The Change Your Mindset Podcast

Welcome to the Change Your Mindset podcast, hosted by Peter Margaritis, CPA, AKA The Accidental Accountant. Peter is a speaker, expert in applied improvisation and author of the book 'Improv Is No Joke, Using Improvization to Create Positive Results in Leadership and Life'. Peter's new book, Taking the Numb Our of Numbers: Explaining & Presenting Financial Information with Confidence and Clarity will be published in June 2018.

S4E47. The Wisdom in Creating a Culture-First Firm with Joey Havens

“When you see a turtle on top of a fence post, chances are, he did not get there on his own.” Joey Haven uses this visual to kick off a recent blog post illustrating how leaders only get to where they are because others helped them get there.

He serves as the Managing Partner of Strategic Growth for the CPA firm, HORNE, and previously served as the Executive Partner from 2012 to 2021, leading more than 1,800 team members to build the Wise Firm©, while passionately living out his life’s calling to help others see and reach their full potential. Prior to being named Executive Partner in 2012, Joey served as the Managing Partner of Healthcare Services and the Managing Partner of Government Services.

Within the profession, Joey actively challenges the mainstays of public accounting. He advocates growing leaders faster using holistic approaches and intentional sponsorship. In addition to his weekly beBetter blog, he is the author of numerous whitepapers and articles, including Becoming the Firm of the Future published by the AICPA. He’s also co-authored four books during his career at HORNE and is an active member of CPA Practice Advisor’s Top 30 Thought Leaders, where he works with other accounting professionals to help lead and shape the industry. Joey is a frequent presenter/teacher/facilitator on creating a culture of belonging, strategic planning, leadership development and loves to teach young professionals the ABCs to Outstanding.

He named his firm the Wise Firm© based on the parable of the wise man and the foolish man. The wise man built his house on the rock and the foolish man built his house on the sand. When the storms came, the rain and the wind washed the fool’s house away. He had a feeling that the CPA profession would soon face generational storms, and he wanted to build a strong foundation that could survive those winds. That foundation was culture.

The power of a high performing team, with high trust and a strong sense of community, allows you to move past fear and stand firm against any challenge.

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S4E46. Why is Customer Service So Difficult?

Growing up, I worked in a family restaurant – I am Greek American, after all. My father took a different approach and purchased a liquor store. In both cases, providing excellent customer service was the standard because that is the formula to success in business. 

But if that’s true, what the hell happened to excellent customer service? Lately, it seems harder to find than Bigfoot riding the Loch Ness Monster with a roll of toilet paper.

In business improv, this means having respect for the customers you are serving. Part of that respect – one that many in the accounting profession face – is the use of language that your customer understands. Yes, we’re all used to technical jargon at work. But the language of business accounting is a foreign language to those outside of the profession. Would it be very respectful to travel to a foreign country and expect everyone there to understand your language without issue?

CPAs need to understand that explaining financial information in plain English – and using stories to help clients understand – creates a strong competitive advantage in the marketplace. You want to be the firm that everyone raves about because you offer the kind of excellent customer service that everyone deserves – especially as it becomes harder to come by.

S4E45. How Good Leaders Navigate a Crisis with Kon Apostolopoulos

Kon Apostolopoulos is the founder and CEO of Fresh Biz Solutions, a human capital management consulting group that provides performance improvement and training solutions to help organizations develop people, improve business results, and benefit from a comprehensive talent management strategy. He’s also the co-author of the timely book, 7 Keys to Navigating a Crisis, and a regular contributor to Thrive Global and Achievers Engagement Blog.

As a speaker and expert in performance improvement and change management, Kon has delivered hundreds of workshops and spoken at countless events for leaders in North America and Europe, sharing fresh ideas and best practices that engage his audiences and empower participants to take the next bold step forward in their professional and personal lives.

The world is faced with a crisis which has already greatly affected our approach to leadership. As employees work from home, we’ve learned the hard way that trust in our staff is critical. Going without it is no longer an option.

So many leaders see leadership and business as being all about them. The truth is, leadership isn’t about any one person. Leadership is about the people you lead. It’s because of selfish leaders that we see negative trends like the “great resignation” happening all around us. Good leaders have to meet the needs of their employees, but they also have to strike a balance between providing direction and not getting in the way.

Navigating the global crisis on a personal level has meant reckoning with the fact that life is going to be full of good times, and bad. Every positive moment in life stands out in contrast to what’s around us. Before, we may have seen friends and loved ones on a daily basis. But for many, that experience was magnified in meaning after spending months apart. Everything in life, the ups and downs, happens in natural contrast with one another.

Kindness is desperately needed in our world today. We need to be kind to ourselves, first and foremost, but we also need to extend it to those around us. The minute you show kindness to someone else, you get it back in return.

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S4E44: The Story of Off Script: Mastering the Art of Business Improv

Today’s guest is… Peter Margaritis! Huh? That’s right, we’re turning the mic around with a special guest host, Kate Colbert, President of Silver Tree Publishing, to celebrate the release of “Off Script: Mastering the Art of Business Improv.”

I’ve documented much of the journey of writing this book directly through the podcast, and today we’re going to wrap things up to talk about the whole story: Why I wrote this book, what it means to go off script, and how you can use improv to sharpen your business and leadership skills.

What does it actually mean to go off script? The idea for the book was born during some research into Martin Luther King, who improvised his famous “I Have a Dream” speech. But improvising doesn’t mean “winging it.” Dr. King over prepared for that presentation. He took moments from previous speeches that he knew resonated with audiences and he built upon them, matching the ebb and flow of the crowd’s attention.

We’ve been taught that good leaders control the situation. They have everything locked down, they know what’s going on, and they’re directing the flow of business. And while that may be true of good leaders, it’s not what great leaders do. 

Great leaders don’t make it about them, but about the people they lead. When leaders lead with their ego, they shut out the possibility that other people may have better ideas than they do. But when a leader treats their teams with a mind for collaboration, they cultivate the best minds to make the best decisions possible.

The “Yes, and…” lifestyle takes time to adapt to. You’re going to fall off the wagon. But trust me, it’s going to change your career if you just keep at it. If you’re ready to learn more, check out Off Script: Mastering the Art of Business Improv.

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S4E43. Ignoring Your Instincts with Dr. Gleb Tsipursky

Dr. Gleb Tsipursky is the CEO of Disaster Avoidance Experts and the author of several books, including Returning to the Office and Leading Hybrid and Remote Teams: A Manual on Benchmarking to Best Practices for Competitive Advantage. He joins the show to lay out just why we can’t rely on our guts to tell us how to approach bringing workforces back to the office.

Through confirmation bias and the disconnect between higher management and their workforce, it can be very easy to make the wrong decisions when it comes to structuring a company in this new, post-COVID world. Thankfully, Gleb has studied the data extensively and he knows exactly where people are going right and where they’re going wrong.

A great example Gleb relays is how managers love Zoom happy hours as a morale booster and team building exercise while staff are separated. But the data all suggests that staff don’t enjoy these sessions and, if anything, they lead to more disconnect than before. 

  • A very small minority of employees want to return to the office full-time and, in many cases, they will look for work elsewhere (and even accept pay cuts in the process) if a company forces them to fully return to a physical building.
  • Employees hold a lot of power when it comes to this particular negotiation and it’s something management is still waking up to in a lot of places.
  • Everything from pay to office size will need to be reevaluated as a result of these changes.
  • Management teams should be placed in a position where they are forced to justify each day an employee is made to come to the office individually.

Ultimately, Gleb’s philosophy is about studying the numbers and looking at what people are actually doing. It may be counterintuitive in places, but that’s why it’s so valuable to hear what he has to say.

The superpower Gleb wants to teach us is learning to love discovering when we’re wrong. That way we can ensure we actually get things right. So think to yourself, now… What am I doing in my work right now that might not be the right way to do things?

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