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What Does Your Badge Say?

By Joey Havens

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It’s about 9:30 p.m. on a cloudy night when blue lights pop on in the median just as my radar detector goes off — I’m toast! I quickly pull over, grab my license, roll down my window and get my hands where the officer can see them as he walks up. Even in this moment, I am always in awe of their courage and commitment to public safety. (Knowing the routine might be a hint that I have been in this situation before, all of which are my fault.)

“May I see your license and insurance please?” All I can see is his badge as I hand him my license. “Mr. Havens, I have you going 62 in a 45.” “Yes sir, I realize I got anxious to get home as my flight just landed at the airport. I’ve been gone all week and, of course, tonight my flight was extremely late, too. I simply got too fast thinking about being home. I’m sorry.” 

“Please remain in your car,” as he steps back to his vehicle with the blue lights twirling all around me. I know what this means — I am getting a speeding ticket. I might as well text CeCe that I am going to be around 10 p.m. (no need to mention the blue lights). Here he comes and he has that light green 4×10 ticket in his hand. My clean driving record of a lengthy three years (I’m proud of this) is about to be toast. 

He hands me my license back and the ticket, “Mr. Havens, this is a warning, and I want you to slow it down on the rest of the way home. Can you do that?” “Yes, sir, and thank you so much! Also, thanks so much for your service and what you do every day in your job. Have a safe and great evening officer.” 

I’m not sure who is more surprised, me or you. Besides being fortunate enough not to have a speeding ticket, I am so impressed in how this officer used his badge of authority. He was confident and used professional judgment in carrying out his responsibilities to protect the public. He didn’t let the badge box him into a certain outcome.

As CPA’s in client service, we have long worn the badge of “technical answers” or “historian/fact finder.” Our confidence has come from our competence and experience around this expertise. For years, this badge has allowed us to pull clients in and provide services to them. 

Today, we need a new badge with new skills. Clients are going to respond to badges worn by professionals who understand and anticipate their changing needs. They are searching for badges of collaboration and professionals who can help them create new business models. Badges of curiosity that lead to conversations around what’s possible. Tech-savvy badges to drive digital transformation, cybersecurity and assurance. 

It’s time to shine up some new badges and get back on the road to serve.

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