I had an HSD yesterday. Ron Baker calls these High Satisfaction Days.
Baker was the speaker yesterday at the Ohio Chapter of the Association for Accounting Administration that meets at the offices of the state society in Columbus.
As expected, Baker drew a crowd. Many of the attendees had never had the opportunity to hear him speak in person.
I have. Many times. Why? He makes me THINK, he helps me open my mind and learn new things and look at things in a different way….. His message is so much more than pricing.
Just one highlight from yesterday - the Five Cs of Value. For a firm to price on purpose, it must understand the Five Cs.
Baker suggests following:
Comprehend what value means for customers. Listen for wants rather than needs. “…what customers buy and consider value is never a product. It is always utility, that is, what a product or service does for them.” Peter Drucker. Or as Charles Revson, founder of Revlon said many years ago, “In the factory we make cosmetics; in the drugstore we sell hope.”
Create value for customers. The customer experience is more that just a product. If they are time starved, make every interaction fast and easy. If they crave connection, add those personal touches.
Communicate the value you create. What customers really care about is WIIFM (what’s in it for me). First address the core need of the potential customer to get his or her attention. Then describe your product/service only in terms of satifying that need or want.
Convince customers they must pay for the value. People buy emotionally and justify intellectually. When the potential customer arrives at the “buy now” screen or physical point of purchase, kick in the rational arguments: money saved, service guarantees, happy client testimonials.
Capture value. You must capture the value you provide by utilizing the appropriate pricing strategy.
I was very proud yesterday because two of my clients (2 people from each firm) were in the room who are actually Pricing on Purpose. No timesheets are used inside their firms. Thus, the attendees had the opportunity to hear, first-hand, what it is like.
I’ve always said…. imagine the top quality, young talent your firm could attract if they didn’t have to track and submit their time every day.
As the loyal followers of this blog know, I am not aligned with any particular vendor or supplier of services to the CPA profession (except for my sister company, SurveyCPA). I try to stay independent so that I can continually let CPAs working in public accounting know about various resources available to them.
Today I had an interesting conversation with Randy L. Hultz – Director, Performance Strategies with SilkRoad’s WingSpan a performance review, evaluation and management software. I was talking with Mr. Hultz on behalf of one of my clients who is investigating their product.
I was impressed, especially because Mr. Hultz, as a CPA, used to work for a large CPA firm in the HR area and actually used WingSpan. This product has specific features to meet the complex needs of public accounting.
Just wanted to make you aware in case this is the summer you are going to finally embrace an HR software package to make all your HR functions operate more smoothly.
If someone is going down the wrong road, he doesn't need motivation to speed him up. What he needs is education to turn him around.
I think all of you know that I try my best to keep you informed of the various products and services “out there” in the accounting world that might help you make your CPA firm a better place. I like to share topics that might help you build strong teams within your firms and also help you serve clients.
Today, I just wanted to share this video because it is interesting, fun and beautifully done.
Experts tell us that we learn more and better when we are told a story. Check out this story of a small business owner, Arthur, a tree-house architect, Lucy, his bookkeeper and Charles Green, his accountant.
Are you telling stories about your firm and how you serve clients?
When someone is mean to me, I just make them a victim in my next book.
New website and rebranding for Anders made me say, Wow!
I’ve been nagging CPA leaders to “make this your year of website” for several years now. That’s why I am always so thrilled when I see another great firm take the step.
In fact, I often get questions directly from CPA partners. Here is one such conversation not long ago:
Long-time partner in a CPA firm: “Rita, what would you say our firm’s brand is?”
Rita: “I don’t know what your brand is. I can’t tell.”
Partner: “Me either!”
Marketing and design agency Atomicdust has modernized the visual identity of Anders, a St. Louis-based CPA and advisory firm. They helped the firm modernize.
Anders (formerly Anders Minkler & Diehl), is an advisory firm that caters to privately held companies and high-net-worth individuals – much like most of you reading this blog. They hired Atomicdust to create a focused visual identity that would help the Anders brand stand out from the CPA pack.
I liked Atomicdust’s 2-minute video “story” on their home page. Especially this quote from Mike Spakowski, Principal on the topic of how he hires people - When people are passionate about other things it is a benefit for clients.
So sure, start with a slogan. But don't bother wasting any time on it if you're merely going for catchy. Aim for true instead.
My mission is to help CPAs become and remain competitive by the way they focus on their own business. Below is a great video from Jason Blumer, CPA and Xero that will help you understand where the world of accounting is going. I like what he has to say about social media, “You use it to build relationships.”
It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves.
I have been blogging about CPA firm management for over SEVEN years – every work day and usually once on the week-end.
So far this year, 2013, I have made 29 posts that I have put under the category of Communication. Page down and look at the categories on the right. Click on “communication” and scan the posts. I think you will sense how strongly I feel about open, honest, frequent communication at all levels inside a CPA firm.
Twenty-nine in 4 months. You can imagine how many I’ve done over seven years. Why? Because if HONEST communication isn’t part of your culture, you are probably not building a firm that will last for the long-term.
Your owners will merge-up, bail-out or retire.
Your mediocre performers will remain at the firm until this happens.
Your top talent won’t know when it happens because they will have already quit and moved on to more promising pastures.
Times have changed. You used to be able to keep people in the dark. They worked, you paid them and they were trained not to care about what you were thinking and where the firm was going.
Times have changed. You used to be able to dodge your partners’ questions, skip partner meetings and simply not be honest on how you feel about activities inside the firm. You are skilled at avoiding confrontation.
Now, we have a whole generation that is hooked on communication. Plan now for how your firm is going to adjust, embrace and thrive with honest communication.
My friend, Rebecca Ryan is a member of The Advisory Board, along with Gary Boomer, Gary Shamis and Allan Koltin. Many of you managing CPA firms have heard Ryan speak on the topic of employing and retaining the next generation of worker. She definitely makes you think! Some call her a human spark plug.
Her new book, ReGeneration, is coming out in June. It’s about the future of America, and it’s based on key trends. It’s not targeted at CPA firms…but towards leaders who want to make a difference and be out ahead of trends. The most innovative CPA firm leaders will get a lot out of it.