November 30, 2023

Episode 97: Paul Richmond of theGrogroup

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The Story

What happens when you put two business leaders, both of whom serve the leadership and management teams of accounting firms, into a podcast discussion? Well, you end up with a bit of a fireside chat, a very candid fireside chat, that unpacks a number of key issues influencing the success of accountancy firms.

In this Humanise The Numbers podcast discussion with Paul Richmond of theGrogroup, you'll hear Paul and I chewing the fat, but also diving deep into topics such as client grading, exiting clients, KPIs and building a leadership team that really drives the future of an accountancy firm forward.

If you're interested in seeing two competitors – I don't necessarily see us that way, and I don't think Paul does either – sharing thoughts and ideas on how to transform the results of accounting firms, then listen to this podcast.

Scroll down this podcast’s episode page for the contact information for Paul and for the additional, downloadable resources mentioned in this podcast.

The Solution:

There's a huge education piece around the whole Lencioni thing and fear of conflict, because accountants, as well as being good with numbers, are also very good with people as a rule.

They went into it because they like the client relationships, they want to build long-term client relationships. They like harmony in the team and don't like having tough conversations. They like harmony with the clients and don't like talking about fees and having tough conversations.

But it’s important to say - it's going to be okay, it’s okay when you disagree, and if you sit down as a board you should disagree, because you should care enough to make your case and say ‘I disagree with you’, and you should be able to have that confidence to talk it through, and then as adults sit back and go, okay - I am prepared to change my opinion?

I can't remember whose quote it was, but I thought it was good – “A good leader has strong beliefs loosely held.” So, we're not wedded to anything if more information comes along or if a better argument comes along. We are prepared to change.





Connect with Paul

Connect with Paul

Resources relating to this podcast:

During the podcast, Paul and Paul discuss the importance of having difficult conversations that will, at times, embrace constructive conflict within your team.

They both recognise that this is a difficult area, as most accountants prefer the safe space of harmony, but both also acknowledge that conflict shows you care passionately about something.

Paul mentions the importance of psychological safety when it comes to difficult conversations or addressing difficult issues.

But what is psychological safety? It's a shared belief within a group that it is safe to take interpersonal risks without fear of negative consequences for one’s self-image, status or career. Such safety results when you trust and respect one another.

This is critical whenever there is a disagreement or difficult conversation.

If you want to know more about how to foster a sense of psychological safety in your team and into the culture of your firm, please click the button below.

Paul and Paul also talk about the importance of appropriately handling difficult conversations in your firm, whether with your team or with your clients.

Most accountants avoid these moments due to their confrontational nature but, naturally, this does not make the problem go away. In fact, not addressing the issues at the time can often make the situation worse.

So, maybe it is time to build your 'handling difficult conversation' skills. When you do, you will be able to apply new thinking and a few core skills to those awkward and challenging conversations.

If you want to discover more about how to build those skills, click the button below.

Paul also mentions the importance of trust in any team where constructive conflict is present. He talks about an education piece around the work of Patrick Lencioni and his book, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable.

If you want to discover more, here is a link to the book.

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