There was an article posted by Benjamin Hardy in “Medium” that presented a viewpoint that accounting professionals need to adopt, the earlier the better:
“Your identity is fluid and malleable, you have an amazing opportunity to redefine who you are. All you have to do is consistently and boldly reshape your behavior.”
I just returned from a major technology and leadership conference in San Jose, CA. QuickBooks Connect is a gathering of accountants and small business owners who are yearning to learn more about the newest technology, be inspired by famous people and meet and greet their peers. It is energizing and uplifting for me as a participant and I always struggle to take it all in. More importantly, it is imperative that I take the nuggets from these giants of the industry (Ex. @Intuit QuickBooks, which is the center of my ecosystem) and the informative breakout sessions and craft a new plan, or as the quote says, demonstrate new behaviors. From that perspective, I must take inventory of my current behaviors and see how I need to shift and tweak. I must also review my mindset and ask “Am I in the Approach mode or Avoid mode?”
Your Behavior: Approach or Avoid?
I knew a very powerful CPA who, in his younger days, leapt forward with focus on one position: become VP of finance. Yes, relocation was in the cards, yes, take jobs that are in a stretch mode, yes, adopt new strategies by visionary minds that he collaborated with. Fearless, relentless and admirable. He was in the “Approach” mode. He even went so far as to tell me that he hoped he’d get fired. This would force a reach for another new height. I was in awe of this bold behavior. Then, he achieved the epitome of success. VP of Finance in a giant of a company. A few years later, I saw the shift in behavior. Signs of chaos appeared, but he wouldn’t go out-of-bounds to get it turned around, started coloring within the lines. He was in “Avoid” mode, as in avoid losing what he worked so hard to achieve. Avoiding the same risky behavior demonstrated in his approach to his goal. Eventually, they fired him, but to his advantage. He then became CFO of a publicly traded company. Bravo for that break!
Your State of Mind
Typical in a lot of industries, one hit wonders are everywhere: music, writing, sports. When one sets their sights on something or some things, behavior takes on more risk, regardless of failing, to succeed at your mission. Now, let’s look at the accounting profession. The phrase “It’s always been this way” no longer applies to ANY given situation. Accounting and accounting technology is on fire with new ways to automate and reduce data entry. Beyond just that, even cut age-old services like reconciliations and audits. Scary thought for some, but not for those on the “Approach” mode. There is an immense opportunity to lift up our heads and look around to see how we can spend our time in relationship with our customers rather than our paper and pencils.
I’ve been in the accounting world since 1993 and taught 17 years before that. On all accounts, there are younger people that adopt quicker and throw themselves out there in approach mode. I recognize this behavior all too well. I own my own business and that alone forces me to match that energy. I wake up with the intent of behaving as if I were 20 years younger. What needs to change, how can I improve, what software is up and coming and how do I assess whether or not I get on board. No, I am not ready to retire, I am not ready to lay back and enjoy what I’ve built. I am still of the age where I want to lead and inspire others and model after some very special people that have molded and inspired me. I will be fearless and relentless and empower others as I have been empowered. And you? What mode are you in?