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Ask and You Shall Receive Feedback!

When speaking with participants of our Transformational Leadership Program, or meeting with young leaders at firm retreats, one consistent complaint we hear is that people don’t get enough feedback on the work they’re doing and consequentially, on their individual development. We’re talking a lot these days about improving feedback mechanisms, how firms need to deliver feedback more often and in smaller chunks, and that the traditional feedback...
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How to Better Elicit Upward Feedback

Many benefits arise from embracing a people-centric culture. People that feel like their employer cares about their well-being and their thoughts and ideas about the firm, too, are typically more engaged and motivated in their daily work. Part of this people-centric culture includes a commitment to ongoing learning and development. Stretching that commitment across every level, where the firm’s most experienced leaders are still focused on...
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Feedback Is The Breakfast of Champions…

At least it is according to Ken Blanchard, author, leadership expert and coach. And we agree – as do athletic champions! If you study championship athletes, you’ll find that not only do they appreciate feedback, but they seek it out from their coaches, teammates, other experts in their field and by watching videos of their own performance. They are committed to getting better, even if it’s by a fraction of a second (which sometimes wins...
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You’re NEVER Too Busy to Give Feedback

“Make feedback normal. Not a performance review.” ~ Ed Batista You’re in the middle of busy season, with multiple engagements in play and the team running in fifteen different directions. Are you giving feedback to the people working on your jobs, in your groups or assigned to you? If not, you’re missing an opportunity to deliver the information your team members need to truly improve and grow. By the time annual reviews arrive, you probably...
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Three “Be” Strategies to Develop Your Confidence Through Feedback

I’ve never been a fan of critical feedback. Entering situations where potential conversations related to my performance are a possibility, my little voice goes into high gear trying to convince me that I am a complete failure and fraud and yelling at me saying I’d be better off to just quit. This means going into any type of performance evaluation, project kick-off or recap, or even just a check-in meeting, I swell with anxiety, fear and dread....
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“Wow” Your Clients – Ask Them for Feedback!

Many firms we know are renewing their commitment to quality and exceptional client service in 2009. It’s not that they haven’t been committed to it in the past, but candidly, with the abundance of work and shortage of staff we’ve experienced in recent years, most of us have not gone above and beyond to deliver exceptional service and increase the value we can offer our clients. Now, during this uncertain economy as we take an honest inventory...
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What Will You Keep, Stop and Start In 2012?

What Will You Keep, Stop and Start In 2012? When I called my mom to wish her a Happy New Years on January 1st, she asked what my New Year’s resolutions were. I told her I hadn’t set any yet – not even the old standbys. I’ve been thinking about a question that my partner, Jack Lee, asked in one of his blog series in 2011 on goal-setting: “ My question for you is: ‘Do You Really Want It?’” I have been contemplating this question and taking...
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Are You Ignoring Spinach In Someone’s Teeth?

There is simply no greater gift you can give than to provide someone constructive performance feedback that comes from a genuine care and concern for their well-being and success.  Telling someone what they are doing well, what they need to improve, what they should stop doing or what they should start doing allows them to course correct and get better.  Not telling them, to quote my partner, Tamera, is “like allowing someone to go...
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Four Simple, Yet Challenging Steps To Personal Growth

Four Simple, Yet Challenging Steps To Personal Growth I am so fortunate to spend my days developing transformational leadership in others. Doing so is a privilege and it causes me to face the many things that I can improve in my own leadership along the way. Often, my work requires that I discuss difficult performance challenges with others. My desire is always the same – to inspire those I’m coaching to change their mindset and generate a...
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Leadership Spotlight: Mark Koziel CPA, CGMA

This month, we have the amazing opportunity to learn more about our friend, Mark Koziel who is the AICPA’s Vice President – Firm Services & Global Alliances. Mark oversees the development, ongoing improvement and delivery of services to members in PCPS/Firm Practice Management as well as International relations with various CPA-related groups. Prior to joining the AICPA, Mark served as Director of Placement and Human Resource Consulting...
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Maintaining Rapport and Trust In a Virtual World

“The foundation of the client relationship is in jeopardy.” “How can I build rapport with someone if I’m never face-to-face with them?” “I need to shake someone’s hand to feel related to them.” When we talk about moving toward a more remote service and staffing model and embracing Anytime, Anywhere Work™, we often hear objections like these. It’s understandable to worry about losing the human element of a relationship in an increasingly virtual...
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You ARE Better Off Without Them!

I am writing this blog to firm leaders. I don’t know how many times I have had Managing Partners or Executive Committee members share a story of a poor performing and/or poor behaving partner that they have let go. Inevitably in the conversation, they will say, “We had all of these reasons why we couldn’t or shouldn’t take action. But when we finally did, all of our reasons were invalid. We are so much better off without them!” At...
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Three Keys To A Safe And Inclusive Environment

I’m confronted by the major news story centered around a senior leader who engaged in unacceptable behaviors across two decades. It’s resulted in a cascade of additional victims sharing their own experiences with the same type of bad behavior – some directly related to the organization in question and others related to their own experiences in past organizations. What is saddest about the news story is the fact that many individuals...
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Millennial Strategies For Relating to Baby Boomer Clients

In 2019, Millennials will surpass the Baby Boomers as the largest living generation. Congratulations, my fellow Gen Y’ers – we are so close to officially having our reign! All kidding aside, many of us Millennials are at a turning point in our careers as we move into bigger leadership roles and take over longstanding client relationships from retiring partners or colleagues. We often teach leadership groups how to better relate to their young...
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You ARE Better Off Without Them!

I recently wrote a column for the Journal of Accountancy CPA Insider, talking to employees that are unhappy in their work. In this blog, I am talking to firm leaders about how to deal with partners who may be some of the cause of that unhappiness. I don’t know how many times I have had Managing Partners or Executive Committee members share a story of a poor performing and/or poor behaving partner that they have let go. Inevitably in the...
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Five Fundamentals of Flex Success

Our ConvergenceCoaching, LLC® 2018 Anytime, Anywhere Work™ (ATAWW) Survey results are due out October 22, and in them, I’m pretty sure we’ll hear at least a few participants say that flexible, remote work is not for everyone. Often people say that it requires a certain kind of worker, one who is self-motivated and driven. Or they’ll say that it’s not the right thing for young, untested staff because they need to be in the office for training...
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Maximizing Motivation

For most of our clients, the fall busy season is over (hooray!), which creates time and space to focus on yourselves and your firms. It’s my hope that you’ll use this time to renew your focus on your team members, too, by making a real effort get to know more about your up-and-coming leaders. Knowing your team members and understanding what lights them up in their work helps to increase their engagement and retain them long term. To facilitate...
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Mindset: A Shackle or Key to Success?

For at least 8 or 9 years, I’ve been learning, writing and coaching about goal setting and goal achieving – about what is needed to get the job done and what gets in the way. Along the way I have discovered and written about these “Goal Setting 101” fundamentals: Goal setting is a Quadrant II “strategic” activity – you need schedule time for it Identify the areas in your life that need to get better and improve – then prioritize and focus on...
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The Key To ATAWW™ Success – Communication!

Communication is a central theme in our work with leaders at all levels. Whether it’s communicating to help team members adopt change, sharing your firm’s vision and how each element contributes to achieving that vision, following up on feedback from an employee engagement survey, or delivering feedback, communication is key to building a high-performing firm. And, when you’re pushing to “flex further” in your truly flexible, virtual work...
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Anytime, Anywhere Work™: The Wisdom and Best Practices of Others

“What one piece of advice would you give other firms planning to offer any form of anytime, anywhere work program?”   That’s the final question we asked in our spring survey on the adoption of flexible work initiatives within public accounting firms. And, in this fourth blog in a six part series, we’ll explore the wisdom and best practices of 99 distinct firms who generously shared from their experiences implementing anytime, anywhere work...
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