Posts Tagged ‘communication’

Wednesday, May 9th, 2012

Helping Women to Compete

Yesterday was a special day for me. I had the honor to speak at the first ever Tennessee Society Women’s Career Summit. The room was filled with females who want to make a difference – for themselves, for their employers and for the people they supervise.

I also had the great honor of hearing Joan Cronan, the Women’s Athletic Director at the  University of Tennessee for the last 29 years, do an opening keynote presentation that was truly motivating and moving.

When she was 12 years old, she was told by the little league coach that she could not play because she was a girl. She could be bat girl, water girl, team manager but she could not compete on the field.

That story set the tone for her life. She relates, “It made me so mad! Since that day I have had a vision the I wanted to help women learn to compete.”

In the world of public accounting, that is what I want to stress for the many females who are still facing challenges. You must learn to compete. It comes through passion, hard work, and developing self-confidence.

Here are 3 tips from Ms. Cronan:

Competition:  Be willing to face your competition, you must compete. It doesn’t have to be basketball or tennis. It can be tap dance, cheerleading, speaking or getting promoted. Set goals for yourself. I thank my competitors, because my friends won’t always tell me my weaknesses but my competitors will. If I had no competition, I might become lazy. Competition makes us all better.

Mentor/Coach:  You need one or more than one. Find good ones and listen. Ask them to help you develop confidence – your must get it and use it!

Communication: Her pet peeve is people who do not say thank-you. How hard is it to say those simple two words that carry so much weight. Show your appreciation by communicating. Also, always be direct in your communication. If you are supervising others, it is your responsibility to tell them their weaknesses and help them get better.

Picture above: Joan Cronan, is that you with Rita?

  • You have to start your own engine.
  • Joan Cronan

Thursday, March 1st, 2012

Is Your Accounting Firm Suffering From The Same Old Thing?

  • How are you evaluating your accounting firm team members?
  • How is your partner group evaluating each other?
  • How are your team members evaluating you?

People inside your accounting firm are working very hard right now. After all, it is March, one of the busiest months for most public accounting firms. Take a deep breath and ask yourself some questions.

Are you and your employees doing the same thing that you did in 2011? An even more interesting question is –  are you and your employees doing the same thing you were doing in 1999? Do you often wonder why your firm is not growing more rapidly and why much of your work seems like drudgery rather than joy?

Reflect on the old saying, “If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you have always gotten.”

Constant change is the operating model for today’s progressive firm. As for performance feedback, I encourage firm leaders to consider simplifying their feedback system. Develop a culture of continual feedback. Do you confront a puppy six months later after he has peed on the floor? Crucial confrontation is not hard nor is it being mean – it’s communication and then you move on. Praise is not something that you hoard. There is an endless supply – it’s communication and then you move on.

When you are evaluating performance this spring, try using three questions. What should I keep doing? What should I start doing? What should I stop doing?

Then use the big question – what are you doing this year that you were not able to do last year? This involves reflecting back on what you are reading, what continuing education classes did you attend, what educational conferences did you attend, what articles have you written?

When it is feedback time, your team is thinking about their pay increase. Usually, they earn it because they are still in the learning and building their skills mode. They are actually doing things this year they were not able to do last year. Does this apply to your managers and partners?

Because of all of the rapid change, if you and your team do what you have always done, you’ll actually get less than you have always gotten.


  • If you can't, you must. If you must, you can.
  • Anthony Robbins