S5E24: Networking Even Accountants Can Mingle

“Any gathering of individuals, no matter how large or small, is an opportunity to meet someone.” Peter Margaritis

If the thought of networking makes you sweat, it’s time to rethink what networking is. Anytime you are at an event or even in a meeting where you don’t know someone, you have the opportunity to network. It’s about introducing yourself and getting to know someone. This involves having the right attitude, believing in yourself, having a plan, and remembering to smile.

By taking just a little time to get in the right mindset, you’ll have a lot more confidence walking into any event, and simply smiling can make anyone more approachable. Any gathering of individuals, no matter how large or small, is an opportunity to meet someone. Preparation is vital in making connections, and this means doing your homework. Engage people by being curious about them. It is a great way to break the ice and create a rapport with someone. The key to effective implementation is to be a good listener with your eyes and ears. Always end a conversation by asking someone to feel free to contact you at any time, if you could do anything for them

S5E21: Burn Ladders Build Bridges with Dr. Alan Patterson

“The idea of burning the ladder is a shifting mindset, and building bridges is the action that creates opportunities to build relationships.’ Dr. Alan Patterson

My guests today are Dr. Alan Patterson and Jenny Knuth. Alan has more than three decades of international business experience. In 2006, he formed Mentore, a consulting practice specializing in leadership and organizational development. Many global and national businesses and organizations have tapped his expertise, including Anheuser Busch, Biogen, Federal Reserve Bank, Johnson and Johnson, Hewlett Packard, Major League Baseball, and the United States Navy. He’s the author of ‘Leader evolution: From Technical Expertise to Strategic Leadership.’ In addition, Alan has been a college lecturer and frequent presenter at several state and national conferences. He released his new book ‘Burn ladders, Build Bridges: Pursuing Work with Meaning and Purpose,’ on May 6 of this year, and can be found on Amazon. Jenny, Dr. Alan’s marketing person, also joins us in our conversation.

While working with my clients, I realized that there is blind faith in career progression and that people were on this treadmill that inherently held that someone else would decide for them the next step. Despite the need for such judgments, it is evident that devastation has taken place because people have become very limited, thus the need for a better concept and a better mindset.

Many people feel like the moves they need to make are out of their control, and I beg to differ. There’s a lot within your control, but the approach has to be different. If you’re looking for meaning and purpose, you’re not going to find it on the ladder. That meaning and purpose comes through meeting and working with people.

It’s not a one-size-fits-all when it comes to who is a ladder burner. However, the people you find on the edge of the organizations have created these multiple relationships across the organization. So people that speak up have this broader view of their job and are looking to make a difference would be characterized as ladder burners.

A ladder climber puts themselves in the middle of their universe, but it is about how they can help ladder burners and is never about themselves. The idea of burning the ladder is a shifting mindset, and building bridges is the action that creates opportunities to build relationships.

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S5E15: The Four L’s In Changing One’s Mindset with Robert Bendetti, Jr.

“There is a real direct application to being human with what you learn in theatre and Improv.” Robert Bendetti

Today, our guest is Robert Bendetti, Jr., CPA, who is the Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Life Cycle Engineering. As CFO, he is responsible for all financial operations of the company and accounting contracts, purchasing, Process automation, and IT. Before Life Cycle Engineering, Robert served as VP of Finance at Galey and Lord and CFO of the Coastal Logistics Group and a financial management position within Lockheed Martin, Hormel Foods, and Hilton Hotels.

Robert is also president and founder of the Global CFO Council. The purpose of the global CFO counselors is to provide an educational and networking forum for senior financial executives to share the best practices, discuss current financial issues, and learn about current topics related to their job performance. There are 1500 members in 32 countries. Robert has a great sense of humor and embraces Improv due to his background in the performing arts.

There are four L’s that goes into changing your mindset. These include Learning, Leading, Listening, and Leaving. The first L is learning, which comes from podcasts, books, mentors, and networking, and it could be professional certifications, which is a great way to learn in whatever field you’re in.

The second L is leading, which includes serving and empowering others and volunteering wherever you’re. In the current environment, community, civic, and industry associations desperately need folks like us to volunteer at any phase of your career. There’s no greater way to learn and change your mindset than by embedding yourself with others and serving and empowering them.

The third L is listening, and a great way to grow is by being a mentor and having mentees and listening to them. Another way to do this is to listen to your customer, and the only way you can listen to the customer is if you’re out with the customer. It is also essential to listen to your team members and learn from them.

I am primarily an internal consultant to the CEO and the business operations leaders. But also, my customers include the end-user of the service and products and solutions that we sell, and then I have all the team members at the company. My job is to keep everybody happy, engaged, excited, and equipped to do their job.

The last L is Leaving, and sometimes to change your mindset, you got to change some things about your environment. You need to take out some things and leave like negative influences, some bad friends or some habits.

To affirm those that are listening and doubt themselves, you can learn enough so that you can have an enjoyable conversation and interact with people, or have the confidence to say something in a meeting or to your boss in the moment, instead of on the way home and have all the regret not doing it. Those are the kind of skills that you can learn by doing maybe a little reading or listening to a podcast or taking an Improv class.

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S5E11: An Accounting Firm that YOU Should Hire with Courtney DeRonde

“It’s really about understanding what is your way that you uniquely contribute to your business, and most of the time, it’s not going to be where you’re spending most of your time.” Courtney DeRonde

Today, my guest is Courtney DeRonde, a CPA and managing partner of TDT CPAs and Advisors— the boutique advisory and accounting firm for small businesses and nonprofit organizations. The company helps overwhelmed, successful leaders, understand and maximize financial information to achieve better results and move the organizations to the next level.

As the owner of a firm and managing partner, she also has first-hand experience running and scaling a small business. Courtney understands the need to help and teach clients the importance of being more financially literate. When TDT takes on clients, they learn more about their business to become a better partner, not just for a transaction.

The first question that successful business owners ask is, “how does my business make money?” As businesses grow and scale, you get the increased activity that you’re not directly involved with anymore. Therefore, the mindset shift is looking at good information that tells you where your business is making money.

The second question is about cash flow, and it is a shift from how much I have to what is flowing in and out of business over the next few weeks. Continuously looking at that helps eliminate surprises because most financial surprises are not usually positive. This mind shift allows you to be prepared and take action if things don’t look good shortly and not just look at where you stand today.

Our approach with our clients is very much from an educational standpoint, and the goal is to empower them to understand and use the information that we give them to make decisions.

The third question is about determining the highest leverage of time and talents. It’s really about understanding how you uniquely contribute to your business is. Most of the time, it’s not going to be where you’re spending most of your time.

Your product needs to be profitable, but it doesn’t have to be the best. It would be best to focus on the mix of something that you can do profitably and something that people need. Once you get something out there, you can improve it and make it better.

Often, people don’t have accurate information in their heads about costs and overheads just because no one’s helping them understand how all of this information flows. Pricing is a big part of how we help clients with recognizing and getting information around margins.

There’re certain times when it might make sense to lower your margin on a particular bid because of the future opportunities that can come from it. The main thing is knowing your actual margin to avoid paying to do the job instead of getting paid to do it.

If the price is a very sensitive issue, you need to give clients a couple of options. This gives them the opportunity and the agency to decide what they want.

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S5E9: The Big Power of Tiny Connections with Jen Nash

“I truly believe that every person you meet has the power to change your life, and you have the power to change theirs.” Jen Nash

My guest today is Jen Nash, The Connector in Chief. Jen helps people add more meaning to their lives through connection. She’s a master facilitator, passionate about masterful storytelling, corporate training, and an author and sought-after executive coach. With over 20 years working as an entrepreneur building a multimillion-dollar real estate portfolio, and offering consulting services to Fortune 100 former tech, health, and finance giants, Jen Nash now regularly inspires and supports leaders to deepen their connections of all the good things in life.

 Born in Canada and raised around the world, Jen is an IFC certified executive coach and a graduate of the coach of the Life program. She studied communication design at Parsons and the New York School of Social Research in New York City. When not traveling the globe learning new ways to say thank you in finding bright souls with whom to foster lifelong friendships, Jen Nash can be seen biking around New York City, Los Angeles, or striding around El Centro, Mexico.

People have this innate fear of talking and connecting with strangers, and it is human. In chapter two of my book, I ask the reader to scan the top eight excuses that come up to avoid connecting with people. I then ask them to pick the one that resonates with them, and I jump into it.

Networking to some degree sounds hard because there’s a net underneath; you’re working. I genuinely believe that if you want to stay employed for the rest of your life, you want a net around your work. But connecting is so much more because it is about infusing that little moment with intangible fun.

We really get hard on ourselves, and it’s like from the outside to the inside, humans second guess themselves. One of the things that I suggest in the book is if you’re feeling awkward, be honest, lean into that vulnerability and share that because all of a sudden, it just makes you human.

I think that in life, we have this misconception that there is such a thing as good and evil. Sometimes we all need to accept that we don’t always get the final say. Unfortunately, I believe that humans only grow when they’re in pain. One of the exciting things about the big power of tiny connections is these little sparks with other people that are not always pleasant.

When you look into the answer to what more you want out of life, you can understand where you might want to consider leaning in and connecting. I truly believe that every person you meet has the power to change your life, and you have the ability to change theirs.

There are a lot of people who are held back by fear. Only a courageous person can realize that they will never get more if they keep living precisely how they have been living. It is hard but sometimes, when you hold a spotlight at something scary, all of a sudden; it’s not so frightening because the spotlight is illuminating all the dark crevices, and you’re seeing it.

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