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The Mother of All Fears

Spiders are scary, snakes are frightening and the fear of heights can be terrifying! But, the number one fear, according to The Book of Lists is the fear of public speaking. How could public speaking rank higher than even the fear of dying?  What makes it so scary? In this blog, I’ll explore reasons for this fear and approaches for overcoming them, but it’s important to realize that learning to speak confidently in front of groups is one...
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Make Your LinkedIn Profile More Compelling

You are likely embarking on the 2018 spring busy season. As you enter this compressed work period, you may be challenged to maintain your business development momentum. One idea that takes very little physical time is to stay active on LinkedIn by posting a few times a week, checking out what’s new with your network and interacting with groups. To take advantage of all that LinkedIn has to offer, it’s vital that your profile and account...
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From Reserved To Involved

From Reserved To Involved Are you new to management and wondering why you left managing money and numbers to managing people? Are you more comfortable doing your own thing instead of working to get a group to agree? Does the group drain you emotionally and the alone time pump you up? If so, you are probably an “I” instead of an “E” on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). This means that your preferred way of approaching your world is as an...
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Leadership Spotlight: Dustin Hostetler, Principal, Flowtivity, LLC

Dustin Hostetler is the founder of Flowtivity, LLC and the practice leader and lead consultant for Lean4CPAs by Flowtivity. Flowtivity revolutionizes process improvement initiatives within public accounting and other professional service organizations. As a Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt with extensive experience working inside a large regional CPA firm, Dustin has taken proven Lean techniques from the manufacturing floor and tailored them to...
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You Want to Become Partner? Six Internal Networking Activities Will Pave the Way!

One common objective shared by many of our leadership program participants is to increase their visibility in their firm. It doesn’t matter if it’s a small firm or large firm or what segment you’re in, if you want to be elevated, those who will be advocating for you and ultimately voting on your future need to know you to support you. It’s difficult for someone to vote for you when they don’t really know you. That’s where internal networking...
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Personality Dynamics in Coaching

In our work with clients, we encourage using the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® (MBTI) personality assessment to gain a better understanding of a leader’s preferences and how those preferences mirror or are different from others on their team. As a coach, we can use these insights about how they like to interact and communicate with others, their approach to decision-making, and how they organize their work and life to help them be more effective...
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Leadership Spotlight: Pete Miller, CPA, CFE, Shareholder, Clark Nuber

May 2015 will mark Pete Miller’s fifteen year anniversary with Clark Nuber, a 2014 Inside Public Accounting Top 200 Firm located in Bellevue, WA. Pete manages a number of audit engagements in various industries from manufacturing to technology and construction. His specialties include employee benefit plan audits, internal control audits and fraud investigation and prevention services. He is also responsible for new business and staff...
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A Confidence-Building Journey

I speak and coach often on the importance of maintaining a professional image. I also wrote about it in a recent CPA Insider blog, How Professional Is Your Personal Packaging? One element that is fundamental to our professional image is our overall confidence. Confidence is a leadership attribute that I often hear up-and-coming leaders wish for more of, and their peers or partners frequently express a desire to see more of it exhibited. But...
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Give Up These (BAD) Verbal Habits!

Communication continually comes up in employee surveys as a top area firms can improve and it’s often an area that leaders can improve individually, too. When we coach leaders in our leadership development programs and individual coaching programs, we often identify sneaky and unempowering verbal habits that, when addressed, can dramatically improve how others perceive your communication. I’m sure you have your favorite list of irritating...
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Courageous Leadership

Courageous Leadership “To look at something as though we had never seen it before requires great courage.” — Henri Matisse   I often find myself reflecting on how inspiring the leaders I coach are. Whether it’s our Transformational Leadership Program participants, Managing Partners, Executive Committees, staff in our training workshops or other individuals whom I coach, when I get to the root of why these individuals inspire me...
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Celebrating the Harvest

In the last few weeks, I have attended several events in which various groups were celebrating the fall harvest. I began to notice how these seasonal cycles are similar to the many changes that take place in the workplace. In this blog, I wanted to share these similarities so we can all consider what we’re doing to tend to business this fall. First, we begin with the SEEDS OF THOUGHT. This is our vision of what we want to create. It could be...
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Two Simple Questions To Ask Your Clients

Every CPA we meet is committed to delivering exceptional client service. However, as we embark on one of the busiest times of the year, it’s easy to get caught in a transactional rut working on client engagements and miss the opportunity to spend a few minutes on your relationship with each of your clients. Since client retention has consistently been one of the top five issues for CPAs in recent AICPA Top Issues Surveys, the extra few minutes...
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Speak Up!

In my leadership development work, I have the privilege of working with high-potential rising stars within firms. In the past few years, we’ve noticed that an increasing number of those participating in our programs come to us with a reticence to speak up. And I don’t mean speak their mind. I mean simply talking more in internal and client meetings and contributing ideas and insights. More and more in-firm coaches and partners are asking for...
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Stop Using Words People Don’t Hear

One of the best pieces of speaking advice that I’ve ever heard came from a World Champion speaker and speaking coach named Craig Valentine. Craig tells his coaching clients to resist the temptation to begin their speeches with what he terms “unpleasant pleasantries.” Many people will start their speeches by saying things like “Good morning, thank you for having me here,” “It is an honor to be here,” “What a privilege to be in the company of so...
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The Question on Everyone’s Mind

When potential clients are listening to you explain your services, there is always one burning question on their minds.  When prospective employees are evaluating your firm as a possible place to work, they have the same burning question.  And when you’re trying to convince people to adopt a new way of doing something, they also have the same question!  The question on everyone’s mind is “What’s in it for me?”  ...
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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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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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Five Ideas to Grow the Top Line

While I’ve been working with firm leaders in retreats and coaching calls this past year to ensure they have an engaging culture that retains and develops their best and brightest people, we have also been focused on growing the top line so that firms offer growth opportunities and have room to make new partners. Below are five ways to grow your firm’s top line listed from easiest to most challenging: Raising fees – there is almost always room...
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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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Grab Your Share of the Market – Without Spending a Fortune!

Marketing your firm, its brand, and its services is critical to the health of your practice in any economic situation – and especially so in a recession.  We know that it is tempting to slow down your marketing efforts in these times of economic uncertainty.  However, it’s more important than ever to promote your firm’s services to gain the available market share.   Consider the host of marketing activities that allow you to...
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