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3 Reasons Firms Don’t Invest in Leadership Development

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 Many firms don’t get ahead because they don’t prioritize leadership development.

The current market climate for accounting, not to mention the pace of change in the industry, has a lot of managing partners carving a hard boundary line for new initiatives. Often placed in the extras category, is leadership development.

This is a mistake. 

Investing in leaders today is the only way a firm will survive every unknown tomorrow with certainty. Which is why Winding River Consulting works with accounting firms and managing partners nationwide to support the advancement of firms by enhancing leadership skills. Our signature event, Managing Partner Bootcamp (MPB), is of our founder, Gary Shamis’s, core service supporting the leadership mindset. We know firsthand the return when firms invest in leadership development. 

We also understand why they don’t do it. In our experience, these are also the three excuses that will hold your firm back.

1. Lack of Resources

We’re not going to shy away from this: leadership development requires an investment. It can be expensive to send a team member away for training that doesn’t appear to specifically impact their daily tasks and job responsibilities. Even if they come back with fresh ideas, they need allotted time — and sometimes budget — to implement those ideas.

Here’s our counterpoint to this objection: leadership development isn’t just about solving problems now, it’s about preventing them in the future. Do the math. It’s more expensive to get caught out unprepared or not have the ability to fix a systemic or operational problem. That is the result of poor leadership. 

In 2017, Deloitte predicted that soft skills would be an essential part of job performance for most positions by 2030. They also estimated that employees with soft skills directly increase revenue. Training leaders to better analyze markets, engage with their teams, and manage operations yields dividends. The return is there. You just have to make the investment.

2. Lack of Time

Sure, it would be great to send your people for specialized leadership training. But if they’re already leaders, they can’t be spared. Who has the time? Time is a commodity like anything else. Tax, audit, and office leaders are busy running the business.

What this objection doesn’t consider is that leadership training isn’t a one and done event. Nor does it have to be a sacrifice. Like most things, it is immensely scalable. Perhaps your firm is in a position to benefit most from continuing education specifically on leadership skills. These can be delivered as micro-learning opportunities, occasional seminars, by hiring a firm strategy consultant quarterly, or in any number of other arrangements. Don’t let the idea that “we don’t have time” keep you from investing in the people who will lead your firm into the future.

3. Lack of Fit

This objection is typically about size: either a firm is “too big” or “too small” to participate in certain types of leadership training. It’s simply not true. The biggest firms in the world invest in leadership development, and the smallest firms have to if they want to compete and grow. Everyone benefits from a focus on developing leadership skills. At MPB, we work with firms just like yours and see what happens when they apply the knowledge they gain. It’s all good.

All of the automation and technology in the world cannot replace the fact that people conduct business. How strong are your people? Are they getting stronger? Leadership investment is the only way to gain a long-term competitive advantage.

Invest Now: Thank Us Later

When it comes to leadership development, standing still is essentially going backwards. The responsibility for stagnant growth and an inability to compete rests at the top. To truly advance the firm, build a legacy, and create high-value businesses, the level of accountability has to be elevated commensurate with the position. 

Good leaders don’t rest on their laurels. They challenge the status quo and take risks in themselves, and invest in how to lead better. 

Managing Partner Bootcamp is a masterclass, unrivaled in relevance and actionable takeaways for accounting professionals. The movement it has created is championed by esteemed alumni in top firms who realize the immense value of getting leadership training at this level.  Graduates are better equipped to bring measurable change to their organizations. It empowers them to lead with confidence and grow with certainty. The time is now. Learn more about the next Managing Partner Bootcamp cycle now.

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