May 24, 2017 11:00:00 AM

Urgent Can Cloud Our Future

I think the busy we each feel today primarily comes from our legacy of treating everything as being urgent. We have bought into the legacy thinking that if it is urgent, it is important to our future. We have bought into the legacy thinking that to be responsive we must treat everything as urgent. We have bought into the legacy thinking that if we are working on urgent things, we are important and valued. We have bought into the legacy thinking that learning to handle urgent things is a competency that makes us feel good. 

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Topics: Leadership, Focus

May 17, 2017 10:30:00 AM

Surprise: Low Performing Partners Almost Always Have Two Key CEO Attributes

Let’s start with a bold statement (an assumption based on experience and lots of supporting evidence)—most firms have partners and managers who are not hitting on all cylinders to reach their full potential. But these low performing partners/managers generally have two key CEO attributes that might surprise us.  In fact, these two key attributes are exactly what our legacy thinking might use to rationalize why they should be partners. A few weeks ago, we talked about our current leadership gap, which is worsened by our legacy thinking. Let’s dive in as we may find ourselves justifying past decisions based on highlighting these two important attributes.

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Topics: Leadership, People Development

May 10, 2017 10:00:00 AM

Sometimes the Best Ones Get Away

This past Saturday morning, the sun was shining and my wife, CeCe, and I were taking in the start of a slow weekend with coffee on the front porch. She shared that she recently ran into Father Camp (who is 85 and retired from the ministry) and they had an interesting discussion on life and death. He shared how seeing so much death and ministering to those in grief has been one of the hardest things in his ministry and that  we simply do not know the date we will meet our Maker. That is why it is so important to think about our dash—our legacy and how we impact others’ lives—today.

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Topics: Relationships, Perspective

May 3, 2017 10:30:00 AM

The Leadership Paradigm Complicating Our Future

The unparalleled success of public accounting has led our firms into a leadership paradigm where our basic assumptions, reasons, beliefs and perspectives are failing us in developing leaders for tomorrow’s success. As we look within our firms, what past trends do we see that help us understand our present paradigm in promoting partners, the key leaders in our firms?

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Topics: Leadership, People Development, succession planning

Apr 26, 2017 1:00:00 PM

Our Own Ruts Slow Us Down

It is so tempting (obviously too tempting for CPA firms) to be everything to everybody. CPA firms wear the badge of never saying, “NO.”  No wonder we constantly hear the warning that someone can’t see a real distinction between most firms.

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Topics: Leadership, Focus

Apr 19, 2017 11:00:00 AM

Are You Leading With the Benefit of Good Intentions?

I love the commercial of Charles Barkley walking in the airport with his two buddies and as a mother and baby pass close by, he inquires if she would like for him to kiss her baby. The baby immediately starts crying and I start laughing out loud every time. We know the commercial is a comical look at Barkley’s sizable ego and that scene is intended to show his two buddies how important and loved he is rather than making a special moment for the mother and baby. 

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Topics: Leadership, Positive Energy

Apr 12, 2017 10:30:00 AM

Leading Without a Title

One of the questions that I receive or hear from team members, friends, business associates and yes, even my children, is, “How can I lead?” I might mention that I do not get this question from CeCe (my wife), as she leads our family daily! And yes, I go outside with the dog now.

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Topics: Leadership, Empowered People

Apr 5, 2017 11:30:00 AM

Has Status Quo Ever Been Riskier?

According to Futurist Daniel Burrus, “In the next five years, we are going to transform—not change, but transform—how we sell, how we market, how we communicate, collaborate, innovate, train and educate.” Driven by exponential change in technology, our world is experiencing disruption in every aspect of our lives. And in the words of Disney CEO Bob Iger, “The riskiest thing we can do is maintain status quo.”

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Topics: Leadership, Anticipatory, Status Quo

Mar 29, 2017 11:00:00 AM

I Only Golf at Sage Valley

“I only golf at Sage Valley,” I responded to one of my colleague's inquiry about my golfing at our annual Sage Valley outing. We all laughed as I shared they had seen me hit my last golf ball on last year’s trip. Another colleague chimed in, “That’s a great line…‘I only golf at Sage Valley.’”

If it didn’t sound so snobby, I might actually use it, but no one would understand the humor in it. Nonetheless, it is true. I gave golf up many years ago and until last year at this special invite, I had not so much as hit a single golf ball in many years. “Rusty” would be a compliment for the condition of my golf game.

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Topics: Leadership, Client Service

Mar 22, 2017 11:30:00 AM

Timing Matters in Fishing and Business Development

It’s finally spring and between my anticipation and the crappie’s early movement into shallower waterI may be on the edge of a fishing frenzy, one that reared its ugly head on my last fishing trip.

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Topics: Leadership, Decision Making, Timing

Mar 15, 2017 11:00:00 AM

Ignoring Risk Leads to Icy Situations

There’s nothing more determined than a horse headed back to the barn for some rest and feed. If you have ever ridden a horse, you know that as you get close to the barn at the end of a long ride—hang on, you may no longer be in control. When I’ve been on the road traveling away from home and CeCe (my wife), as I start back, I certainly develop that same mentality to get to the barn ASAP no matter what fence I have to run through.

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Topics: Risk Assessment, Decision Making, Risk and Reward

Mar 8, 2017 10:00:00 AM

Why Firm Traditions Are Important

As I complete our State of the Firm (SOTF) presentations this year, I’m reflecting on how energizing it is for me and so many team members. Much like the State of the Union address, this annual presentation reflects on the previous year and outlines our plan for growth in the current year. In a four week period, we are face-to-face with everyone in our firm and for me, these are really special times. It’s a privilege and blessing to have the opportunity to see every team member, build and renew connections, and start new relationships.

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Topics: Building a Wise Firm, Culture, Tradition

Mar 1, 2017 11:00:00 AM

How a Heart Scare Changed My Outlook on Life

Pop Joe is our family nickname for my beloved Dad, Joe Havens. Pop Joe is 79 and recently he had a mild heart attack which actually helped save his life. Pop Joe is high energy, works out 3 times a week at the gym, mows his grass, manages the landscaping, grows a family garden and serves in many capacities at Calvary Baptist Church. Mom says he can be a little stubborn at times which might truthfully be the only negative thing you will ever hear about this wonderful man. What an amazing dash he is living and so glad to share that he has been my greatest mentor, an amazing role model and loving father. 

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Topics: Leadership, Growth, People Development