Archive for the ‘Leadership’ Category

Tuesday, January 29th, 2019

Clarity

“If you have drama, there is a lack of clarity at the root.” – Marlene Chism

Yesterday, I wrote about being very clear about what you expect from people. Clearly communicate your expectations.

This morning I read an interesting article by Marlene Chism titled, The Root Cause of Workplace Drama: Lack of Clarity.

She notes, one reason for lack of clarity is failing managers:

There is a reason people do what they do, and that reason is often due to the culture and past experiences. For example, on a consulting project, I found out that the reason managers didn’t make decisions is because they lacked confidence. The reason the managers lacked confidence was because many of their decisions had been overridden by senior leaders. Therefore, the managers feared making mistakes and losing face in front of employees.

She also talks about unsuccessful employees and wrong issues/quick fixes. Read the entire article here.

  • Avoid the tendency to focus on a solution before clearly identifying the problem.
  • Marlene Chism

Friday, January 25th, 2019

Managing Your Time

“Time is the scarcest resource, and unless it is managed, nothing else can be managed.” – Peter Drucker

How well do you manage time?

In the CPA profession, we talk about time, worry about time and track time. Yet, how many CPAs have ever taken a time management course?

It doesn’t matter if you value price or bill by the hour, how much time do you waste?

Here’s an interesting viewpoint on time from LeadershipFreak.

  • The two most powerful warriors are patience and time.
  • Leo Tolstoy

Friday, January 18th, 2019

Punctuality

I have always admired punctuality in others. There is an old saying:

Punctuality is the politeness of kings.

Here’s the story of where that saying originated:

Kings (especially before the [French] revolution) didn’t need to be punctual. They could show up when they wanted. After all, people would wait for them. But [King Louis XVIII of France, to whom the quote is often attributed] suggests that one way a king can show respect for other people is to meet them at the appointed time. If this is true for kings, it certainly is true for you and me.

  • In the ordinary business of life punctuality is... necessary.
  • Bertrand Russell

Tuesday, January 15th, 2019

Say It…. Or Not?

“It is a great mistake ever to say anything when you needn’t.” – Agatha Christie 

Communication is an issue inside most CPA firms. Almost every issue my clients need to address can be traced back to communication.

Usually, it means that there is not nearly enough communication. Often, there is communication but not done in the right manner.

An example wrong communication: Betty is almost always late. She is scheduled to arrive at 8:30 but often actually arrives at 9:00 or later. Partners are bothered by this behavior. So, an email is sent to the entire team reminding them that they are expected to arrive before 8:30 each morning. Everyone knows they mean Betty and it results in lots of complaining (among the team) and loss of respect for the partners.

On the other hand, leaders sometimes actually say too much. They might confide their displeasure with other partners to a manager or even to a member of the admin team. Thus, the quote from Agatha Christie, above, applies.

 

  • A fool is made more of a fool, when their mouth is more open than their mind.”
  • Anthony Liccione

Friday, January 11th, 2019

What Does Leadership Look Like Podcast

“The man who never alters his opinion is like standing water and breeds reptiles of the mind.” – William Blake

Thanks so much to Jessica Salerno of The Ohio Society of CPAs for interviewing me for one of the Society’s podcasts.

Episode info:

As the accounting profession evolves, leadership has to evolve along with it. We spoke with Rita Keller, respected CPA firm management consultant and author of the daily blog “Solutions for CPA Firm Leaders,” on how leadership in accounting has changed over the years, the common leadership mistakes she’s seen, the one thing leaders aren’t doing enough and more.

Click here to listen to the podcast. I also appreciate the Young CPAs of Ohio tweet!

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  • Change your opinions, keep to your principles; change your leaves, keep intact your roots.
  • Victor Hugo

Tuesday, January 8th, 2019

Do You Have The Power to Lead?

“Most people watch videos, they don’t make them. Most people read tweets, they don’t write them.” – Seth Godin

seth

Once again, Seth Godin did a post last week that was so powerful and thought inspiring that I am sharing it with you rather than writing something myself. Read it a couple of times…..

Do you have the grit to be responsible?

  • If you can’t state your position in eight words, you don’t have a position.
  • Seth Godin

Monday, January 7th, 2019

Herb Kelleher

I was sorry to learn of Herb Kelleher’s passing. I have always admired his unique approach to being a company leader.

“Your employees come first. And if you treat your employees right, guess what? Your customers come back, and that makes your shareholders happy. Start with employees and the rest follows from that.” – Herb Kelleher

That quote inspired me and many CPA firms to begin to focus more on keeping employees happy and engaged.

If you ever attended one of my presentations, you probably saw a slide I used very often. To me, it said so much about the functioning of so many CPA firms. You see, I think CPAs often make things way too difficult, especially when it comes to managing their firms.

They spend days talking about and drafting a strategic plan that gets distributed to staff and is never seen again. Here’s some advice from Herb. R.I.P.

Kelleher

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

Thursday, January 3rd, 2019

A New Year – No More Excuses

“It’s not about the cards you’re dealt, but how you play the hand.”
― Randy Pausch, The Last Lecture

People working inside busy accounting firms always seem to have a lot of excuses.

  • I would have finished that tax return but I have been waiting on information from the client.
  • I could have gotten that engagement to you for review sooner but the staff person worked so slowly!
  • The year is almost gone, we can’t possibly work on that new process until after tax season.
  • We can’t adopt that new technology, it is just too expensive.
  • She is not meeting expectations but we need an extra pair of hands, especially in tax season. We’ll talk to her in the Spring.

Realizing that you have problems to deal with is often very frightening. When you make excuses and put off taking action it prevents the firm, and its people, from growing and prospering.

As firm leaders, you own the problems. Deal with them as they come. If you don’t, who will?

  • He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else.
  • Benjamin Franklin

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2019

The Secret of Change

Focus slideI was browsing through famous quotations about facing a new year. I came across one that I have often used in my presentations.

To me, it says so much about CPAs in public practice coping with surviving in a profession that is undergoing some of the most formidable changes it has ever faced.

Clinging to the past is not the answer. Making the commitment to change yourself is the answer. How are you, personally, going to survive into the future.

Too many partners and managers are clinging to work that they know and love. They have not developed the skills or desire to delegate properly so that less experienced CPAs can learn from more challenging work.

Begin this week to observe what your team members need to learn and give them projects that will help develop their skills and knowledge.

Struggling with exactly what to delegate? Ask your team what they think you should delegate. They are more insightful than you might think. Managing partners, ask your firm administrator what he/she thinks you should delegate to them. You might be pleasantly surprised.

  • Go confidently in the direction of your dreams.
  • Henry David Thoreau

Thursday, December 27th, 2018

You Are Business Smart. Are You Feelings Smart?

“One thing you can’t hide – is when you’re crippled inside.” – John Lennon

To be a successful CPA, it is extremely important to understand your own feelings and the feelings of others. Some CPAs struggle with this issue. Many CPAs I have known tend to be very “business-like” and seem to try very hard to hide their emotions. Does this sound like you? Make 2019 the year to work on your emotional intelligence.

In a new book by Justin Bariso (a contributor to Inc.), EQ Applied: The Real-World Guide to Emotional Intelligence, he outlines a number of clear, practical tips that you can implement in your daily routine, most of which take only a few minutes a day.

He recommends that you begin with self-reflection. To understand your own feelings and other people’s, it begins with having the emotional maturity to know you need it.

Here’s an example of one of the 21 tips he provides in a recent Inc. post:

4. Use the 3-second trick.

If you tend to put your foot in your mouth, agree too quickly to commitments, or otherwise say something you later regret, ask yourself three quick questions (which I learned from Craig Ferguson) before speaking:

  • Does this need to be said?
  • Does this need to be said by me?
  • Does this need to be said by me, now?

In contrast, if you’re more introverted and often find that later you wish you had expressed yourself in a specific moment or situation, ask yourself:

Will I regret not speaking up later? 

The right question(s) can help you manage your emotional reactions and avoid regrets.

  • We know too much and feel too little. At least, we feel too little of those creative emotions from which a good life springs.
  • Bertrand Russell