The path from “Talk to Results”ä is never straight, no matter how much we try, there will always be obstacles we just did not see coming. In so many small and mid-sized CPA firms, the path is littered with failure in implementing major changes and strategies. If we could do an autopsy, it would clearly show the death of initiatives did not come from the failure to develop really good strategies or process changes, but from the lack of resolve, a lack of determination to see it through. As Dennis Waitley stated; “Determination gives you the resolve to keep going in spite of the roadblocks that lay before you”. In other words, let’s understand there will be roadblocks that get in the way of successful implementation of change or strategy – the issue is, do you have the RESOLVE to get past the roadblocks and overcome them or will you give in and park on the side of the road thinking some success is better than total success? The job of the firm’s Managing Partner is to lead and sometimes leading means charging over the hill to create success and a winning culture.
This is the sixth perspective relating to driving change and moving from “Talk to Results”ä. Previous articles focused on the Power of Purpose, Ownership, Willingness and Environment (culture). This perspective focuses on the final piece of the POWER model RESOLVE.
Resolve has a number of definitions reflecting its critical role in moving your firm from “Talk to Results”ä. It reflects the most critical point of failure relating to the successful implementation of the great strategies from your annual partner retreat. The lack of RESOLVE at all levels of a firm is what kills initiatives because of the failure to deal with the roadblocks and support the flexibility necessary for course corrections – giving in to the roadblocks, settling for something less than desired rather than push forward with determination.
So, if roadblocks always pop up, how can a small or midsized firm stay focused and achieve the desired “RESULTS”? To quote Napoleon Hill, what is needed is the persistence to “create new plans to overcome those that fail”. Successfully implementing change or key strategies is never a straight road from concept to implementation. Another definition of resolve is “turn into a different form when seen more clearly”. As your implementation team progresses, very often the clarity they achieved with the passage of time and experience will show the need to make adjustments to the project plan. Willingness to see the need to change the approach in order to achieve success in implementation is the essence of “RESOLVE”. Letting roadblocks change the objective – well that is just wrong.
The POWER model is what drives performance and success in implementation of major process changes and strategies.
Picture this. As Managing Partner, you assign a team leader and team charging them with implementing a strategy to improve success with cross selling by X% over 3 years. Everyone understands the importance of the strategy.
The team develops a strong project plan confident in achieving the strategic goal. Six months into implementation the team is discussing status and roadblocks. The goal of X% becomes one that seems more daunting since they are experiencing roadblocks that make the achievement of X% improvement in cross selling a bigger struggle
Solution A – the team decides with the CEO to modify the original objective and settle for something less to show some success.
Solution B – the team examines the road blocks and decides to approach certain aspects of the project differently, changing the approach but not the goal. They are determined to deal with the roadblocks and maintain focus on the desired result.
Question – which solution would you chose?
Having the Resolve to see initiatives through, changing the road map if necessary and dealing with the road blocks will always get you to the desired goal rather than allowing the roadblocks to change your goal.
The challenge is making sure that persistence and determination to get it done is based on a “firmness of purpose”. There are many roads to a destination, some shorter, some more difficult, but nonetheless all will get you to your goal if you have the RESOLVE to get there.
In Our Opinion, the power of RESOLVE will always result in success when implementing change in the firm. It will create an attitude that supports teamwork and perseverance. RESOLVE will demonstrate to everyone that the firm will always seek to achieve its goals versus a firm that talks a good game but, in the end, let’s obstacles create the outcome.
The Resolve to see initiatives through and remove roadblocks will always successfully move your small or midsized CPA firm from “Talk to Results”ä.
Tony Zecca (CPA and retired CohnReznick partner and National Director of the Advisory Group) is a ESPOSITO CEO2CEO consultant who is brought into client assignments when needed. ESPOSITO CEO2CEO, LLC — a boutique advisory firm consulting to leading CPA and other professional services firms on strategy, succession planning and mergers, acquisitions and integration is actively led by Dom Esposito, CPA. Dom, voted as one of the most influential people in the profession for two consecutive years by Accounting Today, authored a book, published by www.CPATrendlines.com., entitled “8 Steps to Great” which is a primer for CEOs, managing partners and other senior partners. In Our Opinion, is a continuing series of perspectives for leading CPA firms where Dom and his colleagues share insights, experiences and wisdom with firm leaders who want to “run with the big dogs” and develop their firms into sustainable brands. Dom welcomes questions and can be contacted at either firstname.lastname@example.org or 203.292.3277.