Posts Tagged ‘growth’

As we get into full throttle here in busy season, a message about being positive is in order! Positive people, those who choose a good mood over a bad day, have a powerful advantage over negative thinkers. While some people allow life’s problems to get them down, optimistic people remind themselves that bad times are only temporary. They find ways to practice positivity, and with a sunny outlook on life, their energy is wildly infectious.

As it pertains to leadership, the power of positive thinking is vital for success, be it that of a team, a department, an office or an entire company. You can have two professionals in a leadership role who are equal in experience and skill, heading up the same group of team members. But one has a positive, optimistic attitude; the other has a generally negative demeanor. The positive leader will prevail every time with a more vibrant, productive team whose energy permeates the workplace. Negativity only leads to reduced productivity and engagement, and allowing it to fester is much more costly and damaging to an organization’s bottom line than confronting or possibly replacing a single toxic staff person.

Creating a positive and healthy culture for your team rests on a few major principles. The qualities of a positive workplace culture boils down to these Super Seven essential characteristics:

  1. Caring for, being interested in, and maintaining responsibility for colleagues as friends.
  2. Providing support for one another, including offering kindness and compassion when others are struggling.
  3. Avoiding blame and forgive mistakes.
  4. Fostering open communication, and avoiding gossip and back-stabbing.
  5. Inspiring one another at work.
  6. Emphasizing the meaningfulness of the work.
  7. Treating one another with respect, gratitude, trust, and integrity.

Positive thinking can set you up for success in every area of your life. You can be healthier, happier, and more successful just by changing your thoughts. If you want to be happy, and not just for one day, focus on the things that will help you remain positive over time. Because a positive attitude can do more than just make you feel good—it could also change your life. You can train your mind to embrace the bright side of things. Here are a few positive quotes I recently received in an email, to get you in the right frame of mind:

  • “A positive attitude causes a chain reaction of positive thoughts, events and outcomes. It is a catalyst and it sparks extraordinary results.” —Wade Boggs
  • “Virtually nothing is impossible in this world if you just put your mind to it and maintain a positive attitude.” —Lou Holtz
  • “It’s actually cool to be positive and optimistic and idealistic. It’s cool to see yourself doing beautiful, great things.” —Tom DeLonge
  • “There is little difference in people but that little difference makes a big difference. The little difference is attitude. The big difference is whether it is positive or negative.” —W. Clement Stone
  • “It takes but one positive thought when given a chance to survive and thrive to overpower an entire army of negative thoughts.” —Robert H. Schuller

I hope you enjoyed today’s message. Have an absolutely positive week!


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Ed Mendlowitz is one of our valued partners here at Withum, and likely one of the most prolific writers I know, having authored 18 books for the profession. He also has a popular blog read and shared by thousands of accountants across the country, and is a regular contributor to AccountingToday.com. A recently published article of his was of particular interest to me, and I want to share it with you today: Art of Accounting – A Typical Day.

Last month through the New Jersey Society of CPAs, Ed was scheduled to speak to two high school classes about public accounting as a career path. He asked Karen Koch, a CPA and supervisor with just under five years’ experience, to join him. She put together some notes to describe her typical day at Withum, and Ed decided to share these notes as an article.

What Karen immediately notes is this: “There truly is no typical day in the field of accounting. Instead, each day I wake up excited to go to work—whether my office, the client’s premises, or working from home—and each day is filled with unique and challenging experiences.” She continues on with her story, outlining her full day of various client projects and even participating in her office’s “fun committee.” Pretty cool.

Karen’s story supported the message I delivered at the State of the Firm and reminded me of the many opportunities Withum has to offer our team members… of every level, in every department. It is my goal as managing partner to ensure that Withum continues to offer great learning experiences for our professionals, keeping them intellectually challenged and allowing them to grow both personally and professionally. Our firm has always been entrepreneurial and a people-oriented place to work. As the Withum Way describes, we work hard and play hard, embracing the family spirit and offering the flexibility to allow all of our professionals to be well rounded people in and out of the office, and not just focused on work and the accounting profession.

As Karen’s story suggests, Withum breaks the stereotype of boring accountants who “only do taxes and are holed away somewhere over a calculator” (exactly what our latest video describes!). We strive to offer the best career opportunities right here at Withum. All we each need to do is take advantage of it.

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I’d like to continue expanding upon the ten traits described in the Withum Way, all of which define our culture and the behaviors which best exemplify our people.  Today we will cover point two:

  1. Possess a Vision for Growth. Those who are most successful at WithumSmith+Brown are forward-thinking with a long-term perspective on how our clients, our communities and our firm can grow and succeed. They take the initiative to identify challenging issues and bring about positive change.

There’s a wise old adage which states that people will support that which they help to create. It’s been widely proven that successful organizations having a broader participation among its people in creating a vision will in turn have people with a greater commitment to it. Regardless of what level professional you are, from staff I to partner; or in which department you are based, be it Accounting, Marketing, Firm Administration, IT or Human Resources, we encourage you to make your time really count and be an active part of the growth and betterment of yourself, our firm, our clients and our communities.

Quoting an article I read recently, “A compelling vision projects an image of how an organization intends to grow and serve its clients through individual, team, and organizational excellence.” That is why our firm finds it important to hold annual events such as the State of the Firm; or why PICs conduct regularly scheduled staff meetings; or why we hold niche meetings; or why we have the Withum Suggestion Box. See it. Feel it. Share it. The future and success of our firm is all about our people. And from what I see, the future is very bright indeed.

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In today’s MP Message, we will be covering the second topic from Jack & Suzy Welch’s book, The Real-Life MBA: Your No-BS Guide to Winning the Game, Building a Team, and Growing Your Career, which is: You Gotta Have Growth.

The only thing that is constant is change, as the old adage states. Moving forward and staying competitive requires constant adaptability, development and growth.  We continually see many changes in our firm, be it the addition of new staff at every level, new titles within departments, new software being implemented… all done in the spirit of accommodating growth and staying on top of our game. Growth is great because it is what gives people job security, pays for a child’s college tuition, buys a home and all the while builds meaningful careers. Growth is a huge part of what makes business fun.

The Real Life MBA shares these six levers which have proven to be effective catalysts for growth:

  1. Eyes Wide Open (or ‘fresh eyes’) – If you want growth, no matter the size of a company or where you sit in it, be it a leading niche or department, don’t be afraid of a new pair (or more!) of fresh eyes on your team.  And by that, we refer to the newly hired people we bring in. As a firm, we are excited to recruit the best and brightest in the profession from other firms, or merge in smaller firms. These professionals are always willing to integrate into our culture and ways of doing things, of course. But remember to tap into the value they bring with their experience and new perspective on the current way we do things here. The fact is, we don’t know what we don’t know. So a fresh point of view can help recharge a team or help spark ideas on new growth initiatives.
  1. Concentrate, Don’t Dilute – When allocating budget resources, sprinkling a little here or a little there tends to be ineffective, particularly with growth initiatives. Focus on what will make the most impact and go with that. Quoting Jack Welch, “If you want growth, don’t hedge your bets. Go big to get big.” As we all know, we keep a close eye on our spending as a firm and can’t offer enough money for every last growth initiative. When looking at department or niche budget allocations, spend what you have to, spend what you can. Just no sprinkling. Concentrate on a few things for bigger impact.
  1. All Hands on Deck – In business, we hear the word ‘innovate’ frequently within the scope of growth. And maybe epic inventors such as Steve Jobs or Bill Gates comes to mind immediately, leaving you feeling a bit intimidated when asked to contribute to the innovation within a team. Don’t be! Innovation in business is likely to occur when it is defined to mean incremental improvements that are held to everyone’s job. It can and should be a mindset that has everyone saying everyday as they walk through the door, “I’m going to find a better way to do my job today.” Amazing ideas can be born when done collectively as a team.
  1. Match Talent to the Task – If you want growth, you have to staff the engines of growth with your best. This seems like a no-brainer, but it is a point that is oftentimes overlooked because of time constraints or lack of resources. Assign projects to the right people. Growth doesn’t lead itself.
  1. Keep Compensation Fresh – Measure and compensate your people for their performance accordingly. According to the book, “Performance and compensation systems go stale with time… So you may think your organization measures people for the right things, and pays them for the right things, but such thinking could be more wishful than accurate.” As a firm, we have looked and continue to look at how our professionals are compensated to keep them motivated and satisfied. We encourage you to be very mindful of evaluations and niche member ratings, as these are the basis of raises, bonuses and promotions.
  1. The Competition… Inside – You know the ones… jealous, petty resisters who moan and groan about new ideas or processes or people. And their subterfuge can take a real toll on the psyche of team members. I’ve seen it first hand: talented, bright staff who get turned off completely by this type of nonsense. If you are aware of it, I ask you to let me know immediately, or at least let your PIC know. There’s enough competition going on outside of our firm; we won’t allow for this type of influence within the firm.

I hope you enjoyed this installment of the thought leadership coming from The Real Life MBA.

Have a great week!

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When you receive the same email forwarded from three different sources, it must be a good one… and it is, so I am sharing this with you today.

We are all so busy (especially during this holiday season), and I applaud you all for your efforts in balancing your workloads with personal endeavors.  But I also know it’s not easy, causing stress and angst when we are under time pressures from home and work, client and partner expectations and deadlines.  As explained in the video found via the link below, the best way to combat the potentially detrimental physical symptoms from stress is to find comfort in human connection.  We are very fortunate at our firm to have a familial atmosphere with an open door policy, encouraging everyone to speak freely and honestly with their colleagues.  We can lean on each other for help and support; can ask for a shoulder to cry on; or even request a few minutes “to vent” and complain a bit, all in the spirit of regaining our perspective and composure.  It’s all good… that’s what being part of the Withum family is all about!  And if we flip how we think about stress, we can actually turn the negative physical effects into positive ones. When you have a few moments, enjoy the video below.  You’ll be a better person for it.

Click here for “How to Make Stress Your Friend.”

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