Tax season is full of difficult conversations. In my profession and as a leader, you are usually tasked with driving them. The truth is, difficult conversations whether around finances, operations, employee talent or even sometimes what color carpet should be in the reception area, makes our businesses progress. The companies that embrace them excel and often outperform the competition in the marketplace. A recent TEDtalk video I stumbled upon was led by Mark Modesti. In it he discusses why we need to embrace the trouble we ache to escape – before it finds us (To view the video, click here). He provides good insight, that I thought could be narrowed down to these 3 outcomes:
1. Removes Barriers. As a business leader who has avidly read, “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team,” I have come to recognize the “Fear of Conflict” or the desire to preserve artificial harmony stifles the occurrence of productive dialogues. High performing teams are comfortable having critical topics on the table and having “lively” meetings. They avoid wasting time talking about the wrong issues and revisiting the same topics over and over again. In my experience, the so called “trouble makers” of the group don’t live to rock the boat, they embrace the waves and help you steer through the storm.
2. Discovers Possibilities. A structured debate helps your team grow. It makes you step back and revision, realign and refocus efforts. Modesti, in the video used Blockbuster as an example of an organization missing an opportunity because they were in the fixer mindset. Not in the builder mindset – looking for new possibilities and avenues to grow. The important thing to remember when your team is in the “builder mindset” is that you focus on your shared goals, and not winning the argument. Some people just can’t help it. “Let me play devil’s advocate…” they’ll say. When someone opens with this frank admission, it’s reasonable to ask why they think that’s constructive. Try: “Let’s not. We all agree that we need to find new ways to develop talent. Let’s build on that, instead of trying to dismantle what we’ve already accomplished.”
3. Drives Effective Results. Imagine the impact of injecting more hard conversations into your team. What would this mean to your team’s productivity, morale, retentions and ability to function? In fact your CPA should be one of your key resources when considering these ideas. Our purpose is to provide value outside of completing forms and keeping you up-to-date on compliance matters. Our job is to hold the hard conversations with your team in order to develop the best outcomes for your business.
No one loves difficult conversations, but the more you embrace transparency and take feedback as an opportunity to change for the better, the more value you get out of the situation. Embrace your “trouble makers” on the team; I bet the more you do – the more opportunities and effective outcomes you will be able to achieve.
About: McLean, Koehler, Sparks & Hammond (MKS&H) is a professional service firm with offices in Hunt Valley and Frederick. MKS&H helps owners and organizational leaders become more successful by putting complex financial data into truly meaningful context. But deeper than dollars and data, our focus is on developing an understanding of you, your culture and your business goals. This approach enables our clients to achieve their greatest potential.