There are very few people who are recognised within the accounting profession worldwide, US, UK, Europe, Australasia.
Paul Dunn is one of those individuals, he has served the accounting profession for several decades, CEO of B1G1 - Business for Good, and he's won several international awards.
In this podcast discussion, Paul shares his insights on the value of purpose and values so that you can apply the success of them to your firm.
"This is something from Lawrence Fink - Purpose is not a mere tagline or marketing campaign, it is a company's fundamental reason for being, it's what it does every day to create value for its stakeholders.
Purpose is not the sole pursuit of profits, it is the animating force for achieving them."
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TRANSCRIPT - unedited
[00:00:00] Paul Shrimpling: [00:00:00] Welcome to the humanized, the numbers podcast, series leaders, managers, and owners of ambitious accounting firms, sharing insights, successes, and issues that will challenge you and connect you and your firm to the ways and means of transforming your firms
[00:00:20] Paul Dunn: [00:00:20] results. This, this is, uh, something from a guy called Larry Fink or Lawrence Fink.
[00:00:27] Or a non friends. So Lawrence purpose is not a mere tagline or marketing campaign. That was not, no, it is like company's fundamental reason for being, it's what it does every day to create value for its stakeholders. But here's the Kaylon key line. Paul is that purpose is not the sole pursuit of profits, but.
[00:00:56] It is the animating force for achieving them.
[00:01:00] [00:01:00] Paul Shrimpling: [00:01:00] There are very few people who are recognized within the accounting profession, worldwide, us, UK, Europe, Australasia. And Paul, Don is one of those individuals has served the accounting profession for several decades. He's won several awards and on this podcast discussion, Paul shares his insights into the value of purpose and the value of values so that you can apply them.
[00:01:30] You can apply the success of them to you and your firm. Let's go to that discussion now. Welcome Paul. It's a privilege to have you as part of the humanized, the numbers podcast, taking time out from, uh, Singapore. Uh, what time is it where you are?
[00:01:45] Paul Dunn: [00:01:45] Well, it's seven hours behind. Oh, sorry. Go ahead of where you are.
[00:01:49] So right now it was eight hours. Let's go, but it's now seven. So, and as someone said, uh, yesterday when I was talking to them, Oh my God, you're in the future. Well,
[00:02:00] [00:02:00] Paul Shrimpling: [00:02:00] which is your lifetime as we lived in the future.
[00:02:05] Paul Dunn: [00:02:05] Before you mentioned the word, I don't feel so privileged to be here with you and to have, uh, in a sense shared the, uh, the journey, you know, for the last 17 years, at least, and to see the, the great things that you're doing to share the stage. Around the world with you has been a real privilege.
[00:02:25] So to be here is just a great fan of, so thank you so much for having me.
[00:02:29] Paul Shrimpling: [00:02:29] It's my pleasure. And, um, uh, so that we don't dive into cronyism here at Paul and, and patting each other on the back. I very much want us to, um, post some challenges for each other in the conversation and the, uh, um, and, and those listening to the podcast.
[00:02:46] And for, for a long time, you've talked about, um, start with why, you know, the Simon sonnet story and, and his impact on driving businesses. And. Firms of accountants to consider their raison [00:03:00] d'etre for being other than the monetary side of things. But I'm wondering if we're now moving into an era of hu, as opposed to why now don't get me wrong.
[00:03:11] The why is still as powerful and as relevant. But I do wonder if, um, we we've got, uh, another challenge, which is to make our businesses, make our firms more human than they've ever been before. Well, how do you respond to that challenge?
[00:03:27] Paul Dunn: [00:03:27] Well, interesting. Yeah, that's a great challenge. And of course you're all about challenging connecting and transforming.
[00:03:34] So it was great to start with a challenge and, uh, interesting thing because when I spoke with, uh, Simon, that that seems like, you know, big name drop. Right. But anyway, yeah, yeah,
[00:03:47] Paul Shrimpling: [00:03:47] yeah. That's
[00:03:49] Paul Dunn: [00:03:49] cool. But I remember this and, and, and interesting enough, uh, I don't think he's ever said this in any of his books or whatever.
[00:03:59] So, [00:04:00] uh, so what, what he said, uh, was it, and I repeat it fairly frequently, so it may have gotten into various genres, but what he said is, uh, uh, true purpose is always human. Right. So, so from his perspective, the move from the, what to the, why was always human. In other words, his thing, right? If you will, the whole why, and a lot of people get confused with this and they think that the Y is all about themselves, you know, like it's, um, well, we, we're here to be a, you know, the best accountants in Blackpool or, you know, or wherever.
[00:04:44] They are Brisbane or Blackpool. Yeah. Yeah, exactly. And that, that doesn't, you know, that doesn't cut it once you really get the, the, the definition, if you will, of, of why is really that it's got to have something to [00:05:00] do with. Humanity, right. There's got to have something to do with it. And, and of course, one of the, one of the key ways of doing that is you, you might choose to say, you know, we, we aim to be the most profitable, like albums in Blackport, for example.
[00:05:14] And then if you're going to add two words, so that. Yeah, we can make a real difference in the world as a result of the great things that we're doing for our clients, right? And the moment you, you do that, then you bring back that humanity thing. And so, Paul, I'm not sure whether that was the best answer to your question, but, but it seems to me that there's a, there's a link that you, that you can't be.
[00:05:38] On purpose as it were, unless you're authentic. And unless in some way that connects with you with your humanity and the moment you connect with your humanity, that doesn't mean you, you, you, you know, you, you start to understand that the, you know, these last in months where in tends to what [00:06:00] 15, uh, when we've been in pandemic, I mean, there's.
[00:06:04] There's one thing. We, we cannot ignore which pre pandemic we could. Right. So the thing that we cannot ignore is that we are all connected now. Sadly, it took a pandemic. The show is so intricate that that is. And, um, once you get that, then it means that we have to shift from this. You know, there's thinking that it's all about me to really understanding that it's all about we, and the moment we make that shift, then we make a very interesting other shift, which is that it's not about.
[00:06:43] Uh, or, or put it this way. It's the way I talk about this now is that, uh, our income, if you will, your income as a firm, your wealth as a firm is, is direct. It's a direct [00:07:00] by-product of the wealth. And, and the value that you're creating for others. And so once you get that, then I think I have this lovely, well, I think it's a nice illiteration, which says, you know, we move you from being stand standard, you know, in other words, like every other firm to stand to stand out because you stand for something.
[00:07:29] And that something is bigger than yourself. And as you know, most recently, I've, I've referred to that as being impact driven. And when we're impact driven, then everything changes. Everything changes in the culture, everything changes in what we measure and so on and social. So I think there is going back to your question.
[00:07:48] I think it is all about humanity. Um, but I think that was always the idea anyway.
[00:07:54] Paul Shrimpling: [00:07:54] Yeah. Yeah. And you know, w what you've said that to begin that thought it was going to be a contradiction in [00:08:00] terms of, it's not all about you, it's about others, but actually what you're saying is it's about you and the others.
[00:08:05] However, if you. If you look at the vast majority of accountants websites, they may have the odd testimonial from an, from a client, but actually it's, um, one challenge would be is they count the number of eyes me's and Aziz, and it's it's it's me, myself and I they've, uh, they've not really done what you're suggesting there.
[00:08:27] And I agree with is the, um, you know, to take, um, uh, the, is that. It's the hero's journey has to show up in your story. Doesn't it not you as the hero, but your clients and others, the community in the story, isn't it about the hero's journey? Is that where you're taking this?
[00:08:43] Paul Dunn: [00:08:43] That's so perfect. Uh, I was writing a, you know, an I dabble and it is a serious dabble, if you will.
[00:08:51] It's not something that I spend my life doing at all in the sense of web developers spend their life doing these things. But [00:09:00] yeah. But, um, I just recently wrote the, you know, I was updating someone's website. They said, Paul can, you know, you can take a look at it. Right. So, um, you know how everybody has, you know, the hundred boats and they haven't about us.
[00:09:13] Right. So, so I rewrote it. So there was only one word on the page. And the one word on the page was you, it was this great, big, big you. And then underneath it said, P S if you didn't get it, What we're all about is you. And, you know, you know, when we see websites and it's so easy, it is. I mean, we shouldn't, shouldn't knock out, knock it because it is so easy to get into.
[00:09:42] This, you know, this sea of sameness thing where everybody talks about, Oh, you know, you've got three options and we've got this one and that one and that one. And when they're talking about what, what, what, what, what do you do? Whereas what I think we are now. Understanding again, poor [00:10:00] as a result of not necessarily the pandemic, but I think of things that have been happening, you know, for a while, it's just the pandemic has accelerated them that yeah.
[00:10:10] It's giving, giving people value is, is seriously important. Always has always, will be, but values. Are now much more important than Val you, you know, and we saw that didn't, we, we saw that in the pandemic where, where, you know, accountants, those that, that really had this North star, they were doubling down.
[00:10:32] They had values that talked about how they cared about their team. They talked about how they cared about their clients and, and they didn't just have that as values. That's what they actually did. And, and, and, and those values, you know, Sean, and as a result we've seen, as, you know, we've seen, uh, you know, practices just grow in ways that they didn't even seen.
[00:10:55] See it's possible. Right. I'm on the other hand, we've seen friends go, Oh my God, you know, [00:11:00] the signs, you know, really, really terrible. But, um, so there's, there's always a yin and a yang, I guess, but I think where we're going now is this very strong thing towards. Meaning towards values towards outcomes and of course, towards purpose.
[00:11:18] And, and I think that the key is that when, when, when a, um, embraces those things, you know, the people listening to us now in a sense are. You know, the people that are listening to us, other people that really get it right. They've already got it because you can't not listen to you on the podcast and not get this stuff.
[00:11:39] Right. Uh, so, but I think more and more people are really getting it and they're really getting that. Uh, it's all about connection. It's it's about connection to their team. It's about connection to them. Connection to their community, all of those kind of things. And then when that happens, it becomes like this, this [00:12:00] magnet where you, don't just, you move the way I talk about it is you, you move from chasing clients to choosing clients.
[00:12:09] I mean, that's, that's a seriously important shift. And then from a team member point of view, as you were alluding to a minute ago, you move, you know, you, you move to become. A real magnet for talent. And again, you can choose, right? So the whole purposing I like, I just happened to before we, we, uh, we were here, um, Paul.
[00:12:33] I was, uh, I actually reset my, my machine, which is not a good thing to do in the middle of the day, by the way. Cause it takes hours. Um, but, but then something came up. Oh, I must, I must keep that up for when I chat with Paul and um, let me, let me do this. This is, uh, uh, something from a guy called, uh, Larry Fink or Lawrence Fink.
[00:12:57] Uh, for a non friends. So [00:13:00] Lawrence said he, by the way, is the CEO of BlackRock. BlackRock happens to be, as you know, that the biggest company in the world in terms of funds under management, $7 trillion a day through BlackRock. That's that, and that gives you some idea of the size $1,700 a day. That's not Hong Kong dollars or any other form of dollars then.
[00:13:24] Yeah. And here's, here's what he said. Right? I love this. He says purpose is not a mere tagline or marketing campaign. Listen was not. No, it is like company's fundamental reason for being, it's what it does every day to create value for its stakeholders. But here's the key line. The key line, Paul is that purpose is not the sole pursuit of profits, but.
[00:13:53] It is the animating force for achieving them. I love that. I [00:14:00] realize it sort of gets, it, puts it like front and center.
[00:14:05] Paul Shrimpling: [00:14:05] Yeah. Yeah. And, uh, it's, uh, it, it reminds me of the, um, uh, the whole food story. Oh,
[00:14:14] Paul Dunn: [00:14:14] cool. Uh, you know,
[00:14:16] Paul Shrimpling: [00:14:16] yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah. So, you know, eight months in first or May 24th, 25th, 1981.
[00:14:23] Um, massive flood in California. And, um, they've got no insurance. Everything's flooded all the stocks gone, no cash, lots of debt ruined. However, Uh, in less than 10 hours, uh, customers were swelling out the, uh, the store and then the team showed up and they were doing the same. The investors dipped into the pocket, again, chipped a little bit more cash in the supplies, did the same.
[00:14:48] And all of a sudden the bankers are looking at this and going, Oh, maybe we should chip in again. And they did. And I think 28 days later, they were up and running again. And in, was it 2017? They sell to Amazon for. [00:15:00] However
[00:15:00] Paul Dunn: [00:15:00] many billions more than 1.2. I remember.
[00:15:05] Paul Shrimpling: [00:15:05] Yes. Um, and it starts, you know, an animating force.
[00:15:09] That's very, you know, there was, um, the interstate months that established that animating force because they were very clear about their core purpose. And, you know, I write about that in there. Uh, the business breakthrough report that said, we'll, we'll put in the show notes for this book, Paul
[00:15:25] Paul Dunn: [00:15:25] it's by the way, just before you've just before you go there, just if I could, um, one very interesting thing, you know, we, you and I are great readers and as hopefully other people that join us as well, um, and I just came across a, can I drop a book in that is saying, yeah.
[00:15:46] And this book it's called cult status. As in C U L T status is run by a guy called Tim Dougan D U G G a M D U w G I N. And it's his first book. You would [00:16:00] not know that it's his first book. He's a great writer. And he makes this really interesting point. I don't find in the book, he says, you know, many of the companies that we admire and he thinks, he says, for example, Apple, we admire Apple.
[00:16:13] But the interesting thing is interesting is Apple was started in 1976. So. What's happening now? What are we seeing now from, you know, the newly minted, uh, companies, if you will. And he goes through these, uh, these seven steps for, for doing it. And funnily enough, uh, step one, is this define your impact. That that's what it is, right.
[00:16:39] Define it. Right. Hence the reason I talk about impact driven and he makes this point, he makes us very simple point that that doesn't mean you define your revenue. What you do is you define the impact on the number of people you want to have. And then from that you get your possible revenue. Do you see what I mean?
[00:16:59] So it's all. Yeah. [00:17:00] You know, and it's, it's, it's familiar or sorry. It's it's right alongside when you and I met in 2003. I think that it was the motorcycle museum pool, as I remember in Birmingham. Yeah. And I remember my opening slide and I, and I, and I went and I thought I'm going to have three words on the slide.
[00:17:19] I wonder what they're going to be an opening slide. Cause uh, you know, sat with me ever since then. And, and it says basically what, what Tim Dugan just said and what it says is accountants change lives. That's it. That that's it. Right. And once, once we get that, then that automatically hooks us in to something greater than ourselves anyway, not only our clients, but then the impact that they're having in the community and the world and everything else.
[00:17:48] So, yeah, it's, it's Y you know, some someone said to me, why do you, why do you, why do you keep sort of working with accountants? You know? And I said, Uh, [00:18:00] Paul is a deeply personal story. It really hit me at the time. And I said, well, uh, you know, it's about leaving a legacy and this person who's surprisingly close to me said, well, Maybe it's about time you stop then because you've already created one.
[00:18:19] No, no, no, no, no. That's not true. And I was reminded of a story I told you before we, uh, before we clicked the record switch about Zig Ziglar and Zig was like 80 on. Someone said, maybe you should, uh, have you thought about slamming down? And he said, I don't have as much time left as you, so I need to speed up.
[00:18:38] So there's so much stuff that we can do.
[00:18:43] Paul Shrimpling: [00:18:43] Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. So Paul, the, um, you've just made the job for everyone. This listen to this harder. Cause I thought we were going to talk about purpose and now you've introduced values as well as purpose. And we can wax lyrical about the upside benefits of purpose and values.
[00:18:58] And, you know, I love the, um, [00:19:00] You know, I point people to the firms of endearment website, which shows the material, financial results of firms that are for businesses. There's no accountancy firms there yet businesses that have done a great job of connecting their team up with a sense of purpose and values from Raj Sisodia, isn't it, the firms of endearment stuff.
[00:19:19] Um, and it's, you know, if you Google it, you can just scroll down and you can see the stats that, you know, the performance stats are. These businesses, which outperform Jim Collins is good to great firms, which is. Saying something. Um, but it's how do you know, how, how do w what have you seen in accountancy firms that helps someone listening to this actually devise their purpose?
[00:19:42] You know, distill it, work out what it is so that they personally can connect to it. And then. Rather than it just being a tagline and you write, it has to be authentic. Otherwise it is just marketing BS. So we've got to get to that. So what have you seen that other accountants have done that can help someone listening to this, [00:20:00] build their raison d'etre or work out what their reason for being is so that they can build those connections with themselves and their drive and Zeeland motivation, but also their team, as well as their it's
[00:20:10] Paul Dunn: [00:20:10] a great question because, you know, and I know, uh, what goes on.
[00:20:15] In a typical farm. Right? So in the typical isn't busy,
[00:20:19] Paul Shrimpling: [00:20:19] busy, busy,
[00:20:20] Paul Dunn: [00:20:20] well, yeah, but also what goes on yeah. Is, uh, is this whole thing around, you know, we, we need a mission statement and we need a vision statement and, Oh, that's probably, you know, sort of close to a Y that everybody talks and it's probably got something to do with purpose.
[00:20:34] So I'll tell you what we'll do. Tell you what we'll do. I don't, we have a firm retreat, by the way. I hate the concept of retreats. If don't, even if we're going to have anything. Let's have four weeks not retreats, but anyway, so they go and then trying to meet consensus of it. And then, and then what happens is you get this, you know, this long-winded thing that, you know, you've [00:21:00] got to put it up in the toilet, so you hope that everybody remembers it.
[00:21:04] And, and then we make the false assumption that everybody else has to have that same purpose. I mean, that's so. Not true. It's it's not funny. Now do, when you, when you two, I'm talking out of the business owner. No it is right when you get it right. And we're going to show you in a minute, we'll just go through a couple of things that help you get it.
[00:21:25] And then you've got to understand that Sally, the receptionist, as a, for example, or as you and I call them, they are ranked your first impressions. Do we still have those people in this age anyway, your or the client care manager or whoever you have? You, you, you. I mean, you have rocks in your head. If you think that her purpose is the same as yours, it's not.
[00:21:50] It's not, yeah, it's personal. Isn't it? It's it's it is personal. Right. So now Ken, can she get into what yours is about? Of course she [00:22:00] can. Of course she can, because if she didn't then she wouldn't be there. Right. And we'll talk about how you make sure of all of that. And just a second. Um, so the there's zillion ways of, of, of getting to it, but the one that I've found.
[00:22:15] Best of all is where you try and do it with. As you know, I think I just do it with iPhones and I get people to pick up by the way, it also works on the other models. Uh, but anyway, but what you press record, you know, like what's it called? Voice memos or whatever it's called. Um, and you just, you just say, and you just say these words, I get up every morning, too.
[00:22:40] And, and, and, and then you just complete, whatever comes out of your mouth, I get up every morning to you. It doesn't matter what it is. It doesn't matter what it is. And then you listen and then you listen back to when you go, Oh gosh, that was, you know, that was dreadful. And then you just, and it's okay.
[00:22:57] It's okay. And then. You, [00:23:00] you kind of gradually refine it and then what you do, because it usually will be about you. And so then what you do is you just put two words on the end of it and the words are, so that, and the moment you say, so that, or in a firm's case, The moment you say so that we, so that we can, you are automatically getting into this human bigger than you thing.
[00:23:27] Um, I, I, I, I, I call it nailing your why and, and it's, uh, And, you know, I mean, obviously, and by the way, if people want to call, I'm really happy, they can shoot me a copy of what they think is a good one. And I'll kind of try to spice it up. I love doing that by the way. Um, and it is so interesting where people come from and it's not an easy thing to do.
[00:23:50] And by the way, the other thing that's very interesting is that sometimes we get, we get lost. You know, we have this, these moments, we go, hang on a second. What's this all about. [00:24:00] And we think that what we're trying to do is, you know, when we talk about our, why we think that what we're trying or talking about our purpose, if you will, we think that this is the thing that people are going to recite when they lay us in the ground, you know?
[00:24:15] And, and that's, that's kind of like, you know, that it makes it so much bigger than it need be because, um, one of the things that I say to people is like, just put the words for now. For now I get up every morning to do this so that we can, and it just focuses everybody around where you should be going as a firm.
[00:24:36] None of course is, you know, you then put in processes and catch up meetings and all that kind of stuff, uh, in the phone, uh, to make sure that everybody gets it. That's why, that's why I really liked this whole concept of, you know, when, when someone. So, for example, let's just say, uh, someone has been listening to this and thank you by the way, for doing that, those of you [00:25:00] and, uh, someone.
[00:25:03] Yeah. They said, so what do you do? Well, you could say, well, I'm an accountant. You could say that in which case the person would say, could you tell me where the nearest toilet is or something like that? Because typically don't not to want to engage with you when you say that, or you could say, well, we're purpose driven.
[00:25:19] You could say that we're on purpose from. Well, some of you could say that, but what the phrase I really like now is, Oh, well I'm an impact driven accountant now. Just think from a what, what that, what people are going to say, well, what, what the hell is that? Well, we are focused on things other than ourselves specifically, we're focused on creating an enormous impact for the clients that we're privileged to serve and then go beyond that.
[00:25:48] So that together. We make a real difference in our world so that we can, you know, Donald on do that. I think that's a very powerful way. The other thing that I think is really interesting. [00:26:00] Is, you know, when you, when you quote unquote lose it, you know, you're not sort of clear where you're going and, and, you know, clarity and stuff is, is, is such an important thing to have that clarity around it.
[00:26:15] Um, and then when you lost, you know, you go down and see the head shrinkers and this is not Andy head drinker. Uh, cause you know, I'm not a professional head drinker or intended passage. It gives me particularly now. Thank God they're here. Um, and um, so, you know, typically they will say, well, look inside, they go, go and look deeply inside.
[00:26:36] Now I understand why they would say that. I seriously understand why they would say that. Right. But I, I think that's flawed. I think what we've got to do is do what captain Tom did. Captain Tom did here. He is celebrating its hundredth birthday. What's he doing? He looks outside. What does he find? The NHS?
[00:26:57] Oh my goodness. [00:27:00] And look what happened as a result. I mean, that's a beautiful example of for now. It's a beautiful example of looking outside.
[00:27:13] Paul Shrimpling: [00:27:13] I do. Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. Um, so it's, it's interesting. You, you, you, you quote the phrase, you know, if you lose it, if you lose, you know, your connection with that sense of purpose and you start investigating internally, what you're saying is that, no, look, it's bigger than you using your words. It's about others, about your clients, and it's about, you know, a broader community.
[00:27:35] However you wish to define that. And it's certainly, um, some of that showed up in the. Sort of strategic purpose driven conversations we've been having with firms, interestingly enough, more in the last 12 months, 15 minutes than ever before. I think it's fascinating that the pandemic has actually turned accountants into more or more accounts.
[00:27:54] It's only my experience of, uh, taking deadly seriously. Now we've got to get our, um, [00:28:00] yes, messaging, right. But it's not. Because they want to get the message and that's because they want to get their sense of purpose. Right. But it's not easy work. And you know, you glibly walk past that. There's no criticism, the catch-up meetings and I've just written in caps time.
[00:28:15] Because I think one of the practical things here is people don't invest enough time in a timeout to actually contemplate, you know, book blocks of time in diary in order to work on your purpose, your reason for being, um, by considering the or there's and those phrases and those quotes, you know, I get out of bed in the morning so that we can, or for now.
[00:28:37] We can, I love that. I love that
[00:28:40] Paul Dunn: [00:28:40] have the w those catch-up things are so important for scaling and for growth, you know, honest jokes as you know about all of those things. But, uh, one of the things that we found is ready. Yeah, exactly. Yeah. One of things that we've found is that people are. Linking it, um, in with, uh, things like, for example, B one G one [00:29:00] business for good.
[00:29:01] So what they're doing is that they're having things like morning tea for good bye. So their morning teas, their catch ups that catch up for good. So have a guess what they're talking about, what they're talking about is the good that's going on, or you could say. You know, morning tea for impact, and they're talking about the impact.
[00:29:18] And so the questions become, uh, you know, not how do we put more, more numbers on the time sheets? Oh gosh. But I don't. Whoops. It does it, but how can we through what we're doing? How can we create more impact in the lives of people we touch? And that's when you're getting really on purpose, when you start asking those questions.
[00:29:40] Paul Shrimpling: [00:29:40] Yeah. Yeah. Fantastic. So what, what about the, how to on values then Paul is, which is arguably my experience, uh, a lumpia piece, you know, what is it, the firm, uh, and I'm always driven to talk about, uh, David Meister and his, [00:30:00] uh, piece around, um,
[00:30:04] I w I've done this one stage, I've talked about sacking people, essay, um, CC, so that people got to have a sense of satisfaction, got to have a sense of accomplishment and a sense of, uh, challenge, arguably one of the two things to, to the same things and then last, but not least to commitment and to each other.
[00:30:22] And, uh, and they see a commitment back. I think rev, you know, four stroke, three powerful elements. Um, But the it's the behavioral standards firms set themselves and hold people to account to is arguably harder than the numbers and goals, the number of performance goals they set themselves and help people to account to.
[00:30:42] And so it's, there's that piece of work, which is establish your behavioral standards. You'd be the values around which you want to behave is arguably harder than actually working out what your purpose is. How have you seen firms achieve that? Paul?
[00:30:57] Paul Dunn: [00:30:57] It's very that Paul you're absolutely right to say [00:31:00] that it's it's lumpia, you know, because it's so easy.
[00:31:03] Uh, Oh, sorry. You know, you can, you can just go and look at, you know, the sort of value statements that everybody adds, you know, we value, integrity, we value, you know, we're those sorts of things. Yeah, exactly. You know, fluff.com, right? Yeah. And, uh, so, you know, don't go down that, but, but, uh, you, you, you w I'll tell you what I've, I've seen.
[00:31:30] Some people do is they've. Uh, they've done word clouds, you know, cause you do want to get it as succinct as you can. And so they've done word clouds with their team and they've just taken, you know, like eight or 12 words. And then, then kind of put those back into maybe five or six that come up from word clouds of discussions, uh, that just that you have yeah.
[00:31:52] You know, it's a good way of doing it and you, you know, the Amanda, I see lovely, uh, acronym, acronyms and. [00:32:00] No, we have one that talks about dude care, which is really interesting how that works. And, and, and then one of the things that we do, cause it's not just, it's not just about having the values. You know, if you go back, you go back to it, ho how you live by them, you know?
[00:32:19] And so for example, in the daily catch ups that we do. Uh, we will, we will literally, it might be your turn tomorrow and it'll be someone else, you know, everybody knows like when their turn in. And so, so one of the things you have to do is you got to spend two minutes talking about something that you experienced or something that you saw or something that you did, which, which solidifies everybody's understanding.
[00:32:51] Of that particular value, which of course goes back to the classic case on all these, uh, w [00:33:00] w which is the Ritz Carlton, you know, where they had their credo and they had these 21 things on the credo and every day one, which is basically their values. And then every day, you know, there's a message goes to every Ritz-Carlton, which says it's value number 17 or credo number 17.
[00:33:17] And everybody in the, in the, you can approach somebody if you're staying at a Ritz-Carlton right now, if you're lucky enough to be doing that, go to one of the team members and say, by the way, what's the credo today. What number is it? And they have to tell you because that's their standard. That's the thing that they stand for.
[00:33:35] And that's the thing that creates great companies. Right. Okay. I find out yesterday actually, and it's in, it's in the book, but you're going to say yesterday, I found out a few days ago that when, uh, jobs we talked, you talked about Apple earlier. When jobs was doing stuff, like everybody said, you know, it's crazy.
[00:33:52] Right? Cause uh, people like Dell were closing all of the computer stores and all of that kind of stuff that they, [00:34:00] uh, they had. And so job says, well, I think we can open some. So it's about how you can do that. So w where does he go to find out the values in that particular. Up. So where he goes is the Ritz Carlton.
[00:34:13] And he signs up as I did to the Ritz-Carlton university. And every, every Apple person, I probably get shot for saying this, but every Apple person has on their wallet, you know, on their iPhone. They have. What are the values right there, which is why, when you, uh, when the interest and the input is, it's always about the little things.
[00:34:38] It's always about the little things, you know, uh, that, that, that, that, that just acknowledging people in beautiful ways and so on and so forth. So, yeah. Uh, and, and I think it comes back to, you know, suspending judgment. I think it comes back to recognizing the diversity and the differences. There's a lot of that now, of course, which we, which we have to, what [00:35:00] we say we have to do, but we've been having to do that for a long time.
[00:35:04] It's just that it's coming to the fore right now. So yeah, but it's a, it's a lumpier piece that is for sure. Yeah. Um, what, what are you seeing that people are doing. W, well,
[00:35:14] Paul Shrimpling: [00:35:14] um, I think the, the, the word cloud idea, like, and I have seen that work, um, per se, one of the things that, um, It works well, too. And it's connected with the same process in terms of working with your team is just asking everyone in the firm.
[00:35:30] What do you think our behavioral standards are? You know, what have we been living for the last two years, five years, 10 years. That actually you're proud of. So if you ask people what they're proud of, about how we behave in the foot,
[00:35:43] Paul Dunn: [00:35:43] there you go. That's a really
[00:35:45] Paul Shrimpling: [00:35:45] nice question to pose to the team. And, you know, when, when we, when we worked with firms on this, we will ask the leadership team exactly.
[00:35:52] That, and they go, Oh yeah. And they go, wow, that's great. I said, yeah, but it's not the truth yet. It's and I let's, let's do the same with the team and [00:36:00] get them to feed into that. And so that, um, I think PRI you know, if people feel. Proud of the firm they work in. They're going to be more deeply connected with the work they're doing and therefore generate better results.
[00:36:13] The time sheet doesn't tell all the steps, they don't tell the Taylors. It's, um, it's not the amount of time that they've invested the amount of themselves that invested in that time. And that's why purpose and values is so important. So actually engaging with the team in and around the values that we live, the behaviors.
[00:36:30] Standards that are set in the business. Now that we've lived this way for two years, five years, 10 years, or however long the firm goes back, is it it's, um, it's anchored and it's tangible. And then maybe you can build the sound, the, the word cloud off of that. But I, I see that as being a very powerful process.
[00:36:46] Paul Dunn: [00:36:46] Well, let me give you another thing for some reason, Paul, when I, when I'm chatting with you and I'm, and I'm hearing your lovely accent, but you don't even know you have, cause you, you said, well, the way I listened to you, right? So, so I normal pool everywhere. [00:37:00] I was born a fair while ago and I was born in Dover for, uh, down there in the, my dad was a, it was a minor.
[00:37:07] I can remember the time when, you know, when the TV came in and the TV wasn't that reliable. And it used to go off and they used to be this message come up. Remember it says normal service will be resumed as soon as possible. None of that. No, no, no. You go, you've got, you're going to deny. I thought
[00:37:28] Paul Shrimpling: [00:37:28] I've got a sneaking suspicion.
[00:37:28] I do
[00:37:29] Paul Dunn: [00:37:29] remember that. Yes. And I know I was reading a piece earlier today, uh, with Seth Goden where, uh, he was talking about a Unilever Unilever. Where they have decided to get rid of the word normal on their personal care labels and have a listen to this is what he says, because when it comes to people, normal is an artificial construct.
[00:37:53] It's the center of a statistical bell curve, but not a standard that we ought to [00:38:00] seek to achieve, even if we could. Right. So it's, do you get what I'm saying? So it's not that which normally happens it's that, that we, we are aspiring to, and sometimes we may fall down, but we need, I think in terms of values, we need to set a very high bar for them.
[00:38:20] Are we ready to.
[00:38:22] Paul Shrimpling: [00:38:22] Brilliant. So we've, we've covered that too massive foundation stones of a successful business, successful strategy and purpose and values. And, you know, the, it comes through clearly in all of Jim Collins's work. It comes through clearly in, um, Uh, you know, Mackey and Sisodia his work and, and many others, there was, there was one comment earlier Paul about, um, you know, it's, it's not about the wealth as a firm, it's the wealth for other, or this, the focus is on them.
[00:38:54] And I just wonder if we just change one letter in that, and it's about health of the firm, you know, what's [00:39:00] the core foundation. If the w what, what are the sources of the true health of a strong, sustainable. Accountancy for.
[00:39:09] Paul Dunn: [00:39:09] Hmm. Well, it's interesting. I had a conversation today about that, where someone was hiring, they were not in an accounting firm as it turned out, but, uh, but the, uh, the name and the, uh, the, uh, CEO was about to hire.
[00:39:32] I, uh, he wasn't, it was a, he wasn't sure whether he wanted an EIA as in other words, an executive assistant or whether he wanted it, the director of operations. And I survived, you know, I think I let's, let's go with the director of operations and I said, please, please, please. Don't don't put the name director of operations in the ad.
[00:39:57] And he said, um, Uh, [00:40:00] well, what, what should I put? And I said, well, uh, I think we need, we need either a DJ or a DH. And he said, so what's it, what's a DH. I suppose the DJ is more fun, but let's talk about the DH. And I said the, the DH, the director of ops, if you are, the DH is actually the director of happiness.
[00:40:23] That's what they are. And, and, and, you know, the, the, if you want it to be really rough about it, you would say as the, as the CEO, you would say, you know, there are, there were two people that I want to be the beneficiary of that one is me. I want you to be responsible, even though I personally responsible, you know, for, for that.
[00:40:44] Yeah. Yeah. And the other one I want you to be responsible for is our clients. And, and, and, uh, uh, customers and, and, and, and he said, wow, that's really cool. You could just see, you got really excited about the whole thing. And he said, by the way, what's the [00:41:00] DJ. And I said, well, it's director of joy. And, and, and, and the point on all of that is that, you know, we, we talked about values.
[00:41:09] We talked about purpose. We, we talked about bigger than ourselves. All of those sorts of things. But there is something right at the center and that thing right at the center, sadly, sadly, unless we're really careful. And in fact, if we don't do all the things that we've been talking about, if we, if we don't do those, the thing at the center is an S word and it becomes stress.
[00:41:34] That's what it becomes. And, and, and when that happens, it's a sign, hang on a saying, something's going wrong here. Right. And so if we can put joy or happiness, I know that sounds like new age, you know, let's go, that's going to be a flower child in San Francisco in 1960 or whatever, you know, but it's actually not, it's actually not because what better, you know, we talked about [00:42:00] creating impact, right?
[00:42:02] What better impact would you be creating for the people you serve as the CEO? And by that, I mean, the, you know, your team members, uh, your clients that as a result of dealing with you, their world became a more impactful word impactful in terms of the joy that they experience because of all the other constraints.
[00:42:30] Not constraints, but all of the, all of the other stuff that goes around that, right? All this stuff that we've spoken about, about purpose, about humanity, about in other words, humanness, instead of transaction, thus, all of, all of those sorts of things then at the center becomes joy. And when it becomes joy, then that becomes the fun that not only everyone wants to work with, but significantly you as the owner want to work with as well.
[00:43:00] [00:43:00] Paul Shrimpling: [00:43:00] So actually you could, I'm just wondering if the DH is director of health of which happiness is.
[00:43:06] Paul Dunn: [00:43:06] There you go. Yeah.
[00:43:07] Paul Shrimpling: [00:43:07] Yeah. Yeah. Because, uh, you know, there's, it's clear that, uh, no, I actually meant it that way. Of course. Well, of course, um, it's a component of. Um, health is happiness, but there are other elements too, aren't they?
[00:43:23] For example, you know, that sense of pride, that other emotions that show up for people, not just to take the negative for people not to be stressed. And if they're not connected to the sense of purpose, if they've not got clarity on what is expected of them in terms of behavioral standards or values, then that's going to raise the stress levels.
[00:43:39] Isn't it? So that they have fundamentals. Foundation stones. And then up from that is, you know, those emotions that, um, pride, enjoyment, joy, happiness, um, how do we build more of that into our firms, into our businesses so that, um, we have a greater impact on ourselves, our team and our clients. Um, but [00:44:00] let's go to the, the, the other part, which is.
[00:44:02] Which has not dwelt on yet the community piece Paul had it's um, um, you know, we said early doors in this conversation that it's, it's not about me. It's not about oars. It's about. Well, there's something bigger than ourselves. And I just find it interesting. When I look at the B one G one logo. That's his big one.
[00:44:20] I always used to think, Oh, it's a big and I just accessed it, but it's a big one. Buy one, give one big one. And what's the big one. The big one is, um, is it not tapping into, uh, doing something? Bigger than just business, but in, into the community. So I'm, you know, I'm tapping, I'm opening the door for you to talk, um, around your, you know, focusing in the last decade or so.
[00:44:43] Um, why, why is community so important to businesses, to accountancy businesses and their clients in building the health of their firms, building the health of their results as well for
[00:44:54] Paul Dunn: [00:44:54] that matter? Well, very, very okay. [00:45:00] Yeah. And one of the, one of the sad things is that sometimes this scene and, uh, you know, overly simplistic and overly kind of woo woo and all of that kind of stuff.
[00:45:10] No, no, it really, it really does. It really does, but when you're at the center of it, believe me it's anything, but yeah, but I mean, it's, it's, it's, it's tangible. It's, you know, it's there it's real. Um, and for me it starts from this, this fundamental observation, and this is just, you know, the world, according to Paul at this point.
[00:45:32] Paul Shrimpling: [00:45:32] That's why I've got you on the podcast, Paul.
[00:45:37] Paul Dunn: [00:45:37] So there's a very simple thing, right. We all want to be at our best. Right. So an interesting question is when are we at our best? Just think about, think about your answer. You're listening to when are we at our best when right. And I think the answer that is when we're giving now, let me be very clear.
[00:45:56] I'm not saying when we're giving money, I'm not saying I'm not saying [00:46:00] that I'm saying when we are giving a giving could be, I'm looking out of my, uh, my work for me. I'm office here, window in, uh, in Singapore right now and right. Opposite knee. And most people would be very surprised to know what I'm about to tell him as well.
[00:46:14] Opposite me. What opposite me is a beautiful forest. I think we've got, hang on a second. You've got crease and Singapore. Yes. We're actually 54% green. This program is brought to you by the Singapore visitors Bureau.
[00:46:31] I know. I go, I go run, uh, if we day and, and the writing of that, those trees that I'm looking at right now, there haven't been a bus stop. Right. And there's no need for you to have a car in Singapore because the. The public transport is amazing. And when I get on the bus and by the way, the bus comes tall, I am, there's not an exaggeration and it's every 60 seconds, not an exaggeration.
[00:46:57] Okay. Right. And so I [00:47:00] get on the bus and we have these little cards, you know, which can be, you know, we flash them and as I'm flashing the card or my Apple watch. Good pleasure. Apple watch as well. I always stopped. And I stopped right there just for a brief second. And I can't see, I have the driver and I say, thank you for stopping and look at me, sorry.
[00:47:25] You just come down from another planet, but you just think about that for a minute. Here are people that were working in the middle of the pandemic that were getting people to hospital. They're doing all that. Why would we not say thank you. For something as simple as that. And then you start to think about, and I'm beginning to the bigger answer in a minute that you know, that maybe that that person could be a man or a woman whom might just said, thank you, goes home.
[00:47:50] And I say, Hey, you wouldn't believe it. I bust up number one 73 today this guy got on. Thank you for stopping. So you get that. It sort of [00:48:00] comes, you know, just, it just ripples, right. Or the taxi driver or whoever it is that opportunity to be grateful now. The thing, a thing that I observed in the pandemic.
[00:48:13] Is that the people who really got that, who really got that there, and there was this, this beautiful link you saw, these people are panicking and they were like crows. They literally froze. They had no idea what they would do. Right. And, and then you had at the other end of the spectrum, the people who said, no, no, no, no.
[00:48:32] Well, I'm very clear. I've got this North star, you know, Where I go and they, they are what I call the purpose driven people and, and, and they seriously understand the leaders seriously understand that we are at our best. When we're giving. And so one of the things that is just so joyful for me is to be a part of this organization called B one G one, where, [00:49:00] uh, you know, where we can say, for example, if we were having this meeting on zoom, which we're not, but if it was on zoom, but I'm going to treat it as if it was then 18 people.
[00:49:13] Uh, getting access to life-saving water just because we're having the zoom in. When I send you an email, as you know, and, you know, th th then kids get access to education. When people listen to this podcast, you know, trees get planted, right? So you can embed all of this stuff that makes you good, right.
[00:49:34] Deliberately, and what you do. And the funny thing is poor. Um, about four years ago, I was sitting in the office and there was one of my team members who doesn't normally spend. Much time, uh, on calls. Who's a actually was the director of strategy. And here she is calling all these people. And I said, Sharon, what are you doing?
[00:49:55] And she said, well, we mentioned something at the catch-up, uh, three days [00:50:00] ago, we talked about words that we use and how, you know, you can give from one center and how a hundred percent of the giving goes. Right. All of those kinds of things. And that's very important. She said, but I don't know that our members say that.
[00:50:12] So I'm just calling a few members. Like, like 60 in a day to see what happens. And she, and she, she literally has got a word cloud on her, on her system. Paul, I'm serious. Seriously not making this up. And the word that is coming back right in the center is a word that you're familiar with because it's part of your three things around the podcast.
[00:50:39] The word is transformed. People said, people said that this whole thing is transforming their businesses. And then Sharon was smart enough to say so why is that? You know, why, why, why? I mean, that's amazing. We didn't realize that was happening. And [00:51:00] she said in this port, if you, if you, if you go back to the very beginning of where we we've been today in this lovely journey, the people said.
[00:51:10] It shifts the spirit, it shifts the spirit and, and when you and I, or actually even more, the people that are listening to us now who are, whether you like it or not responsible in so many ways for helping people create extraordinary businesses and, and, you know, keep on doing that. And then as a result, you know, doing extraordinary things in their community and amazing things in our world, accountants change lives and the reason, or one of the ways that we got to get that we change those lives by shifting the spirit.
[00:51:55] And, and, you know, I think that what you're doing in this, in this podcast, which is [00:52:00] so important, Is, you know, go figure what else we could be listening to. You know, if we could be listening to a whole lot of stuff that we normally get off on his own, my God look at that, Oh my God, isn't that terrible data.
[00:52:14] Or we could, all we stood could be listening to something that literally changes lives. So poor. I said earlier on that, I'm very privileged to be here with you because that's exactly what you're helping do.
[00:52:27] Paul Shrimpling: [00:52:27] So thank you, Ben. Well, I think you've very much leading the way and I love that. So a great way to finish around shifting the spirit, the, you know, the, this podcast, this humanized, the numbers piece is very much about how do we bring greater humanity in those small interactions?
[00:52:42] So your description of the thank you to the bus driver is just, it's just, it's just perfect because it's, you know, it is the little things that, um, Uh, that, that humanizes our, uh, existence, the way we work with each other, um, the way we interact with our teams. [00:53:00] Um, and you know, often it doesn't require a lot of time to say, please, thank you.
[00:53:05] That's, that's easy. And can sound a bit glib, as you say. But it's not, it's not. And, um, if through those small interactions, we can send those ripples out, uh, to shift the profession and shift the spirit. Um, you know, the, uh, the results, the health of our businesses will follow. And that will show up in the other numbers as well.
[00:53:25] Paul Dunn: [00:53:25] Paul, by the way. Thank you. Thank you for talking about that health issue too. That is so, so, so.
[00:53:32] Paul Shrimpling: [00:53:32] Well, it's a, it's a, it's a target message. Isn't it? From a personal point of view, but actually it's the health of business. Actually. We got to take the health of our team seriously as well, both mentally and physically.
[00:53:42] Um, so, um, so yeah, so true. Let's just, let's shift the spirit, Paul, uh, you're a staff. I've loved this conversation. We could, I could go on for longer, but we need to respect people's times on
[00:53:55] Paul Dunn: [00:53:55] the podcast. We should tell people that we have
[00:54:00] [00:54:00] tracks
[00:54:01] Paul Shrimpling: [00:54:01] to narrow the field down a bit. Um, brilliant, Paul. Uh, it's been a, it's been a joy. Thank you very, very, very, very
[00:54:07] Paul Dunn: [00:54:07] much. Thank you, Paul. And enjoy some me too.
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