[IMGCAP(1)]If you haven’t figured it out yet, people who are dealing with issues outside of your office not only struggle to provide value from their role, but they inadvertently interrupt the value provided by your entire organization. There is a story whirling around the college football arena about this exact issue.

Since I am a UCLA fan, I love watching the drama of this story get worse by the minute. But to be honest, this is a serious issue that can derail the progress and future of your firm.

The storyline goes like this: Steve Sarkisian, coach of the USC football team, has personal issues that are hindering his performance. Whether it’s his marriage, kids, drinking, or whatever the issue, Coach Sarkisian believed he could manage these issues at home and bring his best day in and day out to the office. The only problem is, he couldn’t. Over the last couple months he has been viewed as inappropriate in his comments on multiple occasions. His team has struggled. And his personal issues have been compounded until USC fired him. The USC athletic department is viewed as one that values winning over people. Meanwhile the football team is in limbo, and future recruits, on-the-field success, and the major funding effects (directly related to on-field performance) are unknown.

Now back to your accounting firm…

Don’t think this can’t happen to your firm. OK, so maybe the news won’t be all over ESPN. But it will be in your local business journal. The bond and trust that you built with your clients, with your staff, with your community will be hurt. People understand that mistakes are made. What people don’t understand (or accept) is when trends exist and there is no action to remove the issue until it is out of control. If there is a perception that winning was more valued than somebody’s life, it is truly unacceptable.

To expand, the fallout from errors like these does not dissolve overnight. The pain, the loss of trust, the broken relationships take years and years to resolve. And even then they never really go away. It remains as part of who you and your firm are. The error in judgment (rightfully or wrongly) will be a consistent presence in the life of your practice.

The moral of the story is this: No client, no scheme, no shortcut, no lie is worth the repercussions. The penalty is stiff; the relationships lost are difficult to overcome; the reputation you have developed has been tainted. Care for your people. Support them when they need it. Be honest and open. Your future success is dependent on the ability to view decision making not based on winning or losing, but doing what is right. To achieve the long-term results you seek, losing in the short term is not the worst outcome. USC has lost more than a coach and a couple football games—they have set themselves up for future failure by not caring enough for their people.

Adam Blitz is a CPA and a relationship builder. Through his website www.getblitzedsolutions.com, GetBlitzed Solutions offers FREE resources for CPA's to strengthen their practices. Focusing exclusively on the soft side of accounting - Business Development, Cloud Accounting Development, Coaching, and Leadership Development - GetBlitzed Solutions uses insight from years of public accounting practice to guide CPA's toward successful practices.  Adam has a Masters in Leadership Studies and has published a thesis on the value a CPA provides to clients and staff. You can reach Adam at Adam@getblitzedsolutions.com or via Twitter @getblitzed.

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