Moore or Less: Leadership Skills from the GOAT

MOORE-or-Less-Graphic.jpgRecently, I read an article about Tom Brady. For those who do not know, he is the quarterback for the New England Patriots who find themselves poised to win another Superbowl Championship. He, and his team, are either loved or hated – it seems like there is nothing in between. Whether you are on one side or the other, objectively, it seems ridiculous to pick apart his results, his numbers, or his statistics.

At 41, he holds a number of NFL records for passing yards, playoff wins, Superbowl touchdowns, and the list goes on and on. He is a champion and accomplished player and for that he is deservedly respected.

So what was he doing before the NFC Championship Game against the Kansas City Chiefs? He was working on his throwing mechanics. It seems implausible that someone as accomplished as he needs work on those finer details of his game, but he does and maybe that is why he finds himself and his team in so many championship runs. He focuses, maybe even to a fault, on the basics.

How does this athletic prowess translate to accounting? Depending upon your role, it could mean a number of things; however, some top items that I hear from successful partners and leaders include:
  • Be interested in your client’s business – This is such a cliché, yet I hear from a group of local, small businesses that this is one way that accountants can (or in some cases do) really differentiate themselves from other advisors. When interest is there, insights follow, deepening trust and furthering the relationship. Start small – make it a priority to learn one or two new things about a client each week.
  • Focus on fewer areas of expertise – We’ve heard the axiom and know that depth is better than width, yet it is still common to hear partners share that they have clients in multiple industry niches and focus on multiple service offerings. Specialization can be risky, yet commitment leads to value. I recently spoke to a firm whose main focus is global mobility services, generating more than $10 million in revenue. This hyper-specialization creates opportunities as businesses seek expertise in a complex and complicated area.
  • Freshen your skills and keep learning – When was the last time you took a course or read an article on something that was unrelated to your current role? There are plenty of short e-reads and quick podcasts that you find from cryptocurrency to brain research that offer great insights. Not only does this make you more interesting, they can cause you to see common problems and issues from new perspectives. This has led me to a number of ideas related to our conferences – some small ways to change up member interactions.
  • Establish a hobby or interest – My son does this better than me for sure. He has a passion for sound and enjoys tinkering with a synthesizer and mixer to create new musical sounds. This led him to an introduction where he was asked to help mix an SEC football teams fight songs that has been played during home football games. This makes him interesting and is helping him become known within that local circle.
  • Pay attention to a few key details – This is not about quantity, rather quality and applies to teams, clients, even family members. So much of our “value proposition” today is linked to the customer experience. Recently, I heard a couple of Managing Partners engage in a conversation about client gains and losses. They both agreed that a client loss, more often than not, is not because someone else has a better idea but rather because their own firm fails to deliver on a promised experience that was emphasized during the client intake process. So focus on a few important details around your client experience – prompt return calls, calls for no reason, hand written notes, and so on. Clients like the little details of things!
Perhaps you do some, maybe even all, of the above. If so, keep up the good work, and I’d love to hear about your successes. If not, why not challenge yourself and perhaps a colleague to commit to one of the above for 90-days and then share your results. Maybe you won’t win a Superbowl ring, but you might strengthen a relationship with a client, colleague, or maybe even a prospective client!