Cohort 12 | Chicago
May 23 - 25, 2022
October 24 - 26, 2022
This rigorous training is spread over two three-day sessions: one in the spring and one in the following fall (attendance at both sessions is mandatory and included in your registration). Cohort groups are kept intentionally small (classes limited to 12 seats each) to encourage peer-to-peer learning, candor, and confidentiality.
Session 1 Agenda:
Welcome & Introductions
The 3 Elements of Effective Practice Growth
The historical path to growth relied on traditional and organic efforts including business development, networking, and relying on referrals. While these will always be a part of the growth playbook, new trends have emerged over the last 18 months. Accelerating technology and the shifts in the way buyers make decisions are impacting professional service firms now more than ever before. With COVID-19 testing the infrastructure and leadership structure at many firms, M&A has a new meaning especially with the rise of private equity in the industry. Join David to gather insight, knowledge, and visibility into what firms are doing to grow today, how capacity planning must be a part of that conversation, and the blueprints firms are utilizing to leverage digital strategy as an avenue to growth.
Where Are We Going? An Industry Outlook
Keeping up with trend setters is defense. Becoming a trend setter is offense. Although it’s certainly important to understand what our industry is up to, we don’t just want to mimic the successes of others. In this session, we’ll identify trends in the industry in order to project a vision for the future of your own firm, enabling you to outpace your competition and position you to create strategic competitive advantage.
Dinner & Book Discussion (Building Blocks, G. Shamis)
The Power of Leading Through Critical Conversations
Nobody likes to have difficult conversations, but as a firm leader you’ll have your fair share of them. They’re inevitable. The ability to manage both conflict and effectively communicate are two of the most important and sought-after qualities in leaders. This session will provide you with some of the tools necessary to communicate effectively in a myriad of situations and to navigate successful outcomes in difficult conversations.
The Three Components of a Successful Firm: Strategy, Execution & Change Management
Too often, firms design highly detailed, sweeping strategic plans. Although the architects are well-meaning and intensely invested, the plans break down under practice as actionable items get mired in the details. The relationship of time spent on the plan to time spent on execution becomes skewed and the plan yields few measurable results. In this session, we’ll learn what it takes to create a strategic plan that is actionable, realistic, and measurable.
Presenting: Your Single Most Powerful Business & Communication Tool
We’ve all sat through presentations that were dry and unengaging. Our most important ideas are regularly conveyed in front of a group yet often presenters rely too heavily on PowerPoints and buzzwords. Our persuasive success requires we have the charisma and skill to narrate these ideas in a meaningful yet relatable way. In this session, we’ll review the tools and techniques necessary to hone a skill that remains essential to our success as thought leaders.
Self-care and Energy Management
Steering a firm to world-class stature requires a holistic approach – not just to the firm but to our everyday lives. Because running a firm is so mentally and physically challenging, and because there are so many demands on our time, we can only invest in our firms what we invest in ourselves. In this session, we’ll learn why it behooves you to take a wellness-minded approach to your living and fold that into your firm culture.
Risk Management & Negotiations
As with anything else, preparedness is key to successful firm management. It is vitally important to anticipate the risks present in the day-to-day operations of any organization. To avoid subjecting your firm to the costs associated with redundancy, errors, and lost time, preliminary mechanisms must be in place for coping with potential liabilities. In this session, we will delineate those risks, define them, and cover the most (and least) effective ways to mitigate those risks.
Dinner & Book Discussion (Built to Last, J. Collins)
Extraordinary Cultures at the Intersection of Unconscious Bias, EIQ, and DEI Strategies
Culture is the most important indicator of not only people performance, but of business performance. The greater the diversity, equity, and inclusion in a firm, the better your firm will perform on nearly every metric. But what actions will take your firm beyond the performative to real and positive change?
Tips & Tricks
As CPAs, we’re well equipped to understand the financial aspects of our practices. But our firms can’t be managed well through numbers alone. Numbers on the balance sheet are a function of the environment shaped by its leaders. Everything from the way you manage your time to the way you interact with your competitors can affect your organization from the top down. Gain practical techniques you can use every day to design your firm, not simply manage it as problems arise.
Closing & Next Steps
Session 2 Agenda:
Overview of Session I, Intro to Session II
A Framework for Organizational Development
Key to an organization’s success is its ability to adapt to change and to generate a collaborative environment. To generate teams that are both cohesive and task focused in an environment where change is rapidly becoming the norm, the key process of organizational development helps groups come together to plan and take effective action for change.
Case Study 1 - Leadership Styles: What's Yours?
Dinner & Book Discussion (Blue Ocean Strategy, R. Mauborgne & W.C. Kim)
Case Study 2 - Delegation & Accountability
Case Study 3 - Frameworks: Organizational governance, succession, and change management
A Brand Called You and What It Means to Your Firm
We all know what a brand is. Or do we? Companies have brands. Products have brands. Even services have brands. But we all have a personal brand as well. What does yours say about you? One of the most intimidating factors of a personal brand is perception vs. reality. Do we project what we want people to see or who we really are? In this session, we get personal with a hands-on workshop that helps to clarify branding with images and messages that best reflect us. Your peers will help you to put your best foot forward!
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube are now the places where a reputation built up over years of good work can be shattered in an instant. In a split second, accountants can find themselves in a position where they need to know how to manage a crisis situation for themselves, their firm or client. Especially in this 24/7 instant news environment, accountants - and their clients - simply cannot wait until a legal decision is rendered. They must be prepared to vigorously defend their situation in a wide variety of stakeholder venues, as well as media outlets. Accounting and legal teams must therefore be prepared to deal with the Court of Public Opinion so they and their client are not declared “guilty” before they can be heard in the Court of Law, perhaps even stopping a situation from spawning a court case at all.
Dinner & Book Discussion (Presence, A. Cuddy)
Three Elements of Effective Practice Growth: Service, Marketing & Business Development
Of course, many components of a firm serve to propel it forward. Chief among them: service culture, marketing, and business development. Where most firms make a mistake is that they silo these functions limiting their potential. When working in tandem, the likelihood for the success and growth of the firm becomes that much more certain. This session will give you the keys to implementing a cross-functional approach to making positive and productive changes to your organization that will yield promising results.
Top Concerns, Open Forum & Close