Why technology is not necessarily the answer

November 29th, 2014

I had a conversation with a leader in the media recently during which he mentioned that a software vendor had told him his company’s product could help accountants perform in 15 minutes a task that typically would take 3 hours when done in a traditional manner. Read more…

Differentiation is the Difference Maker

October 16th, 2014

If that’s not a truism I don’t know what is. And yet if you were to look at the market positioning of accounting firms 97.5% all say the same thing about what they do and for whom they do it. They seek to be “different” by talking about their experience and skill, how long they’ve been in practice, how many offices they have, the range of services they offer, the quality of their service, accessibility to “experts” e.g. you’ll get to deal with a partner … blah, blah, blah. Read more…

Keys for Driving Your Innovation Potential

October 10th, 2014

I can say with confidence based on more than 30 years of research involving both desktop analytics and face to face interviews with practitioners that THE difference between the industry leading firms and the rest of the pack is NOT superior operational efficiency (although that is at a high level) it is a superior business model. Read more…

Educating your clients’ team members about the bottom line

September 17th, 2014

When I was in practice one of my favorite services was facilitating Towards Awesome Service. There were several reasons for this: first, it was a very profitable service; second it was fun because the group always got engaged; and third, it inevitably led to more work with the client because it led to immediate results in the business both culturally and financially. Read more…

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…