Prepping for Post-Crisis Opportunities

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Free Video Learning: Get ready today for the rebound to come with these top ten practice management video courses.

From The Succession Institute

In response to the COVID-19 crisis, CPA Trendlines is partnering with The Succession Institute to offer free access to some of its most popular video training programs. This is a limited-time-only offer, expiring June 30.

CPA Trendlines readers can use the password "free" (all lower case) for each video (plus the handouts) and get more details here.

Now is the time to re-think and re-plan how you want your firm to evolve and prosper as this pandemic fades into the background.  The videos are packed full of ideas and opportunities to become better, faster, and stronger in the future. READ MORE →

Covid Crisis Requires New Mindsets

Train tracks going both ahead and off to leftDon’t let inertia choose for you.

By Bill Reeb

Inertia can be like drifting, which actually describes what many people do. What I mean is, many people just do more of what they did yesterday to keep afloat, or robotically attempt the next incremental step forward from where they are right now. It is as if they are treading water working hard throughout life and just letting the current take them wherever it is going.

MORE: Do You Have a Goal or Just a Speed? | What Are You Giving Priority? | 3 Early Warning Signals for Overachievers | Learn More By Letting Go | Don’t Let Others Block Your Path | How Overachievers Can Get ‘Unstuck’GoProCPA.com

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SEE ALSO: For a limited time only, free video courses from The Succession Institute to help firms prepare for the New Normal: Get all the details here.

The breakdown in this approach is that it presumes you are exactly where you want to be right now and that the current is going in the direction you want to go. Overachievers often find themselves in this predicament: working hard treading water going with the current without a clear direction in mind.
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3 Early Warning Signals for Overachievers

Businessman stuck in pavementWhat "getting stuck" and "being stuck" mean in practice.

By Bill Reeb

Based on experiences in my own life and decades working as a coach and consultant to very successful business executives and owners, getting more out of your life often comes down to how quickly you recognize and respond to the early warning signs like losing momentum, suffering from diminishing returns on your efforts, or experiencing the disconnect between what you are thinking and what you want to do.

MORE: Learn More By Letting Go | Don’t Let Others Block Your Path | How Overachievers Can Get ‘Unstuck’
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Overachievers get stuck regularly. For us, this is simply life in action.
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COVID Crisis Separates the Winners from Losers

Bill Reeb, 2019-20 AICPA chairman, explains how today's coronavirus crisis is transforming the profession – and the world – forever.


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By CPA Trendlines

Today's coronavirus cataclysm is changing the ways CPAs in both the public and the private sectors do business, revamping in a few traumatic days what would have taken five years, says Bill Reeb, the 2019-20 AICPA chair, in a video interview with CPA Trendlines.

CPA Trendlines is providing FREE access to our latest coronavirus crisis updates: Start here for a guide to all our free coverage.

Special note: CPA Trendlines has partnered with The Succession Institute to offer free access to its top ten video training programs. This limited-time offer expires June 30. Use the password "free" (all lower case) for each video (plus the handouts) and get more details here

"It has already had an amazing effect," Reeb says. "We have fast-forwarded the technology by at least five years. The use of technology has skyrocketed. And people are starting to say, Okay, we got to get people working at home, and we've found ways to communicate with each other during the day." READ MORE →

How Overachievers Can Get ‘Unstuck’

Diagram of objectives

Here's your new process.

By Bill Reeb
Succession Institute

I was looking for a process that was logical, yet would be dynamic enough to respond to life as it unfolds around us.

MORE ON PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT: When the Inmates Are Running the Asylum | The Two Most Common Management Styles | Different Roles for Different Partners | How Big ‘Books’ Hurt Firms | Developing a Three-Year Vision [VIDEO] | More Merger Questions Than You Imagined | MPs: How to Elect Them … and Fire Them | Partners as Role Models: The Good, Bad & Ugly
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For example, when I am hired to help an organization create a strategy and then implement it, I call upon a formal process to get us from vision through execution. However, often the reason I am called in the first place is that someone or some organization realizes they are stuck.

When this is the case, I first take a look at

  • where they are,
  • what they have already done and/or attempted
  • and where they want to go,

and then help them see for themselves what next action will likely unstick them so they can continue moving again in the direction of their choice. The steps in this system follow a logical flow.
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Why You Must Constantly Push Work Down

Woman in business attire with papers flying around behind her backNew staff won't work the hours you did. Forget that notion right now.

By Bill Reeb and Dominic Cingoranelli

As we work with firms throughout North America, one of the most constant, critical issues we find is that of staffing gaps. Those gaps are manifested in shortfalls of billable hours, as well as shortages of people, and a lack of critical competencies of people – all at various levels throughout the firm.

MORE ON PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT: When the Inmates Are Running the Asylum | The Two Most Common Management Styles | Different Roles for Different Partners | How Big ‘Books’ Hurt Firms | Developing a Three-Year Vision [VIDEO] | More Merger Questions Than You Imagined | MPs: How to Elect Them … and Fire Them | Partners as Role Models: The Good, Bad & Ugly
GoProCPA.comExclusively for PRO Members. Log in here or upgrade to PRO today.

In these situations, we tend to find that often the partners, and sometimes the managers, are billing too many hours. Meanwhile many staff, especially at the lowest levels within the firm, consistently are missing their billable hour targets.
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How ‘Take What’s Given’ Works in Business

Extended hands on black backgroundDon't ignore the opportunities right in front of you.

By Bill Reeb

In the practice of martial arts, the concept of "take what's given" is drilled in to teach us to respond to what our opponent is offering rather than either following some mental plan we have conjured up or overrelying on our strengths.

MORE: You Might Be Your Biggest Obstacle | From Martial Arts to Business: 5 Steps of Evolution | Expect and Embrace Failure Anytime You Do New Work | Determining Your Desires Should Be an Active Process | Know Where You Are Running To | Let Go of What You Think You Know
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When you have an unfamiliar opponent, both a mental plan and leveraging strengths require information you don’t have to dependably work. In other words, those two options presume superiority; that I know my strengths are greater or that my plan has all the necessary contingencies to appropriately react to the actions and reactions of my opponent. How could you have this level of knowledge or insight about an unknown opponent?
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You Might Be Your Biggest Obstacle

Young man facing image of himselfSelf-criticism is healthy ... until it isn't.

By Bill Reeb

A couple of years ago, when I was consulting onsite with the executive team, one of the managers pulled me aside and asked me for some personal advice. She said, “I am thinking about asking to go part time because the stress of this job is really getting to me. What do you think they will say?”

MORE: From Martial Arts to Business: 5 Steps of Evolution | Learn to Work ‘Better’ Instead of ‘Harder’ | Be Realistic Regarding Expectations | A Clear Direction Provides You a Sanity Check | Refining Desire
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I told her that I thought they would be willing to do whatever she wanted. But then I added, “What are the owners or your direct boss doing to create this stress?” Here was the conversation that followed:
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Expect to Change Your Plan

Man scratching head while standing at crossroadsAdjustments are not only OK, but expected.

By Bill Reeb

This sounds like an odd comment to make given the importance I have assigned to identifying your desires and creating plans and tactics to achieve them. But we aren’t focusing on Desire in this step, but rather the Work needed to achieve your desires.

MORE: From Martial Arts to Business: 5 Steps of Evolution | Learn to Work ‘Better’ Instead of ‘Harder’ | Be Realistic Regarding Expectations | A Clear Direction Provides You a Sanity Check | Refining Desire | Roadblocks from People with Good Intentions
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Desires and plans change, or we need to be flexible enough to allow them to change as we gain more knowledge, skills or experience as we do the work. In other words, you want to leverage the wisdom you gain from doing the work.
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From Martial Arts to Business: 5 Steps of Evolution

Two men training in tae kwon do at gym"While change can be risky, remaining the same can even be riskier."

By Bill Reeb

John, my instructor, teaches us that there is a hierarchy to learning martial arts.

MORE: Learn to Work ‘Better’ Instead of ‘Harder’ | What to Stop May Be More Important Than What to Do | Stop Wishing Your Life Away | Don’t Let Inertia Determine Your Direction | Let Go of What You Think You Know
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First you learn techniques, like punching and kicking. As you gain confidence in your technique, you can jump to a higher level and incorporate interval into your self-defense toolkit.
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Learn to Work ‘Better’ Instead of ‘Harder’

Man working hard at office deskThis extends to how you use and train your people.

By Bill Reeb

Overachievers typically don’t have a problem working hard, but they often have a problem working “better.” So let's focus on learning how to work better.

MORE: What to Stop May Be More Important Than What to Do | Expect and Embrace Failure Anytime You Do New Work | Determining Your Desires Should Be an Active Process | Know Where You Are Running To | Let Go of What You Think You Know
GoProCPA.comExclusively for PRO Members. Log in here or upgrade to PRO today.

Regarding any technique, know that by remaining open to learning while doing the work (letting go of what you think you know), that is where you will find the “wisdom in the work,” which can bubble up into profound thoughts and ideas that can help you work better.
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What to Stop May Be More Important Than What to Do

Businessman in dark gray suit raise his hand in action of stop and word "stop" on his red palmMake sure your plans are sustainable.

By Bill Reeb

As you continue doing the work, as you make progress toward your desires, much of your focus should rightfully be on “What can I do today to move me one step closer to whatever I am trying to achieve?” While “doing the work” really seems to be about actions you should take, often it is just as much – if not more – about what actions to stop.

MORE: Expect and Embrace Failure Anytime You Do New Work | Be Realistic Regarding Expectations | A Clear Direction Provides You a Sanity Check | Refining Desire | Roadblocks from People with Good Intentions
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In martial arts, regardless of the activity, learning to use proper technique is essential.
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Expect and Embrace Failure Anytime You Do New Work

Coats hanging on wall hooksInstructions given are not magically understood.

By Bill Reeb

The learning process is often frustrating. So why is it so difficult to learn new things?

MORE: Be Realistic Regarding Expectations | Stop Wishing Your Life Away | Don’t Let Inertia Determine Your Direction | What Does ‘Getting Stuck’ or ‘Being Stuck’ Mean? | 3 Ways to Get ‘Unstuck’
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One answer is that we don’t have “hooks” for what we don’t know (neither the mental acuity nor the physical skills). An example of this is found anytime businesses train their employees.
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