Sep 20, 2017 11:00:00 AM

Innovation Requires Focused Leadership: Part 3 of Building a Culture of Innovation

Innovation is a key to our future success, and we can build a culture of innovation within our own teams. This 3-part series explores what it means to build a truly innovative culture at your business or firm. Make sure to read Choosing to be Open Minded, Part 1 of Building a Culture of Innovation, and Culture Leads Innovation, which is Part 2 of Building a Culture of Innovation to understand the entire journey.

Recently, when Tom Hood addressed our partners at our annual partner retreat, he helped us understand what type of leadership is required today when we are faced with such a disruptive rapid transformation. Today, every organization must be innovative and must have an incredible commitment to learning in order to remain relevant. Someone said, “survival is not mandatory.” And unless we become extremely focused as leaders, we will miss an amazing opportunity for growth. This rapid transformation brings an abundance of opportunities to leaders and firms that are focused. It also means that everyone leads, but our top leadership must be intensely focused. 

Continue reading >

Topics: Focus, Culture, Leadership

Sep 13, 2017 1:30:00 PM

Culture Leads Innovation: Part 2 of Building a Culture of Innovation

Innovation is a key to our future success, and we can build a culture of innovation within our own teams. This 3-part series explores what it means to build a truly innovative culture at your business or firm. Make sure to read Choosing to be Open Minded, Part 1 of Building a Culture of Innovation, to understand the entire journey.

Sunday, I went to a church where my son Brandon and his family attend. CeCe was not feeling well so I was meeting Brandon, Margie and the kids there. On the way to the church, I got a text that they were not going to make it as they had been up all night with the baby. Sully (Sullivant) is four months old now and our sixth grandkid. As I sat in the parking lot realizing I barely knew anyone at this church, I started thinking about heading home. I did not have a sense of belonging and was really dreading having to meet a lot of new people or explain why I was alone visiting today. Lots of excuses go through our minds when we do not have that sense of security—our sense of belonging.  

Continue reading >

Topics: Culture, Sense of Belonging, Leadership

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.

Continue reading >

Topics: Building a Wise Firm, Culture, Tradition

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. 

Continue reading >

Topics: Culture, Leadership

Dec 7, 2016 10:00:00 AM

Culture Leads Innovation

Our profession has not been known for innovation, and the transformative change we are all experiencing has taken out a lot of really smart businesses across a variety of industries. In fact, over 50% of Fortune 500 companies have disappeared since the year 2000. Lots of really smart people have failed to innovate rapidly enough to remain relevant.  

Continue reading >

Topics: Innovation, Culture, Leadership

Dec 10, 2015 10:00:00 AM

The Bottom Line: Irrelevancy Is Our Future If We Keep This A "Women's Issue"

Recently, I served on a panel discussing sponsorship and advocacy at the AICPA Women’s Global Leadership Summit.  In this blog, I will share some of what I shared with the women (and a few brave men) who attended this exciting, informative and motivating meeting. 

Continue reading >

Topics: Culture, Anticipatory, Leadership

Nov 18, 2015 10:00:00 AM

The Pain in Building Flexible Empowered Teams When Seeing is Believing

This blog is the third in a four part series on how we can lead in public accounting to take advantage of some hard trends

Recently, my wife lured me into an afternoon session of Hot Yoga. Now, I don’t know if you have experienced a Yoga workout much less a Hot Yoga class where they turn up the heat to like 85 degrees, but take my word for it, it is a long, long hour. Not only are you sweating like crazy, your core is in a constant strain as you hold numerous very flexible positions.  I was literally shaking all over as I tried to hold these poses that individuals around me seemed to be enjoying. (PS, if they offer the weights, either pick the 1lb ones or just pass, the 5lb gets a little heavy around minute 12.) 

Continue reading >

Topics: Flexibility, Culture, Leadership

Jul 8, 2015 10:00:00 AM

Heart Matters

This blog is the fifth in a five part series adapted from the AICPA White Paper, Becoming the Firm of the Future, which is available here.

So many businesses today truly make a difference in their service to clients and their team members. I see it every day in public accounting as we make a huge impact for our clients and provide opportunities of growth for our team members. What concerns me, however, is that what you and I might know and understand, often lacks being passionately communicated to our existing and new team members. 

We are in a free agency market for talent like we have never seen before. Many times in the accounting industry we are losing top talent—or they are leaving our profession very quickly after that first bad experience. Headhunters will tell you that many professionals leaving public accounting firms today are not looking for another public accounting position, instead they are looking outside the profession. Michael Platt of Inside Public Accounting was recently stressing this to me as we discussed turnover in our profession. “They are not giving the profession a second chance,” he said.  

Continue reading >

Topics: Culture, Leadership

Jul 1, 2015 10:00:00 AM

Time Stinks

This blog is the fourth in a five part series adapted from the AICPA White Paper, Becoming the Firm of the Future, which is available here.

In his book Flash Foresight, Daniel Burrus points out the transformation that will take place due to extreme advances in processing power, digital storage and bandwidth.  This hard trend (meaning it will happen, whether we believe it or not) threatens the economic engines of almost all CPA firms which rely heavily on the chargeable hour (time) as the driver of value.  As things get faster and faster, we will have less and less value under this model.

What is the real relationship between time and value delivered?  For years, many in the accounting profession and, notably to his credit, Ron Baker, have pointed out the disconnect between actual value delivered and time incurred.   I’m afraid we do not have the luxury of continuing this debate.  It is time to focus on outcomes, deliverables and their value to clients. In the future, time will be less and less of a factor in many of the things that CPAs do today.   We must begin conversations with clients that help us understand what they value.  It is time to prepare for this hard trend, not ignore it, fight it or continue to debate it. 

Continue reading >

Topics: Culture, Leadership

Jun 24, 2015 10:00:00 AM

Seeing Is Believing

This blog is the third in a five part series adapted from the AICPA White Paper, Becoming the Firm of the Future, which is available here.

When someone tells us one thing and then we experience or observe something much different, what do we believe?  What they tell us or what we are experiencing? Of course, we trust what we see and what we experience because that is our reality. 

The disconnect between what our team members see and what we say is the primary reason the accounting profession, and most businesses today, are struggling with culture and attracting talent to their team.  We are telling our team members and our recruits that we have changed, that we offer flexibility, that we believe in results not seniority. However, the experiences that people are having, the behaviors they are observing, and the way we are managing people has gone primarily unchanged.

Continue reading >

Topics: Culture, Leadership

Jun 17, 2015 1:00:00 PM

Blinded by Bad Logic

This blog is the second in a five part series adapted from the AICPA White Paper, Becoming the Firm of the Future, which is available here.

Continue reading >

Topics: Culture, Leadership

RELATED POSTS