Friday, December 13th, 2013

A Huge Challenge For CPAs Is The Simple Act of Recognizing Their Top Talent, Their Superstars

Star slidePerhaps you have noticed from my blog posts, I have been traveling extensively since mid-October. The best part of that is that I have had the wonderful opportunity to speak to, and with, CPAs not only from the U.S. but from all of North America. I have spoken at several conferences and with several of my CPA firm clients.

I see the pain in their faces when I suggest that they should strive to do a better job of recognizing their top performers, their all-stars, top talent, super stars, whatever title you want to give them.

When I note that they don’t communicate to their Superstars that they are truly superstars because they are afraid of hurting the feelings of the other employees who are NOT superstars, I see heads nod, people smile and look at each other – – they know it hits home.

Now, the reason CPAs do this is commendable, they are SO nice – – they don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. Another reason they do this is that they AVOID confrontation, it makes them uncomfortable.

My advice, speak the truth. I like this quote from Pearl S. Buck:

“Truth is always exciting. Speak it, life is dull without it.”

You have 3 performance groups inside your CPA firm:

  1. Superstars
  2. Middle Stars
  3. Falling Stars

Recognize and reward the best performers. Help, counsel and mentor the Middle Stars on how they can become Superstars. Focus on the Falling Stars, work with them, give them resources and mentoring to help them improve. If they don’t improve, don’t tolerate it for too long.

I’ve talked to firm leaders who tell me they keep weak performers for many years because they simply don’t like to deal with firing them. Advice:  You are not doing them a favor! Often they can move on and find a position where they are a better fit.

I also like the quote below.

  • "He who praises everybody praises nobody."
  • Samuel Johnson

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