Soft is Hard and Hard is Soft

August 20th, 2014

Peters and Waterman published In Search of Excellence in 1982. It had a profound impact on the direction of my life but that’s not important. What is important is the 7-S model that they revealed in that publication remains today, one of the mainstay’s of the McKinsey consulting methodology. Read more…

Some Observations on Where Technology is Taking the Profession

August 18th, 2014

Recently I was writing a piece for inclusion in the 2014 Good, Bad and Ugly inter-firm comparison study being done by Business Fitness in Australia. I thought some of my readers might be interested in the thoughts I had back in March 2000 when I wrote this and the references to an earlier paper I wrote in 1998. Read more…

The Mindset of a Winner

August 3rd, 2014

Can you imagine going to McDonalds and asking for a curry then wait while they shut down the grill so they an make your meal?  I laughed when I hear this question posed by David Maister. In the conversation I’m referring to he added a hugely important point that is not understood by so many practitioners and that is, if you really want to known for something you can’t do a little bit of a lot of things.

This is precisely the same point Seth Godin makes in the video interview below that is appropriately titled the Mindset of a Winner. The interview took place around the time he published his read-in-an-afternoon book called The Dip which is well worth reading.

In the Dip, Godin starts by taking issue with an inspirational Lombardi quote about quitters never winning and winners never quitting. He suggests that winners often quit but what makes the difference is they know when to quit: they just quit (or choose not to do) the right stuff at the right time. He then goes on to give guidance on when to quit and when to persevere. I think this is essential reading for people who have a tendency to FTI.

shutterstock_44027830I wrote a Briefing Paper for our Practice Innovation Workshop participants that draws together Godin’s thoughts with the Hedgehog Concept that Jim Collins talks about in Good To Great – another book worthy of your eyes if you want to build a great firm. If you would like to download a copy of the briefing paper click here.






Customer Centricity vs Organization Centricity: Where does your firm fit?

August 1st, 2014

Could I be so bold as to ask you a question? When you visit a service provider (e.g. your accountant, lawyer, dentist, doctor – whoever) are you thinking to yourself “gosh I hope she makes sure she benefits from our relationship?” Or are you thinking to yourself “gosh I hope I get some value from our relationship?” Read more…

Nothing is forever … take Kodak for example

July 28th, 2014

In the mid 1970s Steven Sasson, an employee of Kodak, demonstrated a prototype of a device that weighed 8 pounds and needed a suitcase to transport. It was the world’s first digital camera. The photos were stored on a cassette tape, they took 21 seconds to raster and boasted quality of 0.01 megapixels. Read more…

I thought I invented the phrase “sea of sameness” but I didn’t

July 23rd, 2014

For years I have been saying to anyone willing to listen, if you you want to create a great firm – one that out-performs the rest of the industry by an order of magnitude (another of my favorite sayings!) – you MUST ESCAPE THE SEA OF SAMENESS. Read more…

An unexpected way to acquire a new client

July 23rd, 2014

It never ceases to amaze me how much value accountants can add to their clients (and themselves) if only they are willing to take the time to have a conversation with their clients to better understand their aspirations and the vision they have for their business. This is a classic case in point. I recently recorded an interview with Rachel Ray who, at one time, Read more…

If You Want to Break From The Pack, Innovation is the Key

July 19th, 2014

As I prepare material for our up-coming Practice Innovation Workshops I’ve been doing a lot of research into the process of creative idea generation (specifically how to teach it and how to implement it) because at the end of the day that’s what ultimately gives business enterprises (and that includes accounting firms and their clients) a competitive edge. Read more…

If not excellence what? If not excellence now, when?

July 6th, 2014

The first business book I picked up and enthusiastically read, because it was inherently readable and extraordinarily interesting, was In Search of Excellence by Tom Peters and Bob Waterman.  In a sense it changed my life because it was the catalyst that led to my moving out of academia into the “real” world of public accounting. Read more…

We all see things differently

June 21st, 2014

This photograph of a group of young Parisian children watching a puppet show was taken by the famous photographer, Alfred Eisenstaedt in 1963. When I saw it I could not help thinking how us humans (big and small) can look at exactly the same thing and experience a totally different emotional response. Read more…