As a kid growing up in South Africa, I used to hear stories of a famous warrior called Shaka Zulu.
He was a very demanding warrior and expected his troops to practice every day, often running several miles barefoot over thorny ground to toughen their feet.
The leaders of the other tribes weren’t as demanding…
They liked to party and didn’t expect their troops to practice as much, never mind run over thorny ground.
Shaka Zulu and his troops took these tribes by surprise and wiped them out.
The moral of the story?
The troops are always a mirror reflection of the leader.
I recall working with a 3-partner firm some years ago and on a number of coaching calls they would say to me: “Rudi our team are always late with their work and they never do what they say they’ll do”.
This was the perfect opportunity for me to point out that…
- The 3 of them were almost always late to coaching calls
- It was rare that they’d do what they said they will do
…and yet, that was the very thing they were complaining about.
With this realisation, the 3 of them began to change. And as they changed, so did their team.
So, if you want to make changes in your practice, yes, by all means you are going to make changes to systems and people.
But most importantly, you have to change YOU!
Nobody is born a great business leader
There’s nobody on this planet that was born simply knowing how to be an amazing business leader.
It’s something that comes with learning, knowledge and wisdom, and usually it takes the best leaders many years to hone their skills.
So, there’s nothing bad or wrong about wanting to work on your self-development as a business owner. Instead, it’s something that should be celebrated and encouraged.
And self-development doesn’t mean a dirty weekend away at a tax conference!
Here are some areas that I believe are crucial for self-development:
If you want to be a successful practice owner, then you need to have the right mindset to do that.
As humans, we’re born with a natural ability to continuously accept and conquer new challenges, but only if we choose to do so. We need to have the mindset that we can achieve big things in life and that’s half the battle.
We need to actively seek out new challenges and undertake them to the very best of our ability. We need also to not be afraid of change and be willing to take steps towards success, no matter how difficult it seems.
After all, success doesn’t just happen overnight. It takes a lot of dedication, willingness to change, hard work and perseverance.
Want to learn more about building a stronger mindset, here are some books I’d recommend:
- Think and grow rich – Napoleon Hill
- Mindpower into the 21st century – John Kehoe
- Drive: The surprising truth about what motivates us – Dan Pink
- The one thing – Gary Keller
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out that you need excellent leadership skills if you want to own and run your own accountancy practice in the very best way possible.Great leadership skills are essential if you want to turn your accountancy practice into a business that is growing and thriving.
You need to understand what leadership behaviours are effective and which ones are ineffective.
Some books I’d recommend you read are:
- Leadership 101 – John C Maxwell
- The 21 irrefutable laws of leadership – John C Maxwell
- Developing the leader within you – John C Maxwell
- How to win friends and influence people – Dale Carnegie
Learning how to communicate effectively with both your team members and your clients is another thing that’s crucial to running a successful practice.
If you can successfully communicate with your team, you’re able to convey what it is you want and need in a respectful and courteous manner.
Being able to clearly and concisely say what it is you need team members to do for you also helps to improve efficiency as it takes all of the guesswork out of tasks and projects for your team members. They understand their tasks and deliverables and so can focus on their work with confidence.
Having good communication between you and your team members can also help to create a good working relationship between you and them, which can improve team morale.
And successful communication with clients can mean building great relationships and rapport that make them loyal and elevate their experience working with your company.
For improving communication skills, the 2 things I would strongly recommend would be joining your local Toastmasters club, and also going on an NLP training course.
Both of them are invaluable.
Is your practice currently a reflection of you?
If you’re currently wondering why your practice doesn’t have the growth, profitability, success that you’re looking for, then it might be time to take a look in the mirror…
This can be the hardest thing to do. I’ve been there. But it’s where you’ll gain the biggest insights and find the most growth.
A business is always a mirror reflection of it’s leader, so take some time to focus on your own personal development and your practice success will start to follow.