Over the last few years I have been inspired by Chris Brogan’s idea of creating three watch words for the New Year. Like beacons from a lighthouse, they serve to remind, inspire, and guide me throughout the year. These words capture the essence of what I think matters most now.

In the spirit of Chris Brogan, I offer my three watch words for 2013:

Engage, collaborate, inspire!

Engage is about connecting to members, partners, and our MACPA team members in meaningful dialogue. It is about connecting them to the “why” (purpose) and connecting the dots (context) in every major activity we do. We are working on this internally in our work on our business model, KPI and alignment projects. Externally, we will work to engage with our strategic partners and sponsors, our thought leaders in XBRL and BLI, our emerging learning leader community, and our committees, chapters, and task forces. This year we will strive to make these interactions deeper, more meaningful, and engaging.

Collaborate is our hallmark as an association. At the MACPA, it started in 1901 when a small group of accountants gathered together to advocate for a new profession in the U.S. and went on to pass our CPA law (the third such law in the nation). The IBM Global CEO study identified collaboration as the No. 1 skill needed in the workforce. In today’s rapidly changing and increasingly complex world, the winners will be those who can keep their rate of learning greater than the rate of change, or as we like to say, your L > C. Learning can be accelerated by collaboration. The collaboration curve, assisted by social technologies and new collaborative tools, can accelerate the experience curve. We have been experimenting with new collaborative tools and methodologies to learn how to accelerate the collaborative process without losing engagement. Our soon-to-be released MACPA groups is a perfect example of this, along with our work with two new collaborative technologies for learning and group work. Look for this and more from our Business Learning Institute in 2013.

Inspire is like rocket fuel that drives peak performance. It is what gets you through the “trough of disillusionment” when tackling new projects or driving adoption of new ideas. In 2013 we will be reaching out to those inspiring leaders, influencers or tippers who are working on innovations inside and outside of our profession. These are the people we want to connect and collaborate with so our members can benefit from new possibilities and new ways of staying competitive. We will also be searching for new ways to inspire our team, our partners, and our members in every interaction to help them refuel. We will also be looking for and teaching new tools our members can use to inspire their teams and networks. I want to see the MACPA as a place for members to seek a safe harbor from the stormy seas, but also a place to recharge and refuel. Inspired people make the impossible possible … period!

These three watch words are supported by three more actionable words — positivity, persistence and passion — that act as catalysts for great work to happen. They are drawn from our research in the domain of positive psychology with our strategic partner, Gretchen Pisano. These are built into our work in strategic planning, our Leadership Academy, and many of our programs, and serve as booster rockets for work that matters. Positivity increases performance in individuals and teams exponentially, and passion plus persistence (or grit) beats IQ. These are our booster rockets that increase our ability to sustain high performance over time and across the many challenges we face in today’s hyper-competitive world.

So there you have it, my three watch words — engage, collaborate, inspire. Now tell me what you think and what are your three watch words for 2013?

See Bill’s post, The Social Media Tipping Point has Arrived.

Here are my prior watch words:

2012: Connect, Focus, Smooth (I think I got Connect, better at Focus, and still working on smooth).

2011: Messy, Integrated, There is no manual (actually this is six and it was done after New Year’s Day).

2010: Serious, Simple, Social — borrowed with permission from our friend Jeff DeCagna of Principled Innovation.

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