Feb 21, 2018 11:00:00 AM

Are You Missing Opportunities Right in Front of You?

I frantically looked for the hair dryer as I was already 15 minutes late to meet our team to prepare for an important presentation that morning. As I turned the place upside down, I thought—I know this nice resort provides a hair dryer in every room. Now it only takes me about 60 seconds to “style” my hair, but it does better when blow-dried.

After looking in all of the usual places in the bathroom, I continued my search in the closet and then to the rest of the room. Having exhausted all known possibilities, I picked up the phone and hit the button for housekeeping.

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Topics: Focus, Anticipatory, Leadership

Jan 17, 2018 10:30:00 AM

Some Parts Simply Stop Working

As the summer progressed, I felt myself losing some steam—my energy was too low. As I reflect on it now, I was having a few stomach aches along the way. Oddly enough, when I felt some abdominal pain, I would eat more. Sounds backward but I have always tried to eat my way through feeling bad. CeCe laughs at this every time and has been known to call me an idiot for doing so. (Please, no comments. I realize it might not be the best strategy.) So I am rocking along, eating my way through the pain, until my abdominal pain increased to the point that one Sunday evening I found myself curled up on our floor trying to ease the pain. That night I became violently ill. Thinking it was just food poisoning, I worked from home a day and then returned to work. But I knew something was wrong when I still felt weak and experienced the same abdominal pains.

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Topics: Focus, Energy, Goals

Nov 15, 2017 10:30:00 AM

Major Obstacles to More Advisory Services

Recently, I was fortunate to participate in an intense brainstorming session on the future of our profession with six other top 100 CPA managing partners. One of the hot topics was the very evident need for our profession to provide more advisory insights and services to our clients. With oncoming automation around data input and analysis, we know our services need to evolve into more advisory type services. We discussed that our "trusted advisor" status is anchored too closely to compliance, transactional and historical type services. Primarily, we have been a very responsive profession where few have consistently served as proactive strategic advisors.

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Topics: Focus, Anticipatory, Leadership

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. 

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Topics: Focus, Culture, Leadership

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: Focus, Leadership

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: Focus, Leadership

Nov 9, 2016 10:00:00 AM

What Are We Really Growing?

Recently, a partner sent me an email noting that I often write about busyness and how important it is that we focus on our highest priorities. He went on to say, "have you thought about how close busyness is to business—one letter!" I had not and as I have thought about this, I can’t get it off my mind. 

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Topics: Focus, Leadership

Mar 9, 2016 11:00:00 AM

Too Focused On “ME?”

This blog is the first in the series, My Top 10 Blunders and How You Can Avoid Them.

As I reflect on my career, I must admit it did not take me long to note many more than 10 blunders. For my sanity, I have decided to share only what might be the top 10 in this blog series. I wouldn’t say this first blunder was the biggest but it certainly felt like the right place to start. It certainly ranks in the top five.    

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Topics: Focus, People Development, Leadership

Feb 24, 2016 12:30:00 PM

Simple Mistakes That Kill Great Ideas and Initiatives

Growing up, my brother, Mike, and I had a lot of interesting adventures. One summer, we secretly started building a log fort tucked way back in the woods behind our neighborhood. I’m still not sure who owned the land that we were squatting on, but we teamed up with a few neighborhood kids and soon our fort plans started coming to life. We spent several days sawing, chopping and building our fort, and after about two weeks, we had four walls standing.

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Topics: Focus, Business Planning, Leadership

Feb 10, 2016 11:00:00 AM

Stop Treating Email as Urgent

Full disclosure, this is a combination of both venting and sharing.  It simply drives me crazy when I see person after person allowing email to manage their day and destroy the power of focus and their effectiveness.  Email alerts and checking email constantly all lead to poor time management and reduce our ability to be outstanding. Email has gone from one of the most effective management and time saving tools to one of our biggest distractions.  We have too much of it and no discipline in how we manage it. 

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Topics: Focus, Leadership

Jan 27, 2016 11:00:00 AM

6 Tips to Stay Focused When Your Day Seems Like a Blizzard

One of our partners sent me this picture of his deck during the blizzard last week in Washington, D.C., where they got over 30 inches of snow in a little more than 24 hours.  At one point, he sent a short video and it was snowing so hard you could barely see beyond his deck. 

He was anticipating a big snow fall so he started shoveling snow early on, hoping he could stay ahead of it. He really wanted to be able to get the cars out if and when they needed them. But the snow was relentless and never let up and feeling overwhelmed, he lost his focus on keeping ahead. I immediately related to this feeling of being overwhelmed, although our weather had been simply cold and windy. You see, I was feeling overwhelmed at work.   

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Topics: Focus, Leadership

Sep 9, 2015 10:44:43 AM

Are you Paying Attention? Why Being Present in the Moment Really Matters

Recently, a team member shared a funny story with me that also has a great life lesson for us.  

She had recently celebrated her birthday and took some PTO that week to enjoy her love of fishing off the Gulf Coast.  Sounds like a great plan to me.  Since fishing is her favorite hobby, she was extremely excited about getting out on the water. 

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Topics: Focus, Leadership

Apr 29, 2015 10:47:10 AM

Finding Purpose When You Feel Like You Have No Clue

Some days I wonder if I even have a clue to what is going on. Nothing like a confidence builder to start today’s blog with, huh? But seriously, do you ever feel that way? Even if we are engaged and focused, with a constantly changing business environment, it’s easy to feel like we have no clue. 

The words “no clue” still ring loudly in my ears and on my behind as I recall the hardest paddling I ever had in school.

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Topics: Focus