“Our job,” says American Society of Association Executives tech chief Reggie Henry, “is to make the future comfortable for others.”
We couldn’t agree more.
The idea is this: Leaders need to be early explorers of new frontiers, then help guide their clients there as well.
It’s not a new idea. That notion has been bouncing around the thought leadership room for a while now.
- Futurist Andrew Zolli says detecting “weak signals” of disruptive change and acting on them early is the key to future-focused leadership.
- “I need you,” futurist Daniel Burrus tells CPAs, “but I don’t need the old you. I need a new you who understands the transformation I’m going through as your customer. If you don’t, you’re out of touch.”
- Change management expert Rita McGrath talks about the importance of “deft resource allocation” — knowing when to shift resources from core initiatives to new, more innovative ones.
- In The Second Machine Age, authors Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee tell us that keeping up is an exercise in futility. If you’re just keeping up, that means someone else is always ahead of you.
- “Embrace change,” renowned entrepreneur Richard Branson writes simply, “or become stagnant.”
A lot of great theories there. Thankfully, though, today we have more than theories — we have definitive proof that it pays to take a proactive, future-focused approach.
According to a survey by The Sleeter Group, 72 percent of small business owners have switched CPAs or accounting firms in part because they believe their CPAs are too reactive and do not provide enough proactive services and advice. In fact, according to the survey, that’s the top reason business owners give for leaving their CPAs.
“This reinforces how (small- and mid-size businesses) view the relationship with their accountant,” the report states. “They see the CPA as a resource with the knowledge and expertise to help make their business successful, but if the CPA isn’t ahead of any potential issues or recommending ways to streamline operations, then the SMB may move on to an accountant who will. It’s a good reason for CPAs to make sure they’re current on the latest technology solutions for businesses and inform their clients on the benefits.”
Daniel Burrus might call that being “anticipatory.”
“When you’re anticipatory,” Burrus writes, “you can not only see and accurately anticipate disruptive technologies, but you can use them to create new revenue streams, new products, new services, and new markets. That’s when you drive growth and change from the inside-out so that others have to react to you instead of you reacting to what others are doing. In this scenario, disruption is your friend.”
That’s another thing we talk a lot about here at the MACPA — the top skills needed for future growth.
Sounds like it’s time to add “anticipation” to that list.