Change / transformation | Leadership | Management / Strategy

Want to be future-ready? Engage your team

“Adapt or perish, now as ever, is nature’s inexorable imperative.” — H.G. Wells

In other words, CPAs, it’s time to become future-ready.

Your jobs are being automated. Groundbreaking disruption is becoming the norm. The profession’s key missing competency centers on learning how to predict what comes next. And your clients are demanding your future-focused foresight.

And yet …

Only 8 percent of CPAs say their profession is future-ready, and only 10 percent describe themselves as innovative.

The biggest challenge we face, though, is this: We know we must become future-ready, but we just don’t have the time. As Seth Godin says, we’re so busy doing our jobs, we can’t get any work done.

“When you discover that the job is in the way of the work, consider changing your job enough that you can go back to creating value,” Godin writes. “Anything less is hiding.”

So how do you do that? How do you find the time you need to create future-focused value for your clients and customers?

There are scores of things that will help. Maximize the software you’re already using. Find a new app that will increase your productivity. Quit spending so much time and energy on your “D” clients and transition that energy to your “A” clients. Each of these things will increase your capacity and give you more time to do future-focused work. Doing them all will put you light years ahead of the competition.

According to Tom Hood, though, the goldmine is right in front of our faces … and we don’t even see it.

According to Gallup, almost 70 percent of your workforce is disengaged. That means they're not excited about the work they’re doing. Thirty percent of those are actively disengaged. That means they’re actively trying to undermine your best efforts to turn your organization into a future-focused firm.

That sounds like bad news, but Hood sees a huge opportunity here.

It’s about engagement, co-creation, and collaboration. Get your team involved in the future of your firm — in fixing the workflow, in figuring out how you can save time, in how you can create a flexible workplace. Ask for their ideas, then put those ideas to work, If they don’t work, then adjust. And then try some more things. And then adjust again. If you listen to your team and put their ideas to work, you’ll engage them. You’ll get their heads and their hearts, and they’ll work a lot harder for you.

“Everyone keeps saying millennials don’t want to work hard,” says Hood, CEO of the Maryland Association of CPAs and the Business Learning Institute. “That’s not true. They just don’t want to work hard for you. If you create the right environment for them, they’ll work their tails off for you.”

When you get that kind of engagement from your team, solving really big problems suddenly becomes a lot easier. That increase in productivity and engagement will help you do things you never realized you could do.

Like become future-ready.


William D. Sheridan