Archive for the ‘Leadership’ Category

Monday, October 15th, 2018

Influencing Others

“We never know which lives we influence, or when, or why.” – Stephen King
Per Forbes, here are some tips on how leaders can influence others. Influence is a very important aspect of getting things done inside an accounting firm. You might not have actual power but you can have an amazing amount of influence no matter what your role is at the firm.
Leadership and the 7 I’s For Influencing Others
  1. Identify the results you want.
  2. Illustrate your credibility.
  3. Invest the time in getting to know the people you wish to influence.
  4. Invite them to share their ideas.
  5. Investigate options that lead you to common ground.
  6. Intend an outcome that meets everyone’s needs.
  7. Improvise as needed.
You can read more about each of the 7 I’s here.
  • Never mistake the power of influence.
  • Jim Rohn

Friday, October 12th, 2018

In a Hurry?

Lots of experts tell us that millennials want to know how fast they will be promoted. While I agree that you must be able to explain how a career path plays out at your firm, I wonder if a bit of reality might be in order.

Reading the following quote made me realize what a long journey it is to build relationships, learn, and keep current, on loads of technical issues, become well-known in your business community and also build a reputation as “the expert” in a certain discipline.

“It took me fifteen years to make it look easy.” – Fred Astaire

I am not saying that it should take 15 years to become a partner. I am saying that after you do become a partner you must continue to learn, grow and develop ways to make what you do look easy.

  • Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something and that this thing must be attained.
  • Marie Curie

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

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2018

Performance Agreement

“People don’t get promoted for doing their jobs really well, they get promoted by demonstrating their potential to do more.” – Tara Jaye Frank.

You know all about performance, right? In your firm, you often talk about performance feedback or pay for performance.

The meaning of performance is varied but for our purpose, we take it to mean the execution of an action, something accomplished, or the fulfillment of a claim, promise or request.

Your employees want to know what you expect of them. Young people entering the profession want to know what their career path looks like. Maybe you should be using performance agreements to clarify what is expected.

A performance agreement is a tool that establishes expectations and accountability for the execution of certain performance standards. Performance agreements must clearly state agreed-upon objectives and how these will be measured.

Learn about the benefits of performance agreements and what points they should contain here (via Mindtools)

  • A man is but the product of his thoughts. What he thinks, he becomes.
  • Mahatma Gandhi.

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

Tuesday, September 25th, 2018

John Wooden Methods

“If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?” – John Wooden

I have used many of John Wooden’s quotations in my blog posts over the years and have mentioned his extraordinary coaching methods several times. The best thing is that Wooden’s coaching basketball methods extend to life AND to life inside a busy accounting firm.

A secret to his success, something that you might not be aware of, is one thing: old-fashioned practice, efficiently run, well-planned, and intentionally executed. Doesn’t that sound like how an audit/review should be done?

Things Wooden did:

  • Noted where racks should be placed so no time was wasted looking for a ball
  • Had players practice shooting without a ball
  • How to put on socks
  • Timed his practices to the minute so time was precisely allocated
  • Kept a record of every practice on notecards – so he could determine what worked and what didn’t
  • Had his players repeat drills until they achieved mastery and then automaticity
  • I’d rather have a lot of talent and a little experience than a lot of experience and a little talent.
  • John Wooden

Monday, September 24th, 2018

Hard Worker

“I have no time to waste.” – Jamie Lee Curtis

Are you really a hard worker or do you just spend too much time in the office? When you are there (in the office), are you hustling or are you pacing yourself?

I recently read an interview with Jamie Lee Curtis in Good Housekeeping magazine. I could relate to one response she made – she likes elbow grease – here are some of her comments that might inspire you.

Wash your own car.

A little sweat now will earn you a rewarding rest later. “I’m a hard worker. I’m a hustler,” says Jamie Lee. “I like to invent things, and I like elbow grease. I wash my own car — why have other people do it while I sit on a bench watching them? I want sweat equity. I want it in my mothering, I want it in my marital-ing, I want it in my family-ing, I want it in my friend-ing. You tell me you’re moving, I will show up on moving day. There will be a point where I want to relax and not worry so much about my sweat equity — when I’ve earned my rest.”

Once you have made manager, once you have made partner, are you somewhat resting? Is it below you to fill the printer with paper? Do you clean up your mess at the coffee station? Do you return a client’s phone call within two hours?

By the way, I do not wash my own car!

  • If you have creative ideas and you don’t bring them out into the world in some way before you go, that is a tragedy.
  • Jamie Lee Curtis

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