How to transform the results of your accountancy firm by tapping into the full potential of your team
Wouldn’t it be great if your people worked together like a well-oiled machine?
Chances are you know you could be getting far more out of them – but you’re not.
Perhaps some of your people are even complaining that others aren’t pulling their weight?
Here’s one business breakthrough you can start implementing today to turn things round…
You can’t get the best from your people if they aren’t accountable for the work they do in your firm.
In 30 minutes a week YOU CAN get the best from your people - simply get together every week and follow a proven framework for your team meeting.
Yes you’ve tried team meetings before but …
… you mostly do all the talking.
They mostly do all the listening and ‘wishing they were somewhere else’. You can sense the quiet rolling of their eyes at the irrelevance of the meeting.
If anything, your experience may suggest team meetings undermine what you’re trying to do.
You’re ready to stop or you’ve already stopped.
Maybe you never got team meetings started because you found them a waste of time.
You and 7 people in a room.
You use an hour. 8 people-hours.
A lot of time. A lot of money. Wasted?
Oh really? Think again!
Why did John D Rockefeller hold a get-together every day with his senior people – now that’s an expensive meeting!
Mr Rockefeller was at the centre of Standard Oil, Chase Manhattan Bank and some rather large real-estate deals - he built the Rockefeller Centre, where you go to ice skate in the middle of summer in New York!
If a daily get-together worked for Rockefeller, can you make it work weekly?
Here's a simple solution...
Run well-structured team meetings in your firm – like Rockefeller did and like business ‘gazelles’ do (more on gazelles shortly).
Run them every week.
Make sure individual accountability shows up.
Use a proven agenda (click here to see the proven agenda checklist).
If the mega successful Rockefeller can run daily accountability meetings, can’t you make them work weekly?
Your people are capable of so much more!
In the 1880’s Max Ringleman coined the phrase “Social Loafing”. Ringleman experimented with 30 burly chaps pulling on a rope.
The 30 chaps, when pulling by themselves, on average, pulled 62.6kg in power/weight off the wall.
Then he asked them to pull in pairs. Ringleman asked them to pull as hard as they can. Then he tested fours. Then he tested eights.
Did the individual averages go up or down as they worked in larger teams?
As soon as more than one person is involved the average goes down. By the time there’s eight people involved the average goes down 20%.
Ringleman called this ‘social loafing’. Social loafing is possibly costing your firm a day a week in lost productivity and profits – 20% of your working week.
Here’s the nub of Ringleman’s research:
Install individual accountability processes and you claw back as much as 20% in productivity.
Without individual weekly accountability you are losing out to social loafing in your firm.
Have you ever seen a yacht or dinghy sail into the wind?
They ‘tack’ very often – they sail at an angle to the wind – see the picture below.
The sail catches some of the wind power whilst the hull sails into the wind at an angle, moving the boat forward.
Chances are you, like me, sometimes feel you too are sailing into the wind with all the challenges you face in your firm.
Therefore, you too need to ‘tack’ often.
So is it monthly, daily or weekly for you and your people?
“Daily meetings! Weekly meetings! You can’t be serious?
What about monthly – it’s less intrusive, less time consuming, less intense?”
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Even more important is growth…
You want your firm to grow, to succeed, to prosper?
If team accountability is the heartbeat of your firm do you want it beating monthly or weekly?
A study found in the book ‘The Rockefeller Habits’, by Verne Harnish introduces us to “gazelle” businesses.
Your firm is a ‘gazelle’ when it grows by 20% or more a year for at least three years consecutively.
The ‘gazelle’ research shows the more often their people meet, the faster the growth of the business.
I don’t think so. Neither did Rockefeller.
“Let’s run a team meeting monthly, that will get them going”…YEAH RIGHT!
A monthly accountability rhythm gives you 12 opportunities a year to improve or rectify things.
A weekly accountability rhythm gives you 52 opportunities a year to improve or rectify things.
You want your firm to run rather than walk don’t you?
So RUN TEAM MEETINGS WEEKLY!
You then have 52 opportunities to grow your accountancy firm.
TIME TO DISAGREE
COULD YOUR TEAM BE AGAINST IT?
“Too right. My team won’t want a weekly team meeting. And even though I can see the logic of weekly meetings I’m not sure they’ll buy into this.”
This is a valid point. Most people resist meetings because they don’t work. They don’t work because the meeting structure is
• You talk, they listen – doesn’t work
• They come to the meeting unprepared – doesn’t work
• You come to the meeting unprepared – doesn’t work
You’ll find more detail in the make it happen checklist Business Breakthrough, but here’s a proven 6-point agenda for a brilliant weekly team meeting.
It comes from the Verne Harnish study of fast growing businesses.
- 1Good News of the week
- 2Share your weekly numbers
- 3Bottleneck/hold ups
- 4Strategic focus
- 5One-word/phrase finish
- 6BTW (Back To Work!)
As this agenda becomes habitual your team will get familiar with it.
And as they become familiar with it they’ll come to the meeting prepared. More on this in the support tools and resources linked at the end of this report.
NOBODY WANTS MEETINGS TO DRAG ON:
“Meetings often turn into talking shops and waste loads of time.”
With the right structure/agenda meetings do not need to drag on.
Start the meeting at 12.30 or 4.30 and everyone will be driven to finish before lunch or home time.
Another Reasonable Argument?
“I’m a sole practitioner – I have no team to meet! So there’s no point.”
Therefore there’s every point!
Your time is SO precious.
Plus it’s easy to go weeks or months without checking in on your own numbers, your own performance.
And so easy to feel as though you have lost weeks or even months of progress.
So use item 2 from the agenda: "Share your weekly numbers"
To share your numbers you must know your numbers.
Your numbers show you how you are performing in your role.
It’s easy to ignore the discipline of reviewing your numbers every week because ‘you are your own boss’!
So why not get an accountant friend to run through the meeting agenda with you?
You then have some accountability and a weekly discipline.
Who would you choose to meet?
YOU DON’T WANT TO ANTAGONISE YOUR PEOPLE:
“People don’t like being checked up on. They don’t want ‘Big Brother’ looking over their shoulder. It really winds people up and sets your team against you.”
This logic is sound. But notice how the focus is on ‘YOUR’.
Know the numbers showing YOU how YOU are performing YOUR role.
This statement applies to your people too. You help your people to know THEIR numbers.
They can then track and share THEIR numbers every week.
You aren’t measuring them. Your people are measuring themselves.
Yes this requires you to spend a little time initially with your people helping them work out what numbers they should record.
And a little more helping them work out how to record and share their numbers in your team meeting.
But when you do, your people come to want to improve THEIR numbers.
YOUR PERSONAL DEMONS CAN ALSO GET IN THE WAY:
“I’m a bit uncertain about hosting a team meeting. The last thing I want to do is risk running a bad meeting and feeling inadequate.”
Your concern is well founded. Which is why you use a well proven agenda structure like the one suggested here.
Yes at first it’s a bit stuttering and maybe stalls a bit.
A few weeks in though it will start to feel ‘normal’ and ‘comfortable’.
“How do I know this approach will really work for me and my firm?”
You don’t. But…
… it worked for Rockefeller and it works for fast growing ‘gazelle’ businesses. It can work for you and your firm too.
Run well-structured team meetings like fast-growing ‘gazelle’ businesses do.
You’ll then tap into the full potential of your people.
Go on then...make meetings work like Rockefeller did.
Your 'Make It Happen' checklist:
Your Weekly Agenda
Try it out. Test it. Put the recommended agenda to work and see…
Improving the accountability rhythm in your firm – with a weekly team meeting using the suggested agenda – means more of your people will be accountable more often.
You’ll no longer lose 20% productivity to social loafing… Here’s the weekly agenda so you can take the next step…
Good news Of The Week
Business or personal good news from last week.
Why start with good news? You start the meeting on a high with the possibility of some laughter too, creating the best frame of mind for everyone.
It’s also important to get everyone involved and engaged from the start of your meeting. Sharing good news achieves this.
Andrew finished decorating his lounge. Sarah completed her client feedback project.
Please just focus on the good news. Anyone who plays the ‘I don’t really know’ card can be helped/encouraged before next week’s meeting so they come prepared and participate fully next time.
Share Your Numbers
5 -10 mins
Every individual shares their numbers.
Here’s where everyone in your team shares the numbers that reflect the work and responsibilities they have.
Now, we all know accountants love numbers but don't get hung up in a conversation about the detail: just report the numbers. Make them quick/easy to understand by showing them graphically.
Sarah shares the client feedback numbers in a weekly bar chart so everyone can see the upward trend. she also shares the number of client care calls this week.
Charlie shares the number tax returns he has completed this week.
Bottlenecks / Holdups
5 -10 mins
What’s slowing you down or holding you up or making it difficult or slow for your clients?
What issues are cropping up repeatedly? Issues in need of focused attention to resolve. Don’t resolve them in the meeting just identify them and agree a working party and a time to get it resolved.
Andrew’s computer is getting too slow and
making him unproductive every day.
Sarah is making notes on her computer about client care issues but no-one else can see them and deal with them.
Strategic Or Big Issue?
5 -10 mins
What’s the priority focus for your firm for the month or the quarter?
What needs to be done next to move your big issue forward?
Limit this section to just one issue – stay focused and get it sorted.
Agree the next step for the week ahead.
Improving client feedback from 8.2/10 to 9.1/10 by the end of quarter 3
Work out how to improve the feedback scores by improving the quality of your service or your client response time.
One-Word or One-Phrase finish
1 to 2 mins
Ask every individual what one-word or onephrase finish describes how he or she now feels.
You’ve sign-posted the end of the meeting and you’ll know if there are any issues needing 1-on-1 time with certain individuals.
And if there’s any doubt the meeting is over…
All done? As you stand up, make the statement:
“Back To Work”.
Everyone now knows you’re finished and they go back to work.
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Want to know more?
Mastering the Rockefeller Habits
Dig deeper into the true value of great meetings by getting yourself a copy of Mastering The Rockefeller Habits by Verne Harnish.
You can get the Kindle version from Amazon for less than a tenner.
The second subheading of chapter 8 is ‘Meetings: A routine to set you free’.
Here it says:
“In the 19 years I’ve spent working with growing businesses, the predictable winners are those who have established a rhythm and a routine of having meetings…”
And here’s the crux for fast-growing ‘gazelle’ businesses:
“…The faster they are growing, the more meetings they have.”
Run your team meetings weekly.
YOUR SUPPORT TOOLS ARE HERE:
Go to the link below and you'll find a selection of practical support tools to help you get a deeper understanding of running regular meetings to get 20% more from your team
Find the support tools to help you
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