IT’s A Wrap! Great Takeaways From the Specialized Industry Conference We Just Attended…

It was great to have Elizabeth with me for this conference. We split up for several sessions and have already compared notes. We were even able to spend time while still away to make plans for implementing our joint takeaways:

  • Many businesses today are challenged with recruiting and retaining talented loyal staff.  You can start solving staffing problems by looking at the way management is currently interacting with their team. Best practices dictate allowing the staff to speak up during meetings and when they do so, management should listen to the issues they raise. They might hear “I don’t have time to do it; I don’t have the resources to do it”. Teamwork means that everyone should have buy-in, and management should listen to staff concerns and then respond accordingly.
    Team Work!
    Team Work!

    In addition, all team members should have well defined roles, and understand what they are expected to achieve when approaching an assignment. This seems obvious, but many times managers think they have described a project and desired goals, when it is not clear to their staff. Following this process will ensure a positive experience for the staff and enable them to perform to expectations and meet the overall goals of the firm/business.

  • Encourage “mini brainstorming sessions” within your firm or business for creating new ways of solving old problems.  Working as a team, even of two, allows for the sharing of multiple ideas and points of view. During one of the breakout sessions we split into small groups based upon firm size and then again into teams of two. We
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    Mini Brainstorming

    were asked to brainstorm ideas about the main issue for our larger group. I collaborated with Cintya Montero of Mazars USA, a large regional CPA firm. We found that regardless of firm size or industry and for most businesses that we work with many face similar challenges. We agreed that the foundation for healthy change is a review and revamp of operational procedures.

  • Engagement and discussion with your clients/customers will yield the best results. Often, we are asked to solve a problem and we jump right in to offer a solution. While this may seem like a great approach, it is not. Consider asking more questions, digging deeper and make sure you are identifying the client’s real needs. Live in client’s world. Is the industry shifting? It is important to make sure you understand THEIR: needs, wants, and vision for themselves and their practice/firm/business. When you listen you can deliver! Be the facilitator, have the dialogue and co-develop solutions.

It was a great three days, greeting old friends, making new ones and sharing “best practices” during the breaks.

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