So what’s happening now that makes this idea of next-generation leadership so important?
The answer, in a word, is “change.” You guys said so in the polls we just took.
And what’s driving all of this change?
This guy, Daniel Burrus, a futurist and author of “Flash Foresight,” says we’re experiencing a perfect storm of sorts – three huge drivers of change that are working together to accelerate the pace of change.
Those three drivers are technology, globalization, and demographics.
Let’s talk about each for a moment.
The first is technology, and shifts in technology. Moore’s Law, developed in 1965 by Gordon Moore, co-founder of Intel. – processing speeds, or overall processing power, for computers doubles every 18 months or so, while the cost drops by half. -- Aspen Institute rate of change: As it relates to science and technology ....
Fifteen years ago, how many of us could have wrapped our brains around concepts like Siri, or Google Glass, or driverless cars? Today’s iPhones are as powerful as Apple’s top-of-the-line laptops were 10 years ago. The latest iPad is faster than the world’s most powerful supercomputer was in 1985. Thinking about stuff like that makes me dizzy, so I’m pretty sure that whatever comes next will make my head explode.
It will also turn each of our jobs upside down. Need proof? Ask a journalist, or a recording industry executive, or whoever’s in charge of the U.S. Postal Service. The day will come, I swear to God, when filing a tax return — any tax return — will be a completely automated process. What will happen to tax-pro CPAs when that day arrives?
If they’re smart, they’re not waiting to find out. They’re figuring out right now how to add new value to their clients’ lives once their traditional services have become outdated and automated. If you’re not doing that future-focused work, you're putting yourself at risk of irrelevancy at best … and extinction at worst.
It’s no wonder we feel overloaded.
And technology is changing more than just our jobs. It’s changing the world in which we work. Globalization doesn’t just apply to large global companies anymore, does it? We ALL work for global companies now, don’t we?
We’re seeing borders disappear and become almost meaningless from a business perspective. We’re seeing issues like convergence become more important. How can we get everyone to play under one common set of rules and standards. Example: IFRS. That debate still rages on. Complexity in laws, regulations, customs, traditions, languages. Is government regulation going to increase or not as a trend. Answer: Yes. You guys are in Canada, we’re in the U.S. We’ll be dealing with more of that going forward.
These drivers led directly to the work done by the profession in putting together its “Horizons 2025” report, a look at the trends that will impact the profession over the next decade.
And a lot of these are relatively new issues:
In old days when the shift changed, whistle would blow. Workers would come in with the same tools and pick up where the last shift left off.
We’re now undergoing the largest shift change in the history of man. Unlike in past, the skills the new shift needs are significantly different that those possessed by the last shift.
And HOW is it different?
Leadership - A recent Harvard Business Publishing study found only 32% of business leaders believe that their organizations have the right leadership to achieve their strategic goals and cope with the current business environment. Learning - L>C, flipped classrooms, participation and engagement are the new normal. Technology - hyper-connected, mobile, social, cloud, and big data. Generations - Generation gap, generation lap, and 2 for 1 (Boomers to Xers). Workplace - Work is no longer a place we go, but what we do - open, collaborative, and flexible.
In other words, what got you here won’t get you there.
This transformation won’t happen all at once.
Not sure how it’s happening at every one of your offices in Canada. But you have to pay attention. You have to look for what’s changing. Andrew Zolli. If your customers and competitors are making the shift, what are the implications of NOT making that shift.
I’m not telling you you HAVE to do these things. Telling you that it’s coming. This is what we’re seeing, and you have to decide what it means for you.
If you go too fast, you’re on the bleeding edge. If you go too slow, you run the risk of being disrupted and obsolete.
Hard trend is this is happening. Soft trend is, are you going to do anything about it?
In the U.S., we’re seeing CPA firms making these shifts. Big 10 have all moved in this direction.
So why are we here? What are we talking about today?
The answer, in a nutshell, is found in this slide.
This is a graph of the number of births per year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The bars in red represent the Baby Boomers, folks born between 1946 and 1964. The bars in blue represent Generation X, folks born roughly between 1965 and 1980. The tan bars represent the Millennials, those born between the early 80s and the early 2000s.
If you are worried about the future of your organization, this graph should scare the hell out of you.
There are 76.4 million Baby Boomers out there right now.
There are 51 million Gen Xers.
And there are 86 million Millennials.
What does that tell you?
Here’s what it tells me:
Here’s the problem: The Millennials? They don’t work the way the Boomers and the Xers do. The gap isn’t only in the numbers. It’s in the attitudes and priorities and work habits – and, for that matter, the life habits – of our youngest colleagues.
They do things a bit differently. That doesn’t make them wrong. Not at all. It just makes them different.
It means we have to work to understand them. And vice versa. Nobody is right or wrong here. We all just lack understanding.
So let’s start by understanding what these young professionals want from their work.
Thankfully, there is plenty of research to give us a clue.
The Intelligence Group, a research company that focuses on youth issues, has done a lot of research on millennials in the workplace, and they found that:
64% of them say it’s a priority for them to make the world a better place. 72% would like to be their own boss. But if they do have to work for a boss, 79% of them would want that boss to serve more as a coach or mentor. 88% prefer a collaborative work-culture rather than a competitive one. 74% want flexible work schedules. And 88% want “work-life integration,” which isn’t the same as work-life balance, since work and life now blend together inextricably.
Finally, they’re looking strategically at opportunities to invest in a place where they can make a difference, preferably a place that itself makes a difference.
Pricewaterhouse Coopers recently released the results of a similar study. It found that millennials:
Don’t want work demands to interfere with their personal lives. Want greater flexibility at work. Want a strong cohesive, team-oriented culture. Want opportunities for interesting work.
Now, what about young CPAs?
Let’s start with this: It’s a white paper produced by the graduates of the MACPA’s 2011 Leadership Academy.
What did they find?
According to these young professionals, the future is one in which CPAs:
are proactive, flexible, adaptive and collaborative by nature;
have regained the trust of their clients and the public at large;
have successfully bridged the profession’s “leadership gap” by focusing on succession planning, personal growth, and generational cooperation;
have created the profession’s premier global industry standards and best practices;
have redefined the profession through work-life integration, collaboration, and a team-first approach; and
have earned a reputation as technological innovators.
Next up is the MACPA’s Leadership Academy. This year’s class said they’re looking for leaders and colleagues who can help them save time and grow as leaders.
We received very similar results when we surveyed the young professionals who attended this year’s AICPA E.D.G.E. Conference.
Mixed in with all of that feedback from our young professionals were some unmistakable messages for the people who lead these young professionals.
Hold more collaborative meetings. Fewer closed-door "management" meetings. Be more transparent about the decisions that affect the members of the firm. Stop squelching the initiative of those below partner level. If people are willing to take on stretch assignments, encourage that. Reallocate people to effective teams based on their strengths. Schedule for the unknown. Expect items you can’t control or anticipate. Take time to save time via teamwork and brainstorming. Realize that your organizations’ health doesn’t rely solely on the billable hour. What are the other metrics of a healthy organization? Create a sustainable leadership culture in which everyone is engaged to accelerate your vision and mission we have. Not all clients are good clients. Be realistic of new work that’s brought in. Invest money and time in your staff’s training, then encourage feedback and expect changes as a result of the investment. Take a financial risk on leadership.
What Got You Here Won't Get You There: Leading the Next Generation in the Workplace
What got you
get you there
Leading the next
generation in the workplace
Bill Sheridan, CAE
Download today’s slides at …
Insights to Action
“One without the other is either useless or destructive.”
Respond to poll
Ask a question
Vote for a question
Select your session
and join the conversation.
Ten trends to watch
4. Information security
5. Consumer power
7. Work-life integration
8. Information overload (“filter failure”)
9. Complexity of rules / standards
up at night?
Not enough time
Being reactive vs.
Growth (and opportunity)
Doing more with less
11 things young
want you to know
1. More collaboration.
2. More transparency.
3. Encourage initiative.
4. Focus on strengths.
5. Expect the unexpected.
6. Take time to save time.
7. Look beyond the billable hour.
8. Engage your team in your vision.
9. Be realistic.
10.Train your staff and expect
11.Take a financial risk on leadership.
“We need to end
the war between
because we need
each other more
Download these slides:
MACPA’s blog: CPASuccess.com
What Got You Here Won’t Get You there