Partners – 5 Ways to Lead by Example this Busy Season
As many firms get ready to implement and leverage new and improved processes as busy season ramps up, I thought I would list a few pointers for the partner / leadership group to keep in mind over the next several months. And I should probably add a disclaimer to take the accounting hats off for a minute and realize this isn’t an exhaustive list nor is it literal in every example. There are always going to be exceptions, but the more you can abide by the following ideas the better off your firms will be and you’ll be providing better client service as well.
1) Embrace the process your team developed. Is it going to be 100% perfect and fool-proof? Absolutely not! Nothing in this world is. There’s always going to be unexpected fires to put out and exceptions to deal with. But by showing your team and your peers that you’re committed to consistently following the process you are doing an incredibly positive deed. A deed which definitely gets noticed and is much appreciated.
2) Dedicate time for your team / personnel. Find ways to make yourself available for questions, collaborative review, team meetings, mentorship, etc. There is no better time than in the next few months to develop your next generation. Use this incredible opportunity to teach them what you know. Allow them to observe how you interact with clients. Follow up on questions timely. One on one interaction and feedback is extremely valuable. Don’t always take the easy way out otherwise you’ll be slow in developing your future.
3) Share success stories. As your client service teams improve their processes and therefore improve your service to clients, share those successes! Congratulate your teams. Say “Thank You” to your team. Those are probably the two most powerful words you can offer your team and yet I rarely hear those words said as often as they should be. The most dynamic and effective leaders understand the power of these two words.
4) Be Timely. You’ve got a lot going on. But remember, you have a lot of people depending on you as well. I see firm leaders who have lost the respect of their peers and teams by requiring a certain timeliness of others and failing to live up to those same standards themself. So if you expect and demand timeliness of others, be prepared to follow what you preach. It’s not easy, but following the lean principles is a great start.
5) Add additional value to clients and challenge your team members to operate under this mindset as well. As you become more effective in your processes and free up time, utilize that time to do something a little different in the way you’ve serviced a client in the past. Find unique ways to add additional value. If you just perform the basic compliance services year after year, don’t complain when you get fee pressure. Clients would prefer a trusted advisor relationship instead.
There you go, partners and leaders…some guidelines and ideas that can be summarized into “Leading by Example”. Are you up for the challenge? I know many of you will be!