Tuesday, January 5th, 2021


“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” – Stephen R. Covey

If you have read The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey, you are familiar with Habit #5: Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood.

If you have not read The Seven Habits, buy it today and begin reading it. It would be a wonderful way to begin a new year. If you read it years ago, read it again.

Habit 5 is my favorite and provided me the insight to guide my own career.

Another quote from Covey: “If I were to summarize in one sentence the single most important principle I have learned in the field of interpersonal relations, it would be this: Seek first to understand, then to be understood.”

Most leaders in CPA firms want to be understood. You want people to understand why you are doing what you are doing and why you are thinking what you are thinking. After all, you are doing this to make your firm better, to make it more competitive, to make it more profitable and to make it a place where people will want to work.

When you take the time to listen (don’t be thinking what you want to say next!), you will begin to understand other people and this ultimately leads to them understanding you.

The people you work with come from varying backgrounds. Some are the first in their family to graduate from college. Some come from highly competitive and successful families. Others come to public accounting because they want to help people while other are motivated by financial rewards.

Leading these various types and creating a foundation of teamwork is going to be a huge challenge. Start with trying to understand each of them.

  • "Most of us spend too much time on what is urgent and not enough time on what is important."
  • Stephen Covey

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