Tuesday, February 22nd, 2022

Trying To Improve

“He who stops being better stops being good.” – Oliver Cromwell

I know so many excellent firm administrators (practice managers, office managers, COO’s, etc.) who really care about their CPA firm. Notice I say “their” because most of them really think and act like they are owners in the firm. By the way, most of them are not owners. I will also include HR Directors and marketing directors in this group. They are all professionals supporting other professionals.

These key players in the firm want the firm, and its people, to continually improve. They read about or hear about a new way of doing something, they research, weigh the pros and cons, and then recommend the new process to the partners. The partners agree and the new process is announced to the entire staff. The firm provides an adequate amount of training and the new system is embraced. Well, almost.

One, maybe two, partners or managers simply refuse to follow the new procedure. They are comfortable with the old way and cling to it desperately.

Then the firm administrator and/or the managing partner also becomes desperate and begins to nag the offenders. This goes on for a while. To the firm administrator, one or two people are breaking the law. They are criminals. They don’t support the team or the firm. Nagging stops and significant frustration sets in. After all, they are only trying to introduce efficiencies that will result in less stress and in the firm making more profit. They believe the new way will improve everyone’s work life.

A quote from Agatha Christie is what I am offering today to those of you who are very frustrated and disappointed in a situation like this.

“You might be wanting to improve everyone’s life for them. But nobody can do that. If people want to improve their life, they have to do it themselves.”

Rather than suggest and nag, you have to prove to them how it will benefit them, personally. Evidently, they do not care how it helps the firm. Early in my consulting career, I suggested that “you have to get all your partners on board.” I soon came to realize that it is rare to be able to get ALL your partners on board. Keep working with the healthy part of your firm and wait for the slow adapters to eventually drag themselves along.

  • "To succeed in this world, you have to change all the time."
  • Sam Walton

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