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.

S4E32. We Are All Project Managers with Ann Campea

What does it take to become a project management professional?

Ann Campea, a project manager herself, joins us to discuss this growing profession and why she’s so passionate about what she does. With ten years of experience in the product development, consumer goods, tech, and healthcare industries, she has shown proven results in launching projects in physical retail spaces, onboarding new employees, trading existing ones, and more. She also hosts The Everyday PM podcast.

Whether you have the title of Project Manager or not, we all manage projects in our day-to-day lives. Until we recognize that, it’s hard to improve. Project management is not a one-size-fits-all profession. There’s so much diversity of thought and approach that you should learn from the best and apply whatever works for you.

Most project managers don’t set out towards that role. They work hard in their fields, then, suddenly, they look up one day and realize that they’ve picked up all of the project management skills and experience as they went. But that’s changing. Today, many young people are setting out with the specific intention of becoming a project manager. And that means that there’s now an opportunity for those who have walked the path to pass their learning to others.

If you’re interested in being a project manager, try it out. It’s not a profession that is for everyone, but it can be incredibly rewarding.

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S4E31. My Writing Process for Off Script

Since starting work on my new book, I’ve received a number of questions about the writing process. I don’t have a degree in English, literature, or journalism – yet here I am, about to publish my 3rd business book… with book number four already cooking in my head.

Here are 13 things I’ve learned about writing a book:

  1. If you don’t think you can write a book, you can’t. If you think you can write a book, you can.
  2. You want your book to be between 150-200 pages. That’s around 35-45k words.
  3. Your book raises your expertise, credibility, and authority in whatever you are writing about.
  4. Consider hiring a book coach.
  5. Outline your book.
  6. Create that “shitty first draft.”
  7. Assemble your manuscript and put it in a binder.
  8. If you can’t find a title, ask friends or colleagues who aren’t as close to the project.
  9. Spend a couple of weeks making changes and edits.
  10.  Find a publisher.
  11.  Create an editorial board.
  12.  Create the cover (or have it outsourced).
  13.  Be willing to change the title as you go.

This is an overview of the writing process I’ve used for my last two books. I hope it’s of help to you, and I can’t wait to share Off Script with the world.

S4E30. Making Accounting Education Accessible & Fun with Toby York

Do you think accounting can be fun? Is there a way to make it less boring and more engaging? Do you believe that learning accounting is easy and something everyone should do?

Toby York wants to see if he can change your mindset around those questions. He’s not your typical accounting instructor. He’s the founder of Accounting Cafe, a community for anybody who believes that accounting education can be an engaging and enjoyable experience for teachers and learners alike. He’s a senior lecturer at Middlesex University Business School, teaching Entrepreneurial Finance and Financial Accounting, and is an accredited Color Accounting trainer as well as an advisor to the Color Accounting Foundation.

We’ve been teaching accounting as a functional skill in the same way since the ‘70s. And people weren’t taught to understand why things were the way that they were – just to do them the way that way. Toby found this approach so frustrating while he was teaching accounting that he started looking for a new approach to teaching entry level accounting. 

When it comes to accounting, learning it well requires a certain level of enthusiasm – and that’s a problem, because so many people view accounting as something boring and tedious. We need to bring the spark back. It’s one of the most important social technologies we’ve ever developed and, even moreso, financial statements tell stories. If we can think of it in terms of storytelling, doesn’t that make the whole thing that much more exciting?

If you don’t really understand accounting and financial statements, you can’t ask the right questions. You won’t even know if you’re in good financial shape or bad financial shape. And you won’t know what to do to make it better.

An understanding of accounting is vital to so much of what we do in the modern world, and it’s really not that hard to grasp. We need to stop gatekeeping with obfuscating terminology and start making this profession and this information accessible to everyone. Part of that is making it fun, which is possible.

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S4E29. How White Castle Built an Iconic, Memorable Brand with Jamie Richardson & John Kelley

Guess who turned 100 years old in 2021? White Castle, the famous hamburger restaurant.

One thing is true: Those who love White Castle will always have a story to tell. Jamie Richardson, VP of Marketing and Public Relations, and John Kelley, Chief People Officer, are going to share some of those stories.

White Castle, America’s first fast-food hamburger chain, has been making hot and tasty sliders as a family-owned business for 100 years. Currently based in Columbus, Ohio, White Castle started serving the original slider in 1921. Today, White Castle owns and operates more than 360 restaurants dedicated to satisfying customer cravings morning, noon, and night. In 2021, Fast Company named White Castle as one of the ten most innovative dining companies.

Maintaining the culture of a family-owned business over that amount of time and that many restaurants is no small feat, but from the moment White Castle was founded, Walter Anderson and Billy Ingram wanted to build a different kind of company. It was their belief that happy team members led to happy customers, and that was the bedrock of the business. It’s an ideology that has been passed on through the family and through future executives. It has evolved over time, but treating everyone like family has always remained constant.

If you want one piece of evidence that White Castle means something special to people, just look at their grand opening events. When they opened a restaurant in Orlando, Florida people waited 4-5 hours in line to get some food. Of course, there’s the taste of their product, but White Castle means something to people beyond just the food. It’s a testament to their branding and culture that they’re still so well known and highly regarded after all this time.

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S4E28. Creating a Team of Psychological Safety with Steve Morris

What type of work culture have you created? Does it provide the belief that you won’t be punished when you make a mistake?

Steve Morris started his career designing multi-million dollar racing yachts and building and coaching high-performing teams to help his clients win the most demanding races. He ran and grew a small business, then transitioned his career, becoming a certified project management professional in charge of million dollar budgets and even helping the US Navy launch ships. Six years ago, he started his own business, Catylator, with a mission and passion to help business owners build better lives through creating better businesses, getting unstuck, fueling growth, achieving higher profits, and having more fun with their crew. 

In his work with leadership teams, Steve became aware of the concept of psychological safety. In a Google study that aimed to determine what was different about their highest performing teams, they discovered that the one trait the best teams all had in common was psychological safety.

But what is psychological safety? It’s about creating an atmosphere or environment within a team where members feel safe and comfortable asking questions, taking risks, and giving feedback.

One of the techniques Steve uses to help teams facilitate psychological safety is something he picked up from the Lego Serious Play methodology. The first step is to level the playing field. No matter what your title is, everyone at the table is on equal footing. Then, people build models that represent their ideas and take turns explaining what their model means to them. The beauty of this is that nobody can say, “You’re wrong.” The meaning is personal. This creates an environment that allows people to feel safe sharing their stories.

When you’re able to create the right environment, teams can operate at their best. No idea gets shut down and people feel safe to think outside the box or bring their best ideas to the table. 

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