“First I get all of my men facing in the same direction.” — Gen. Napoleon Bonaparte, when asked about the secret to his success on the battlefield
I know what you are thinking: What does Napoleon have to do with running a CPA firm?
Let’s start with the business climate today. Uncertainty abounds — fierce competition, constantly changing landscape, rapid change, increasing complexity.
I see some amazing similarities to the battlefront and the need to get everyone “facing the same direction.”
What about your firm? Are you feeling increased competition? Partner conflict and lack of accountability? Worried about attracting and retaining your top talent? What about cross-selling?
These were just some of the insights participants shared at my presentation at the CCH Users Conference this past November.
Take a look at some of the statistics and feedback from the group (from small firms to very large firms — slide 6):
- 46 percent of participants (over 200) said their firms did not have a strategic plan.
- 59 percent said their partners were not on the same page or not sure.
- 80 percent said “maybe” or “no” when asked if their teams understood their strategy.
- 61 percent said their firm vision / strategy was not inspiring (or were unsure).
Just look at the biggest challenges on slide 11 and you will see “getting the partners on the same page” as the biggest issue facing firms today.
Now think about this for a minute. If the partners are not on the same page, what is it like for the staff?
And who is most likely to leave your firm first? The worst talent? NOT!
In our strategy and leadership work, we like to think of challenges as nothing more than frustrated opportunities.
So what is the big opportunity in this?
Create a workstream to collaborate with your partners and create a vision and strategy for your firm that gets everyone on the same page.
What would happen if everyone knew where you were going and why? (See an example of the MACPA’s one-page strategic plan here).
Top talent would feel they have a future, partners would work better together, cross-selling would happen naturally, and most importantly, you will get the magic of that discretionary effort. The hearts and minds of your people putting their shoulders to the flywheel of your organization. The potential impact is staggering. See the ROI slide 29 and employee engagement stats on slide 38.
One of my favorite quotes is, “In order to buy in, they have to weigh in,” by Pat Lencioni. Using a simple strategic planning framework and cascading that throughout your organization (slide 57) with engagement and feedback produces the magic we call E-A-C-A:
- CCH Users Conference 2013, Oct. 27-30, Phoenix
- Accounting Web: CCH Users Conference: Collaboration is the Name of the Game
- CPA Practice Adviser: 1,300 Attendees at CCH User Conference
- Is Your Strategic Plan on a Page – SocialFish
- A “Capstone conversation” about Strategic Planning with Jean Caragher