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April 18, 2018

ENOUGH with the FCC!

When we were growing up, if Mike, Mitzi and I were constantly arguing or fighting, Mom would patiently warn us several times to stop. If we continued to be rowdy, she would finally step back in the room and say, “I’ve had ENOUGH!” which we knew meant our future was not real bright and our backsides were now in jeopardy. As a profession, we need a wake-up call of our own about the disruption and speed of change we are facing. So, today, we will use the term ENOUGH just as Mom did. 

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Topics: Empowered People, People Development, Anticipatory, Leadership

July 26, 2017

The Emotional Journey of Creating Anything Great

A few months ago at HORNE’s State of the Firm, we discovered together that most of us are swimming, wading, tiptoeing or running through the swamp of despair since we took a new direction in response to the transformation we see around us. We reviewed this insightful graphic, “The Emotional Journey of Creating Anything Great,” and each of us identified where we were on our journey. It was not pretty, big change never is.

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Topics: Growth, People Development, Leadership

May 17, 2017

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: People Development, Leadership

May 03, 2017

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: People Development, succession planning, Leadership

March 01, 2017

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: Growth, People Development, Leadership

January 11, 2017

Will Your Goals Change Your Life?

It's that time of year—goal setting time. New Year’s resolutions abound on every desk, journal, career goal system, refrigerator, bathroom, car visor, website and even napkins. Of course, there's also those we keep in the clouds and never record unless we generate a moment of early accountability.

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Topics: People Development, Goal Setting

November 16, 2016

Are You Playing the "If Only" Game?

How many times do we say, “If Only?” As I coach and mentor, I see us get hung up on it too often. Here’s a little bit of revelation—each of us has moments, decisions, words, actions and even thoughts where the words “If Only” might fit.  No one is perfect and we all make mistakes. For me, a lot of them.

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Topics: People Development, Leadership

July 27, 2016

You Might Be a Cruiser If…

Jeff Foxworthy has made a career out of his, “You might be a redneck if…” jokes. Besides giving rednecks more jokes than they know what to do with, these jokes reach a bigger audience because they are relatable. We see ourselves or someone we know in some aspect of these jokes. "You might be a redneck if your salad bowls have Cool Whip stamped on them." I always wondered if you were a redneck if it was only the extra guest bowls that had the cool whip stamp?  Regardless, if we look closely at some of the fun poked by Foxworthy, we might also detect a theme of complacency—always settling rather than striving to better ourselves. 

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Topics: People Development, Leadership

July 06, 2016

Are You Holding up the Ship?

In my experience of mentoring, coaching and teaching about leadership, one of the fundamental pieces of advice that I always include is, “Make sure you are not holding up the ship!” It’s easy for our organizations to bottleneck and get slowed down when vision, roles, responsibility and authority are not well communicated and owned. 

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Topics: Empowered People, People Development, Leadership

June 01, 2016

My Top 10 Blunders and How You Can Avoid Them

Last week, I published the tenth blunder in the blog series, My Top 10 Blunders and How You Can Avoid Them.

As leaders, I think that it’s important that we acknowledge our mistakes. We need to own them, learn from them and not be afraid to laugh at ourselves. This creates a positive and light mood for your team, and enables them to break free from the fear of making mistakes. Some of my most rewarding moments as a leader have come after I owned my mistakes. 

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Topics: People Development, Leadership

April 13, 2016

Topics: People Development, Leadership

March 09, 2016

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

October 07, 2015

Leaders, Stop Saying This Now

Okay, today we may step on some toes (including mine) but sometimes we need to be a little uncomfortable in order to reach our full potential.  We will certainly never reach our full potential if we don’t get out of our comfort zones, so we should expect and want to be uncomfortable fairly frequently.  Comfortable is good, but uncomfortable is great and certainly more fulfilling. 

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Topics: People Development, Leadership