March 20, 2019

What Matters Most Right Now?

I’m amazed by how easily I can become consumed with things that aren’t the main focus. I might have a presentation to prepare for, yet I will check Twitter or LinkedIn instead. What matters most  connecting on social media or focusing on giving my best in the presentation? Another example is when my grandchild wants to play at the playground 30 minutes longer than I had planned. What really matters most  my plan or extra time with this precious child?

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Topics: Focus, People Development, Leadership

September 12, 2018

8 Ways to Overcome a Bad Day

We have all experienced those bad days when nothing goes right or we get bad news that seems to consume us and our day. Over the years, I have developed ways to reframe these moments that diminishes their effect on me and my team. Although no amount of reframing will make bad news good, there’s an opportunity for us to be at our best to deal with these bad moments or bad news.

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Topics: Perspective, Focus, Self-Awareness, Self-Discipline

September 05, 2018

Lessons from Beaver Creek

As we set out on our recent hike near Beaver Creek, Colorado, the first mistake I made was reading the hiking map. I informed CeCe that it was just three miles roundtrip so we should be able to do this easily in two hours. Thankfully, I did point out that it had some pretty good elevation to it.

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Topics: Focus, Determination

August 15, 2018

Focus Can Be Painful — Distractions Even More So

This blog is a fable that hopefully provides a humorous look into how distractions and interruptions can be very painful due to lost time and opportunities. Since I have recently shared some humor from my brother Mike’s storytelling, we will use his medical practice for today’s fable.

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Topics: Focus, storytelling

August 01, 2018

Does Confirmation Bias Help Us Weigh Less?

I am working diligently to keep my weight at 195 pounds. As part of my early morning ritual, I weigh and record my weight almost every morning. Yes, I write it down because it creates more accountability as I reflect on my track record daily and keeps me focused on my goal.

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Topics: Focus, Self-Awareness, Leadership

June 13, 2018

CRAP Piles Up Fast

We are 20 months into living in our new home and the outside fans still do not work. The tire service company can’t sell me three new tires because they are counting them for inventory. I’m in a meeting and find out 30% of the team is struggling to get a critical app to work on their phones. Worse, team members are accepting slow system performance as the “norm.” We all have these experiences and stories where no one takes ownership, no one gets it done. The sad part is that people give up hope for a better outcome and start accepting CRAP excuses.

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Topics: Focus, Ownership

June 06, 2018

Pruning Makes Us Even Better

As I pulled up the driveway, I knew Cece was in her element. She was muddy from head to toe and plants, flowers, water hoses and clippers were scattered everywhere. She got her love of gardening from her late father, Poppy.

As I walked up to hear the latest gardening updates, she had the clippers whirling on the rose bushes. “Cece, aren’t you being a little aggressive with those clippers?” I asked. She replied, “Poppy always said to have the prettiest roses, you have to prune them as they produce more blooms than the individual plant can support.” I must admit, Poppy had some beautiful rose gardens although I’m not sure he enjoyed the pruning as much as Cece, but I kept that thought to myself.

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Topics: Focus, Full Potential

May 30, 2018

Screen Doors Keep Us Too Busy

I was really excited about my schedule as I headed into the office for the day. I had two meetings with team members—one to collaborate on a new client opportunity and the other to develop a strategy to help us execute at a faster pace on changing our client experience to be more focused, anticipatory and consistent.

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Topics: Focus, Leadership

February 21, 2018

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

January 17, 2018

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

November 15, 2017

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

September 20, 2017

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: Innovation, Focus, Culture, Leadership

May 24, 2017

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

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