10 Ways Leaders Can Influence Company Culture
The Green Apple Podcast does weekly “Green Apple Slices”, where John Garrett and Rachel Fisch discuss a recent business article related to the Green Apple Message. These shorter segments are released each Monday, so don’t miss an episode by subscribing on iTunes or an Android app.
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Good morning. Happy New Year. It’s John Garrett coming to you with the first ever episode of Green Apple Slices in 2019 with partner in crime, the Accountants and Alliances for Sage Canada, Rachel Fisch.
Rachel: Hey, John. How are you?
John: I’m good. I don’t think partner in crime is technically on your business card but it maybe should be.
Rachel: I think it’s as official as it gets.
John: It’s official as it gets when John says it. Oh, boy. But we always come together and talk through an article. I just assumed that since it’s almost been a week since New Year’s Eve, we’re both over our hangovers. We’re all good.
Rachel: It is still a Monday morning, like weak on the expectations there today.
John: But we’ll see what happens. I found this article on Forbes. It was, “10 Ways Leaders Can Influence Company Culture.” It’s article by William Craig. I know how much you love the lists and the bold faced.
Rachel: I love the list. I love the bolds. I’m missing the number bullets. I have to call this out. I’m sorry. An editor should have caught this. If you have a list of ten things, I want to see what number one is and then what number two is. I’m feeling a little lost but that’s okay.
John: Maybe there’s not even ten. Maybe that’s why they didn’t number them. But I don’t know. Well, no, wait. I’ll just count it. All right. There are ten.
Rachel: I now have some numbers on my monitor here, right?
Rachel: I’d have to write them in.
John: It’s very creative of you. But some of them are things that we talked about before and similar things like being collaborative and sharing your vision. But one that I thought was pretty important is, “Just Don’t Be Afraid (or Ashamed) of Failure.” That’s something that I talked about a lot at conferences and at firm events and things, partner retreats and stuff. I call it the trust rut where we’re all trying to be so perfect, a 100% perfect 100% of the time. That’s impossible because you’re human. The more that you try to be perfect, the more you’re going to feel like a failure because any little slipup at all, whether it’s a big deal or not, you’re going to feel like a failure. That’s really going to eat at you. I mean anxiety and depression kicks in and you go — I mean it’s just not a good situation. Don’t be afraid of that because we’re all human. The people around you are also human. The best thing is when it comes to accounting, I mean you could just file an amendment. I mean like, “Oops.”
Rachel: There are no accounting emergencies, right? There is no — nothing in the accounting world that can’t be fixed.
John: We’re not in the emergency room here where lives are at stake.
Rachel: No, for sure. I think that that one goes really well with the one right after it, which is, “Take More Risks.” In many cases, when you’re talking about especially firms that tend to be a little bit more on the innovative side and creative and finding new ways like the nontraditional firms, right? We talked about how traditional was such a great word last week.
John: Yeah. Yeah.
Rachel: But because if you create a culture that is afraid of failure or even worse ashamed of failure, then your employees or even yourself, you’re not going to take those risks that could actually end up paying off, right? You live in this super safe space where you don’t actually end up innovating because you’re not willing to really put yourself out there on something that may or may not work. Meanwhile, it may be amazing for you and your firm. You just don’t know it. I think those two go hand and hand a little bit too.
John: For sure. Absolutely. I love this line, “Adequate isn’t exciting, and it doesn’t get things done.”
Rachel: I know a lot of adequate firms.
John: Right. Right. Exactly. Yeah. I mean another one right up to that, “Roll With the Punches.” I mean that’s the thing. Take your job seriously, but don’t take yourself so seriously. Sometimes things happen. Sometimes you’ve got to just adjust on the fly. That’s a huge deal for people that are around you to not feel that pressure, to always be on all the time and extra hours and all that. Sometimes stuff happens. It’s cool. We’ll fix it, not a big deal.
Rachel: But I think that that mentality, it doesn’t mean you have to be wishy-washy. It just means that you’re able to be flexible and that you’re able to pivot well. The next point talks about, “Being clear about expectations.” There are some points. Yes, you want to make sure that it’s collaborative environment. Yes, you want to make sure that your employees are bought in to your vision, all of these great things. But at some point, you may need to step up and make decisions as a leader. Here it says, “Ambiguity just isn’t okay sometimes.” Never lose sight of the fact that you are a leader and not a — I don’t know — camp counselor. I’m picturing sitting around the campfire singing Kumbaya or something. Sometimes, some decisions need to be made. As a leader, it’s your responsibility to make them. But also and the last point is being able to hand off leadership or allow others to make decisions if you think that that would help as well.
John: Yeah, most definitely. I mean this has to go with succession planning with firms. People are just riding out until the end because they don’t really have anything else to go do. At some point, you need to be wise enough to say, “Hey, I think someone else would be better taking the reins.” Whether it’s on a long-term basis or maybe it’s on this whole project. Whatever it is, you need to know when to allow others to step up. Plus, allowing them to step up on small things gives them a little bit of training wheels for when the bigger things do come and you’re retired. Then they don’t have to go from zero to 60. Yeah. That being said, Rachel, you’re now in charge of the — no, I’m just kidding. What are you? Crazy?
John: But it’s always fun hanging out. I’m looking forward to the rest of 2019. Everybody can check out greenapplepodcast.com if you want to read the article with all ten of the points that are made in the article. Don’t forget to hit subscribe, so you don’t miss any of the future episodes that we do. Follow us on Twitter @GreenApplePod or Rachel’s @FischBooks. I’m @RecoveringCPA. With that being said, hope everyone has a good start to the New Year. We’ll talk to you next Monday.