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Have You Stopped Learning?

By Joey Havens

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The future view for the public accounting profession provides us with the opportunity to be more relevant than ever. Our unique analytical skills and technical knowledge provides us a platform to build an abundant future that will continue to make a difference for clients, team members, communities and our world.  What stands in our way? Maybe our comfort zone and a steep learning curve.  While the sky is certainly not falling, I believe we have some strong weather ahead which will require better storm shelters so we can enjoy an abundant future of relevance.

Should we be pondering whether we are learning how to build our storm shelters fast enough?  Are we learning new skills that will supplement our unique abilities and talents? Are we closely watching how dramatically this storm is changing our clients’ expectations and needs? What new skills, knowledge or competencies do we need to secure a future view of abundance? 

I would suggest that one of our challenges is a steep learning curve. Can we establish a faster pace of learning that competes with the current and increasing pace of change? What has not been apparent to me thus far is a strong sense of urgency within our profession to embrace a faster rate of learning, a bigger time commitment to learning or the need to learn new skills and competencies. Has years of success caused us to take a Jeff Foxworthy approach to our development?

Jeff Foxworthy says we might be a redneck if we consider “Outdoor Life” deep reading.  What would he say about the “deep reading” that is occurring in our firms? Within our leadership teams? How much skill building expands beyond our strong technical abilities? From my observations and conversations, it appears that we are not challenging ourselves on these issues.  Are we cruising on learning? 

If we really stop and reflect on this learning curve, we might find our comfort zones, due to hard work and an incredible run of success, are rather big and comfy. Today, if we rely only on our technical abilities, we will fall short of our full potential. Younger team members coming into our profession are striving for knowledge, skills and wisdom. They want to make a difference and demand a fast pace of learning.  This is another reason we must hold ourselves accountable for anyone or our firm that might be cruising on learning. Jeff Foxworthy might say we are cruising on learning if:

  • You have blocked on your firm’s firewall.
  • Your personal deep reading in 2016 has been Lee Child’s latest novel (Don’t you love the Reacher series? Just saying) or Cosmopolitan.
  • If your CPE schedule looks just like last year and the year before and…
  • If CPE is your opportunity to catch up on email, enjoy your deep reading above or study fantasy football (Not sure what made me think of that one.)

What’s your best humor about someone cruising on learning?  Join the conversation and help us to #beEvenBetter. You can find the other Jeff Foxworthy blogs HERE.

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