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BHAG or SMAG?

The term BHAG has been around a while. It was Jim Collins in his landmark book “Good to Great” who first coined the term. A Big Hairy Audacious Goal!

The late JFK had one in 1962. He said “by the end of this decade we’re going to put a man on the moon and safely bring him home”. That BHAG inspired a nation and many parts of the world.

What is your inspiring BHAG? It needs to inspire you, your team and (depending on what it is) your clients. It could be revenue – $XM in revenue in 10 years. It could be client centric – a Billion dollars of wealth in our client base. It could be service/client centric - every client to be financially retired.

Whatever it is it needs to be grand, amazing and inspiring.

Many Accounting firms I meet are just existing by default (not by design) and they have no goals or they have a SMAG…Small Minded Ambivalent Goals.

It’s your business  - design it the way you want.

Life long learning

I get to meet many people who say they are ‘life long learners’. Yet upon closer inspection they are not really exercising their muscle between the ears. I find most people in the quandary of ‘doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result’.

I have a view that someone has done what I want to do. So I want to find them and learn from them. It might come in the form of a book, a seminar, a podcast, a blog, an article, a report, a webinar, a phone call or a meeting. I don’t care where the person is I want to find them and learn from them.

When I was 17 (44 now) my father was subscribing to marketing newsletters and ‘audio tapes’ from Paul Dunn & Chris Newton or Results Corporation fame. I snapped them up and self taught business and marketing. Since then I have devoured hundreds of manuals, tapes, CD’s, DVD’s, seminar notes from educators from around the world. I attend around 10 seminars a year right now of all different types.

When I was 18 I was hitchhiking from Brisbane to Dubbo (about 1200 kms) and I was picked up by a horse trainer in a run down car. In the middle of the night he said I had to go out and buy the book ‘Think & Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill. As soon as we arrived I bought it that day. Since then I have absorbed over 500 business or personal development books. I have 20 in my ‘to read’ pile and just ordered another 5 today.

I remember when I went to the USA to meet (now friend) Alan Weiss. He was heralded as the guru of Value Pricing. So I hopped on a plane, attended his 5 day course and learned from the master. When I got home I send Alan a note with my credit card details and said ‘send me every product you have’. A week or so later a large box arrives with CD’s, DVD’s, Books, Manuals etc. I now have over 140 hours of this material on my devices.

I left school when I was 16. Formal learning in a country town was not my thing. I am self taught with the battle scars of business as I implement what I learn. Along the way I have even invented some of my own ideas!

Death by fire or public speaking?

It’s been said that a persons greatest fear is public speaking – followed by death by fire! Go figure.

I have been speaking professionally since November 1993 when I gave my first speech for a paltry $850. It was a 4 hour ‘phone sales skills’ workshop for a retail auto parts store – I was 24. It went broke a few years later – no fault of mine I am sure.

Since then I have given over 1,700 paid speeches. They get easier over time but I always remember the following little mantra when I have a new presentation….

  1. The audience has no idea what you’re going to say – they have not been sent a script
  2. You have been asked to speak, you have the microphone which means you are in charge
  3. Whatever you say is going to be right

If that is not enough remember you always give 3 speeches…

  • The one you think you’re going to give
  • The one you actually give
  • The one you give to yourself afterwards!

People often get too worked up about making a speech or a presentation. It’ll never be right. Chill out and remember it could be worse. You’re not going to die by fire or feel embarrassed. You’ve been asked to speak for a reason!

 

 

Be a coach not a consultant – just ask questions

I find Accountants do not offer to add value to their clients because they are afraid that the client may ask them something that they cannot answer. So consequently discussions around the history of financial performance and the future of financial performance are rarely discussed. It’s such a valuable conversation you can have centered around 3 areas:

 

  1. Where are you now?
  2. Where do you want to be?
  3. How do you think is the best way to get there?

 

If you did a 3 year historical review using a tool like our PANalytics product and then asked the following question…

“So that is the background that gets you to where you are today, if you could re-design your business where would you like to take it over the next 5 years”?

A very cool conversation will arise that has an enormous amount of value for your client. Once you have the future painted when you segway into an equally powerful question…

“Hypothetically, what do you think needs to change/fix/alter/be different to make that picture real in say 3 years – rather than 5″?

It’s the difference between coaching and consulting. Consulting is giving them the answer (how can you be an expert in so many industries) and coaching is getting the answer out of them. You get the answer by asking the right questions.

When you realise that you do not need to know the answers to add value then your confidence will increase and maybe, just maybe you’ll start to add an enormous amount of value to your clients.

In February I am discussing this topic (and many more) at my 20 year seminar tour in Australasia. It’s called “Remaining Relevant” and it’s all about future proofing your firm. You can get some more details here. 

 

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