One of the most challenging problems of leading a CPA firm in this very competitive environment is the ability to implement organizational strategy and initiatives with a “sense of urgency.”
In order to establish a sense of urgency, firm leaders must recognize the necessity to implement strategic goals and objectives that will continuously take the firm to higher levels of success, and achieve timely and appropriate succession plans. Visionary type leaders create a sense of urgency about what is important to the future success of the firm and their partners. When leaders fail to manage with a sense of urgency then complacency, entitlement and comfort-zoners dominate the firm’s culture. In fact, implementing progressive business decisions and strategic implementation without a sense of urgency is one of the primary causes for the fast paced consolidation in the public accounting industry.
Firm leaders can move their organizations forward with a sense of urgency in many ways, including the following:
- Identify the reasons for procrastination and slow implementation. Deal with them quickly, whether they are partners, staff, cultural issues, partner politics, organizational structure, or any other factors. Don’t allow legitimate excuses to be obstacles for change. Eliminate the ineffectual actions that slow down progress and remove non-urgent tasks from partners’ daily routines.
- Manage strategy implementation and related projects on a weekly basis, even in peak work periods, without long meetings. Urgency is a mindset, not a process. Too many meetings and committees can interfere with results-oriented momentum.
- Empower strong leaders by giving them the ability to make tough decisions to ensure that partners are a united and synchronized group, capable of achieving the goals and objectives of the firm with a sense of urgency.
- Communicate the consequences of inaction, and hold partners and staff accountable for timely execution.
- Celebrate and reward timely and successful results and create enthusiasm to sustain positive results.
- Encourage firm leaders to embrace urgency and allow them to contribute ideas and suggestions.
- Create a team atmosphere that is results-oriented and that accelerates the implementation process on an ongoing basis. Good efforts are great, but timely results are what counts.
Accounting firms that are willing to redefine themselves and the ways in which they operate in order to achieve higher levels of success, understand the need for strong leadership. Good leaders play to win, they play with a sense of urgency, and they motivate other leaders to do the same. This is often the difference between success and mediocrity.