The end of the first decade of the 21st century was turbulent and tumultuous. We saw the Great Recession of 2008 go on for almost three years. We saw unprecedented legislation and regulation and found our profession caught up in much of it as unintended consequences. We saw the job market go from unlimited demand to extreme over-capacity seemingly overnight.
Yet there were bright spots. The CPA profession mobilized and worked collaboratively as members and as state and national associations to stop much of the unnecessary and overreaching legislation at both the federal and state levels. We also had success in positive and proactive legislation and regulation to make the CPA “infrastructure” stronger and easier to navigate. We increased our public image and trust through financial literacy campaigns and the collective impact of CPAs in business, industry, government, and public practice working harder than ever to help their organizations navigate the new whitewater economy. We saw young leaders emerge in our New / Young Professionals Network to leadership roles in the CPA profession both locally and nationally.
These and other bright spots should serve as models of things that are working and strengths to build upon.
Looking ahead to 2011, we ask ourselves, how do we succeed in the “new normal?”What does it take to thrive in an increasingly complex and rapidly changing environment?
We think it has to do with three words: Connect. Collaborate. Create.
Connect is about the network — the human network. Business is about people. Your customers and your employees are individuals, and if you take care of the people (customers and employees), profits will follow. Organizations that figure out how to maximize relationships and take care of the people will be winners in the “new normal.”
Collaborate speaks to learning, and in the “new normal” your L > C. That is, your rate of learning has to be greater than the rate of change in your industry. None of us is as smart as all of us, and in a world of faster change and increasing complexity, we need to rely on each other more and more to be successful. Collaboration can accelerate your rate of learning and allow you to ride the waves of change.
Create is about innovation and agility. Traveling in a straight line to your destination will be harder and harder in this topsy-turvy environment. You will still have to have an envisioned future with the realization that flexibility will be key to maximizing the opportunities that will present themselves as the future unfolds. Those who can find opportunities, build on strengths and inspire others to act will thrive in the “new normal.”
Or as John Kabat-Zinn says, “You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn how to surf!”
Here at the MACPA, our mission is to help you thrive in these rapidly changing times via three core ideas: Connect, protect, achieve (or C.P.A.). We are working hard to look around the bend for dangers and opportunities and to provide resources to help you and your profession to succeed in these turbulent times.
We want to take this time to wish you a healthy and prosperous year ahead. Surf’s up!
Happy New Year from the entire MACPA team!