Wednesday, October 26th, 2022

Someone Should Be In Charge

“If you want to kill any idea in the world, get a committee working on it.” – Charles Kettering

Accounting firms operate with the partnership model. I call it the Committee Model – everyone has a voice, and nothing gets accomplished. The most progressive firms have a strong CEO who uses a few close advisors and then makes decisions to move the firm forward. If that person abuses their power, makes poor decisions, etc., they are replaced. How does your firm work? Or, why doesn’t your firm work?

I like to share a Seth Godin post in its entirety occasionally. Here’s one that applies to CPAs.

Perfect might be the enemy of good in group dynamics and choice making

When one person needs to fix a wall, adjust a cabinet or choose what to serve for dinner, they can optimize their choice. Make appropriate trade-offs. Take responsibility for the path chosen.

But when a group of people are asked to do the same thing, it’s easy to err on the side of the pursuit of perfect, or to choose to average things out.

And so the legal team weighs in, and consultants are hired. And so, “but what if?” is always considered, regardless of how rare that outcome might actually be. Entire industries are built around creating deniable, average products and services that are sure to delight no one, cost more than they might and insulate the committee from backlash.

When you find yourself creeping in this direction, it might be worth asking what the risk is of simply suspending the committee and putting someone in charge instead.

  • "A committee is a group that keeps minutes and loses hours."
  • Milton Berle

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