[IMGCAP(1)]CPA firms need to treat succession planning like Sylvester Stallone’s character, Barney, does in the movie "The Expendables 3."
Stay with me on this one.
Stallone and his colleagues know their days are not only numbered as action stars but probably should have ended a long time ago. It’s no longer just about old school, smash mouth displays of force in today’s action heroes it’s clear being tech-savvy is the new black.
This isn’t a hypothesis crafted from thin air; it’s the plot of many action movies these days, and such is the case in "The Expendables 3."
When I was at the movies this past weekend, all I could think about was how firms are struggling with the exact same issue. And all of us need to figure it out together—both the Gen Yers and the Boomers; the conservative and the cutting-edge.
The premise of the movie is basically this: Barney hires a new, younger crew after his usual colleagues botch a mission. Barney feels his old band of brothers have given enough to the Expendables, so he forces them into retirement.
After demanding that his crew enjoy the rest of their lives, Barney embarks on a suicide mission with his younger charges, all of whom are skilled not only in combat, but also in technology, much of which Barney, being the old-school guy he is, just doesn’t understand.
Of course, there is a twist: the new kids manage to get kidnapped by Stonebanks (Mel Gibson), forcing Barney to call his old team back into action.
And in the end, true to Expendables fashion, a lot of explosions, fighting, gunfire, and general over-the-top destruction occurs and, of course, the Expendables survive.
The lesson? They come together as a team using a combination of tech-savvy skills as well as good old-fashioned fighting. They need what each crew brings.
It got me thinking. Maybe if all of a firm’s players treated the transition to the “new firm” like a life-or-death situation, they could come together like a team and make it out alive.
I hope CPA firms can learn a lesson from this movie, so our profession can survive the changeover. Any suggestions on how we can make it happen?