Upon entering the K-8 school that two of my three children currently attend, one of the first things you will notice is a glass case that is dedicated to the idea of a Growth Mindset. Over 30 years ago, professor Carol Dweck, Ph.D. first used the terms fixed mindset and growth mindset to describe a new way of thinking about learning and intelligence. Dr. Dweck said, “when students believe they can get smarter, they understand that effort makes them stronger. Therefore, they put in extra time and effort, and that leads to higher achievement.” Our school uses the concept of grit to illustrate the importance of perseverance in learning; taken a step further, the concept is revolutionary for the evolving professional.
In their book, Grit to Great, How Perseverance, Passion, and Pluck Take You from Ordinary to Extraordinary, Linda Kaplan Thayer and Robin Koval define GRIT as Guts, Resilience, Initiative and Tenacity . We really resonate with how this acronym invites success, so in this article we are going to show how you can apply the concept of GRIT both in your accounting practice and in everyday life.
- Do a Gut Check
Accounting is the universal language of business and it will always be in demand. Chances are you went into this field because you knew this field would open doors and lead to myriad opportunities. It would be silly to say that public accounting is wholly altruistic work, but client service is no laughing matter. Your work matters – a lot. As an expert in your field, you have the opportunity to offer your clients peace of mind and allow them to dream big. Doing a gut check means you need to bring intention and focus back to the table. Whether you’re helping a single-parent-entrepreneur grow their business or helping a striving business thrive, helping people serves a very high purpose of making the world a better place. Remember why you choose to do what you do and own it as an individual and an organization!
- Cultivate Resilience
If passion and perseverance are the engine by which we reach our long-term goals then resilience is the fuel that keeps us going strong. Angela Duckworth, psychologist and author of the book Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance, describes resilience as identifying how you can make tomorrow better even if you failed today. The lesson of resilience must be applied from the intern all the way up to the partner level if you want to keep your organization healthy. The public accounting profession requires its practitioners to possess technical knowledge, people skills, integrity, innovation and marketing and sales savvy. Resilience for CPAs means pressing on, even when you something doesn’t work the first time or right away and adopting an attitude of optimism, no matter what the circumstance. Harvard Business Review wrote a great piece on this topic – we suggest you check it out to further your understanding of Resilience at Work.
- Take Initiative and Practice Like an Expert
“Experts take their overall project and break it into tiny little bits and practice them one by one by one,” says Duckworth. Firms with GRIT go deep in their areas of specialty and take the initiative to continue learning. They also practice like an expert. In our virtual firm, we find success in the granular by way of task management software and CRM. Firms with GRIT are leveraging technology and workplace automation that will help them manage their workload in a way that results in less stress, better client service and higher profitability and capacity. Growing your business requires perseverance, and perseverance is energized by working smarter, not harder! Check out our latest Spotlight feature on how one accounting firm on-boarded a CRM system.
- Have Tenacity for Your Passion
Ray Bradbury famously said, “love what you do and do what you love.” The nature of public accounting is very client focused, so a sluggish or non-existent passion will betray you. Some of our best clients show excitement for their industry by enthusiastically sharing knowledge, developing thought leadership, mentoring others, or taking the time to learn something new. When you’re deeply interested in something you’re more willing to go above and beyond and put in the extra effort necessary to accomplish your goals. Passion always generates action! What would translating passion into action look like in your firm? Could it be facilitating a networking event for female CPAs? Hosting a lunch and learn for local businesses? Making space in your schedule to mentor a younger colleague? The possibilities are endless.
For CPAs and everyone else, having Guts, being Resilient, showing Initiative and becoming Tenacious is a process. At Inovautus, we love joining accounting firms on their journey toward growth. Whether it’s training staff on how to leverage software to help them practice like an expert or encouraging accounting practitioners to develop their thought leadership skills, we take GRIT seriously. Promoting a growth mindset in accounting firms means we never let you off the hook for your own success. Find out how we can help your firm by contacting us today!