It takes patience to gather around a table of colleagues and throw a bunch of ideas at a wall to see what sticks. But at the Maryland Association of CPAs' recent Leadership Academy in Timonium, Md., under the facilitation of MACPA and Business Learning Institute CEO Tom Hood and MACPA strategic business partner and BLI instructor Gretchen Pisano, it also took literal stickiness, in the form of large Post-It notes.
Hood's popular "management by sticky notes" technique was still dependent on the aforementioned skills, as we participants worked in teams to conceptualize, write, and then share our ideas before affixing them to walls to watch patterns and directives emerge as they joined with those of the other teams.
Visualizing our progress, first individually, then in groups, and finally as a collective of ambitious CPAs (plus me), gave us the freedom to brainstorm in the moment, and streamline later. Any hesitation to answer training session questions that first day soon gave way to impassioned scribbling and discussion by the third day, when the focus became introspective and had us identifying our individual character strengths and values.
The process was intentionally funneled into those last personal meditations, having begun with strategic thinking about accounting's historical context, leading into present concerns, future trends, and then carefully constructed action plans for the largest ones.
My team tackled the profession's social media "problem," devising steps of internal education, firmwide policy-setting, identification of relevant and communicative experts to give voice to those channels, and, finally, the acumen for these users to absorb as much information as they pushed out.
The fastest Post-It we hung was to the "When?" question -- "Now!" it exclaimed with an extra-sticky hashtag of #Duh.
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