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

Feb 22, 2017 10:00:00 AM

Leadership Lessons From Fantasy Football

I have played in the same fantasy football league for over 12 years. I must admit, with today's technology it is more fun than ever.

My grandson, Davis (11), has asked me for the last two years to find him a league. Last year, a youth league fell through at the last moment so this year we formed a family league with 12 teams. We agreed I would be the head coach and he would be the assistant coach. He named the team "Landsharks" after our favorite college team Ole Miss's nickname for its defense. Now after seeing the Ole Miss defense this season, a better name might have been "Landminnows." It was ugly, but thankfully our fantasy team had some Landshark qualities.

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Topics: Leadership, Communication

Feb 15, 2017 10:00:00 AM

Attitudes Swing Faster Than the Winter Storm

As I was returning from the MFG meeting in sunny Naples, FL, a few weeks ago, a fierce winter storm was sweeping across the southeast and leaving in its wake freezing temperatures, lots of sleet, freezing rain and ice. As I got to my connecting flight in Atlanta for my final destination of JAN (Jackson, MS), flights were being canceled all along the terminal. I even heard people talking about rescheduling for flights from cancellations that were made late the day before.

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Topics: Positive Energy, Attitude

Feb 8, 2017 11:00:00 AM

When Paranoia Turns Productive

This blog is the third in the series, Are We Really Choosing to Be Great?

So far in this series, we have explored two common attributes that Jim Collins discovered in his research of high-performing companies—FANATIC DISCIPLINE and EMPIRICAL CREATIVITYThe third and last attribute is PRODUCTIVE PARANOIA. These companies, although things were going well, always had a heavy amount of paranoia which led to making changes before they had to. They assume conditions will turn against them, at perhaps the worst possible moment. They are always preparing for when, not if, the next big disruption is going to happen.  

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Topics: Leadership, Anticipatory

Feb 1, 2017 1:00:00 PM

Making Bold Moves With Minimal Risk Requires Empirical Creativity

This blog is the second in the series, Are We Really Choosing to Be Great?

Last week, I started a new series to evaluate us as individuals, as CPA firms and as a profession on our urgency to transform how we work and live. In his book Great by Choice, Jim Collins identified three attributes present in high-performing companies—companies that performed at least 10 times better than their peers. The first attribute, which was discussed in last week’s blog, was FANATIC DISCIPLINE—the uncommon discipline to focus on what you are great at and to avoid distractions.

The second common attribute that Collins discovered in his research of high-performing companies was EMPIRICAL CREATIVITY. Empirical creativity is a blend of creativity and discipline. This might be best described as companies that destroyed the “box” (status quo) based on continual experiments and observations. They make bold, creative moves from a sound empirical base. These companies constantly tried new things and changed course based on findings, mistakes, results and observations. They took risks to experiment, creating cultures of learning from mistakes. 

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Topics: Leadership, Culture

Jan 25, 2017 11:00:00 AM

Leading With Fanatic Discipline in a World of Disruption

Last summer, I wrote My Very Own Jerry Maguire Blog, a series that challenged the public accounting profession to evaluate how well we are performing as trusted advisors.  Fortunately, it did create some healthy conversations and reflections by lots of firms as well as HORNE. Reflecting on those conversations encouraged me to write a new series—Are We Really Choosing to Be Great?

This series is designed to evaluate us as individuals, as CPA firms and as a profession. Complacency is a cancer that is hard to see and even harder to eradicate. There’s so much opportunity and growth for our profession if we can generate more urgency (and education of future facts) to transform how we work and live. Are you creating the urgency to take action and meet the changes required by today’s technology transformation? 

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Topics: Leadership, Anticipatory, Self-Discipline