[IMGCAP(1)]You don’t have to be familiar with the song (“Gangnam Style”) to understand what THRIVEal is all about. First, to offer a refresher, THRIVEal is a professional network dedicated to helping firm leaders advance their practices through practical education and group innovation.

Even bigger than the “marketing” description is the culture of THRIVEal. It’s a place where you really feel a part of something bigger…where you feel like you belong. It’s made up of like-minded practitioners ready to do things differently to advance their firms into what THRIVEal members call the New Firm. At the core is a feeling of camaraderie.

Think back to high school. Maybe you were on the swimming or cross country team. You had individual events, but as points were earned, the entire time moved forward together. That’s what THRIVEal is about.

I recently attended a THRIVEal event. It’s tough to come up with an analogy to describe the experience…it’s really one-of-a-kind. Members gathered to share information and learn from others who are successfully operating thriving firms. There was a lot of intellectual exchange. Even better, there was a lot of emotional exchange, because it’s no longer just about running a firm and making a profit; it’s also about creating a positive culture, having fun, and balancing life and work. It’s about practitioners coming together for a single cause—advancing the broader movement to change the accounting profession as a whole.

Here’s an example of what we learned last week: creating a “ROWE” (Results Only Work Environment). While I consider my firm a ROWE, I found there is more I could be doing. For example, I explained that I ask my employees to text me if they are going to be late. The expert leading the ROWE presentation stated that this did not add to a ROWE culture. I argued that it did.

Later, after lunch, I was 10 minutes late for the afternoon session. The presenter had passed my cell phone number around, and as I walked into the room, my phone blew up with 30 texts asking where I was. That’s a lot of texts and time I’ll never get back. It made me think differently. I had to admit that the presenter was right. My texting policy (a management tool in my firm) was NOT promoting the tenets of ROWE and I needed to change it.

Of course, the ROWE theory was only one small part of the event. There was so much more…all experienced with friends and with a lot of laughter. Check out the latest THRIVEal video!

Jody L. Padar, CPA, MST, is a Certified Public Accountant experienced with Complex Federal & State Income Tax Compliance for Business & Individuals. Jody is an adjunct professor at Oakton Community College, where she teaches Taxation and QuickBooks Courses. She is part of Intuit Trainer Writer Network and speaks nationally on various Technologies and Taxation. She can be reached at www.newvisioncpagroup.com.