Archive for the ‘Leadership’ Category

Tuesday, January 14th, 2020

Achieving Your Goals

“Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.” – Tony Robbins

I recently received my copy of the hireMAX Spotlight newsletter. I have enjoyed a long business friendship with the president and founder, Norm Bobay. hireMAX provides employee selection and development programs.

The newsletter article titled, 7 Steps To Achieve Your Business Goals, describes how Navy SEALs achieve their goals. There is a lot of good advice for CPAs who want to become more successful.

When most of us think about Navy SEALs, we think of their bravery and toughness. They take on dangerous missions and seem to achieve the impossible.

In the book The Navy SEAL Art of War by Rob Roy, he talks about how Navy SEALs accomplish these amazing feats. He explains that it’s more about the process than the ability. He lays out these seven steps that you can use to tackle your scariest goals.

  1. Always ask clarifying questions. SEALs ask very specific questions to understand their mission clearly. You need to ask yourself the Who, Why, What, When, Where, and How questions about your goal. Use each of these questions to better clarify your objective. You don’t want to go into a mission misinformed about what the objective of it was. The same thing is important when you go after achieving a goal.
  1. Inventory all of your available resources. This includes knowing what you have now and what’s coming down the road. Note your tangible resources such as technology and money. Don’t forget to include the intangible resources such as your network and your skills. Consider every resource available to you that can help you reach your goal.
  1. Clearly set up roles and responsibilities. If your goal involves help from your team, make sure they know their role and responsibility in achieving it.
  1. Maintain hyper-focus on your goal. Leaders don’t make excuses and they don’t let circumstances cause them to need an excuse.
  1. Think through all possible contingencies and outcomes. Be prepared to work around any problems that may arise. A failure to plan is a planned failure. 
  1. Train every day. SEALs train a lot. They practice over and over again until they’re stress-proof. You need to do the same. The more you train, the faster you’ll be. Training can help you quickly evade problems that arise. 
  1. The last step is to celebrate! Scratch that. This step is definitely not on the Navy Seals list. It’s great that you reached your goal but now you need an after-action review. Navy SEAL’s debrief after every mission. You need to do something similar. Look back to see if there are areas you can improve on when you go after your next goal. Rehash the mistakes you made and learn from them to do better next time.

Leaders can learn from Navy SEALs and utilize their processes in the business world. Implement the seven steps above and you’ll be on your way to achieving your next goal.

 

  • The only easy day was yesterday.
  • ..a Navy SEALs motto

Wednesday, January 8th, 2020

Punctuality

“Better three hours too soon than a minute too late.” – William Shakespeare

I admire punctuality. To me, it shows character and caring.

Here’s a true story. A CPA merged her practice up into a larger firm. She always practiced punctuality when dealing with clients and employees. She was looking forward to a scheduled meeting with her new partners. They realized she had some serious topics to discuss. She arrived at the conference room five minutes before the meeting time. She sat for 20 minutes before the two partners showed up. She felt it was a sign of disrespect. Thus, it set a tone for the meeting.

How do you feel when you have to wait for an appointment? I know it should be expected at a doctor’s office but it is still irritating.

Do you ever make your clients wait on you? Do you schedule a phone session with a client and call them 10 minutes late?

I hope you are never late for an individual employee performance feedback meeting. It tells them they are not important.

Being on time can be accomplished – make it a resolution for 2020 and stick to it.

  • I'm late, I'm late! For a very important date! No time to say 'hello, goodbye,' I'm late, I'm late, I'm late!
  • The White Rabbit in Alice in Wonderland

Monday, January 6th, 2020

Less Talk, More Doing

“Power should be reserved for weightlifting and boats, and leadership really involves responsibility.” – Herb Kelleher

January is here. Now you have an excuse for procrastinating on many things that need to be done inside your firm. Things that will help you keep pace with current trends in the CPA profession.

You have clients to serve – audits to perform, taxes to prepare – that’s a big part of what you do, especially January through April 15.

For many, the strategic plan, that you talked about last summer goes on hold for a large portion of the year. I suggest you follow Herb Kelleher’s advice:

Kelleher

 

  • You don't hire for skills, you hire for attitude. You can always teach skills.
  • Herb Kelleher

Monday, December 30th, 2019

Think About The Good Stuff

“Joy is what happens to us when we allow ourselves to recognize how good things really are.” – Marianne Williamson

As the year draws to a close, I hope you take some time to think about all the good things that have happened at your accounting firm this year and the things that made you smile and laugh. Often, we focus too much on mistakes and all of the negative drama that happens in the workplace.

  • How often has someone stepped in and helped you without asking?
  • How often has a mistake created a reason to simply laugh out loud?
  • Wasn’t the sack race at the firm picnic a hoot?
  • How did the team look in their Halloween costumes?
  • Didn’t that group of women from your firm have a great time at that Habitat for Humanity project?
  • Wasn’t it nice when that law firm provided donuts for the entire team?
  • Didn’t that particular manager do a great job of training everyone on that new software?
  • Wasn’t it amazing how hard those two young partners worked to land that huge client?
  • How did you feel when that special client sent a referral your way?
  • Life is not just about the good things or not just about the bad things. It is both. It all depends where you focus your attention.
  • Ann Marie Aguilar

Friday, December 27th, 2019

What People Think About Their Manager (Boss)

“Management’s job is to convey leadership’s message in a compelling and inspiring way. Not just in meetings, but also by example.” – Jeffrey Gitomer

Here is some feedback from employees regarding what matters most to them in relation to their manager (or leader). It will serve as some food for thought if you are a leader in your accounting firm.

“Practicing humility, that is, serving your people rather than insisting that they serve you.”

“A willingness to get into the trenches. In college, I worked for a deli. When we were very busy, my boss would get behind the counter and ask, “OK, what do you need me to do?”

“The best leaders have the ability to express kindness. My last two managers (one in a huge company and one in a small company) took the time to get to know me as a person and find out what motivated me.”

“Leaders need to be consistent in their principles. When you are unpredictable and make declarations based on whims, you paralyze the people beneath you.” 

“A leader should separate friendships from professional relationships. I loved one manager because she asked for input from every person on staff instead of playing favorites. She didn’t always give the easiest jobs to her “friends.”

“I like a person who has the ability to help people with opposing viewpoints find common ground.” 

What kind of leader/manager will you be as you begin your journey through 2020?

  • Many people hear your words, but they feel your attitude.
  • John Maxwell

Thursday, December 26th, 2019

A B C

“Being cool is when you win, you don’t get too happy; and when you lose, you don’t get too mad.” – Ice T

You are responsible for the management of a CPA firm.

It is a challenging role and can often be very stressful.

Don’t ever let them see you rattled. If you are nervous, everyone will be nervous. If you look tired, everyone will be tired. If you are angry, everyone will notice and feel the negative vibes.

That’s why I am suggesting three little words that will be your leadership mantra for 2020 and beyond.

Just remember A – B – C.

ALWAYS BE COOL!

  • If you've gotta think about being cool, you ain't cool.
  • Keith Richards

Wednesday, December 11th, 2019

2020 Is The Year To Invest In Your Future Leaders

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

For many years, I have been a fan of The Growth Partnership’s Partner Institute. This class is a must for those currently or soon to be in leadership positions with your firm.

Here is some information on their 2020 program.

If you’ve been considering enrolling your future leaders in The Partner Institute™ 2020, now is the time to act. There are only a few spots left. Once the class fills up, you won’t have another opportunity to participate in The Partner Institute™  until next year.

This three-year, multidisciplinary program will help your senior managers and young partners develop the personal, interpersonal, managerial, and organizational capabilities they need to assume leadership roles within your firm. For more information, follow the links below.

The next session of The Partner Institute™ begins January 16-18, 2020 at the Boardwalk Inn at Walt Disney World. Reserve spots for your team members by submitting registration and a deposit of $500 per person. Participants can attend the initial course and then decide if the program is right for them. If they elect to continue, we will invoice accordingly.

For more information, please visit The Partner Institute online

or call them at 877-226-0496, or email:

info@thegrowthpartnership.com.

  • Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.
  • John F. Kennedy

Monday, December 9th, 2019

Attracting & Developing Top Talent

“Whatever you do in life, surround yourself with smart people who’ll argue with you.” – John Wooden

Everyone is hiring. It used to be a seasonal event for accounting firms. Now, progressive firms have adopted a plan for continuous hiring. Firms are growing and it is important to hire before you have to.

My questions for accounting firms (and some things for you to consider):

Do you have a rigorous focus on professional development? Maybe this is why there is so much worry about succession. Why not be more generous with education dollars for your younger staff. Of course, you must give them technical training but don’t forget about the “success skills” (formerly known as soft skills) if you want them to become business advisors earlier in their careers.

Have you attracted and retained the smartest people? Young people are drawn to public accounting because they appreciate being able to work with smart, successful, creative, and hard-working people. Do the majority of your people fit this description? Do you keep too many mediocre performers?

Do your young all-stars have vast opportunities? Or, do they have to wait ten years to become a manager?

Do you reward your best performers with salaries beyond being competitive? Or, do you try to get by with the minimum of just keeping pace with average firms?

  • Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can't lose.
  • Bill Gates

Thursday, December 5th, 2019

Communication & Inclusiveness

“Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others.”  – Jack Welch

To develop an enthusiastic and loyal team it is important to communicate and be inclusive. Firm leaders should be doing this every day.

Many firms take the opportunity to do this on a higher level at least once a year with a full firm retreat, state of the firm event or similarly named gathering. I had the wonderful opportunity yesterday to be part of Kirsch CPA Group’s full firm event in Hamilton, Ohio.

IMG_0878The three partners, John Kirsch, Chad Williams, and Pete Abner each talked to the team about firm performance, future focus and the unveiling of a new training program that will provide each team member with a full-fledged career development plan that is backed up with extensive educational opportunities.

Recruiting and retaining isn’t enough. Now it is about attracting and developing. You want talented accountants to seek out your firm because your brand is a strong magnet for people who want to advance their careers in public accounting.

  • Become the kind of leader that people would follow voluntarily; even if you had no title or position.
  • Brian Tracy

Wednesday, November 27th, 2019

Three Little Words – But Not “Those” 3 Little Words

“The price of greatness is responsibility.” – Winston Churchill

Don’t you love to hear those three little words?

Sure you do, everyone wants to hear “I love you.” I hope you hear them and say them daily. But wait, that’s not the “three little words” I’m talking about.

The three little words I’m referring to are three you do not want to hear. You probably hide from them and deny them.

I hear the following comment often from CPA firm managing partners, “We don’t have a succession plan. There is just no one at our firm who can take over from me and do what I do.”  I ask them, “Whose fault is that?” And, the answer is three little words – Baby It’s You.

If you are the managing partner at a firm (or a sole proprietor), you are in charge. The future of the firm is in your hands.

  • If your people are not good managers, relationship builders or passionate about the firm
  • If your managers are not coaching less experienced team members
  • If your team spends too much time on the web and social media for personal reasons during the day
  • If they put too much time in a job because they don’t have a budget
  • If they make you cringe some days because of the way they are dressed

The responsibility for all of these kinds of issues comes back to the leader – Baby, it’s you.

  • The task of the leader is to gt his people from where they are to where they have not been.
  • Henry Kissinger