Archive for the ‘Culture’ Category

Thursday, October 18th, 2018

Individualized Employee Engagement Improves Culture

“If you pay peanuts, you get monkeys.” – Chinese Proverb

As you know, I am always reading and attempting to keep current on a wide variety of trends in the are of employment, employee engagement and workplace culture.

I came across a very interesting article on the Modern Healthcare site titled, Individualized Approach to Employee Engagement Improves Culture.

A recently hired graduate nurse asked Bon Secours Mercy Health if she could join the labor and delivery team.

But when the organization used its psychometric evaluation tool that analyzed her likes and dislikes, stress-induced behaviors, critical thinking skills, and other characteristics, it revealed that she was hardwired more like an emergency nurse. 

They are using big data to actually make the workplace more humanizing, rather than fitting all people into a specific slot.

Managers receive data that helps them tune their leadership style to a particular employee and help them acclimate.

“How do you build culture not only within your organization but across contiguous geographies? Communication is key,” notes Jim Dunn, chief human resources officer at Atrium Health.

“Focusing on change management and the transition process is where human resource executives can add the most value, he added.”

There are more interesting trends in this article. The way you hire and acclimate people may be moving to a completely new level soon.

  • It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and then tell them what to do; we hire smart people so they can tell us what to do.
  • Steve Jobs

Thursday, October 11th, 2018

Don’t Make Excuses

“He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else.” —Benjamin Franklin

In my consulting work, I hear about it all too frequently. In the workplace, there is a troublesome employee. I have heard many stories involving both males and females being the culprit.

This troublesome employee (often it is a partner in the firm) is well known for being difficult. He/She has been with the firm a very long time and is set in his/her ways. He/She might provide good client service but he/she is not a team player. For the people working with them, it means continually giving in to their wishes or risk their wrath. Even leaders back away from the situation.

The common excuse said many, many times over the years to a multitude of people who complain about him/her is: “That’s just the way he/she is.” Letting this go on too long will take a toll on firm morale.

Strong leadership is needed to keep an accounting firm on the track to profitability and success in the future. Quit making excuses for these renegades and take appropriate action. A lot of people will thank you.

  • Never make excuses. Your friends don’t need them and your foes won’t believe them.
  • John Wooden

Wednesday, October 10th, 2018

Simple Mission: Set A Good Example

“Example is not the main thing in influencing others. It is the only thing.” – Albert Schweitzer

You are a partner in a CPA firm.

One of the most important things you can do as a leader is set a good example.

When I ask CPA firm citizens who, in their firm, breaks the rules, ignores the established procedures and demands special treatment, the answer is always “the partners!”

Many challenges and frustrations that happen inside a busy CPA firm would be solved if EVERY partner would set a good example.

Sorry, I’ll get off my soapbox now.

  • Example is leadership.
  • Albert Schweitzer

Friday, October 5th, 2018

The Best Perks

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then is not an act, but a habit.” – Aristotle

Dan Hood, editor-in-chief of Accounting Today has summarized for us some of the most common perks offered by The Best Firms. He notes, “The Best Firms share a long list of attributes, policies and best practices that have become table stakes for recruiting and retaining top talent.”

Here is his list of perks and extras offered by The Best. Be sure to read his post to learn more about each perk. Follow Dan on Twitter.

  • Dress for your day
  • Giving staff more time
  • Closing the office at slow times
  • Food – and lots of it
  • Including family in firm events
  • Support for individual community service
  • A true commitment to remote work

I have found that several of these are offered by many firms, large and small. The one I wish more firms would address is the last one – a true commitment to remote work.

  • Dispirited, unmotivated, unappreciated workers cannot compete in a highly competitive world.
  • Francis Hesselbein

Monday, October 1st, 2018

I Love Small Firms

“A big business starts small.” – Richard Branson

I have heard the following numbers mentioned by consultants and AICPA leaders many times. I also use them often. I like to make people working in public accounting aware of the numbers.

There are approximately 46,000 CPA firms in the USA and the 500th largest firm has about 20 people and $3M in revenue. Most recently, I read these numbers via Accounting today in an article by Edward Mendlowitz of Withum. He also notes that small firms outnumber large firms 91 to 1.

In the article, I discovered that he and I have something in common. We like to focus our consulting efforts on smaller firms.

Over the years I have worked directly with over 100 firms and advised and spoken to thousands of CPAs, firm administrators, HR directors, marketing directors and, IT managers. I have a large following for my daily blog and tweets. I have found, much like Mr. Mendlowitz, that small firms need help.

These firms, unlike the larger firms, aren’t big enough to justify hiring full-time support professionals such as HR, marketing, and management professionals. They need and are willing to pay for outside resources that will help them manage better and improve operations.

I find leaders of smaller firms interesting, enthusiastic and receptive to new ideas and methods. Yet, much like accountants in larger firms, they find it very challenging to implement.

Be sure to read the article in the link above.

  • I’m convinced that about half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance.
  • Steve Jobs

Thursday, September 27th, 2018

There Is A Difference

“No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.” – Charles Dickens

Many firms have done a great job of focusing on employee engagement. But, there is more to the story.

Employee engagement and employee experience are not the same.

Employee experience is how the firm provides the employee with an environment, culture, and systems that meet their needs and enables them to do their work efficiently. Employee engagement is an element of employee experience and involves two-way communication.

Research tells us that there are workplace practices that are critical to creating a positive employee experience. They are:

  • Organizational Trust
  • Co-Worker Relationships
  • Meaningful Work
  • Feedback and Growth
  • Empowerment and Voice
  • Work-Life Balance

Here’s a great article posted on CMSWire by David Roe that will give you some interesting details and help you create an effective employee experience for your people.

  • It is literally true that you can succeed best and quickest by helping others to succeed.
  • Napolean Hill

Friday, September 21st, 2018

The 3 Kinds of Partners

“You have to take risks. We will only understand the miracle of life fully when we allow the unexpected to happen.” – Paulo Coelho

I recently watched a short video featuring my dear friend, Allan Koltin. He describes for us the three kinds of partners (and other CPAs) that we encounter inside CPA firms.

I definitely agree with his observation. The three types are Content, Climber and Crazy.

Watch Koltin’s video here. It’s only 2.21 minutes long and you will definitely be entertained and enlightened. Do you recognize yourself?

By the way – you have and need all three!

  • To expect the unexpected shows a thoroughly modern intellect.
  • Oscar Wilde

Wednesday, September 19th, 2018

Painful Procrastination

“Even if you’re on the right track – you’ll get run over if you just sit there.” – Arthur Godfrey

You continually face due dates. The major ones are painful.

You end up in a fire-drill mode to serve those last-minute clients. Sometimes the fire drills are even caused by you because of improper processes, procedures, and staffing.

Don’t let procrastination become a part of your firm culture and your daily life.

According to a post via Cornerstone University, procrastination can also affect us emotionally. For humans to maintain a fulfilling existence, we must have a sense of purpose and generate ongoing accomplishments. Failure here may lead to low self-esteem and a lack of ambition.

Read the entire post – Delay, Delay, Delay: How to Manage and Overcome Procrastination so it Doesn’t Manage You.

When it comes to those procrastinating clients, share this article with them. Explain how their tardiness has a negative effect on your entire team. Ask for their understanding and help. (It’s called training the client!). If they don’t co-operate, find them another accountant. Life is too short for all the stress these clients cause.

  • Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.
  • Jim Rohn

Friday, September 14th, 2018

Are You a Hurdle or a Linchpin? – Flashback Friday

“When you are living the best version of yourself, you inspire others to live the best versions of themselves.” – Steve Maraboli

If you asked everyone working inside your busy CPA firm to tell you the absolute truth, would they categorize you as a Linchpin or a Hurdle?

Read more about how to become indispensable in this flashback post from November 2017.

 

 

  • If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.
  • John Quincy Adams

Tuesday, September 11th, 2018

Trust Those Around You

“The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them.” – Ernest Hemingway

Trust is a word that is thrown around the CPA profession all of the time. “Most Trusted Advisor” is familiar to most of you. CPAs have been claiming that mantra for many years now.

I see that the AICPA even has a Trusted Client Advisor Toolbox and Workshop.

Let’s explore trust a little deeper as it exists inside accounting firms. Here’s a familiar story about firm administrators. The administrator is an experienced professional. He/She takes over most of the day-to-day operations of the firm from the partners and implements procedures to make processes flow smoothly inside the firm. Soon the managing partner is distanced from the details (a very good thing) and can focus on managing the partners. The managing partner trusts that the firm administrator will take care of things.

Trust imparts obligation. The firm administrator takes that responsibility very seriously and works diligently to not disappoint the partners.

In my consulting work, I have experienced many situations where staff members do not trust the partners (owners). Building trust that goes both ways is a continual activity in a firm with a healthy culture. Not there yet? Keep working at it.

  • Trust is the lubrication that makes it possible for organizations to work.
  • Warren Bennis