Quarterly calls with Enterprise Worldwide member firms took place over the last 1st quarter of the year that focused on leadership within your accounting firm. There were a number of very insightful comments and great dialogue around this very large topic that includes leading yourself, leading your partners, and of course leading staff (see attachment for the complete summary).
One insightful response came from Bill Hubly when he was asked what is one thing you wish you had known before you became Managing Partner?
Bill said “I wish I had known that I can’t motivate or change people. Instead people need to motivate themselves and they are the only ones who can change themselves”. So often we have this feeling that we can just talk to people, get them all charged up and they will want to perform. Yet that’s not at all what happens in reality. People have their own intrinsic motivators that only they respond to. Sometimes these match what motivates you and other times they don’t…its very personal.
I asked my kids the other day what motivates them. Both of them said that what motivates them to do well in school is the thought of me getting mad at them if they don’t.
What I am learning though as my kids get older is that this fear factor wears off. They are 12 and 14 now and are already showing signs of defiance, which is a sure clue that they have a lower level of fear and a greater level of ‘dad is crazy’ thoughts going on in their heads. I do have a 3 month old baby girl so maybe I can learn some things with my current ‘teens’ and be better prepared when she grows up. ‘Yeah Right’ I can just hear my oldest daughter saying. In reality I know they will all eventually have to develop their own intrinsic drivers and when they really want something will need to be willing to move mountains to get it.
In a similar way, one thing that will help your firm in the area of motivation is to have a firm mission and vision that people intrinsically connect with. When people connect with something larger than themselves they become more engaged and excited about doing what they can to make it happen. Their willingness to sit down with you and set goals and work hard to achieve then becomes something they want for themselves and at the same time ties into what the firm wants. It ends up being a win, win for everyone!!!