november2021 - 21
A TALE OF TWO
It's great to have personally experienced
that culture, but how do
trust and empowerment, or the lack
thereof, impact an entire company?
Here's the best illustration I can
give you: I worked at two companies
that were both at $8 million in revenue
when I started. In one company,
we cultivated an environment of
trust and empowerment, a " growth
culture " , and we grew to $65 million
in a few years' time. In the second
company, there wasn't a lot of trust
and empowerment, and when I left
after a few years, the company had
hardly grown at all.
There are always business
rationalizations and market justifications
for why a company grows or
doesn't. In my experience, what it
comes down to is having a group of
people who care about one another
and the customers they serve, who
trust each other, and who can pull
together during difficult times. That
cohesive energy stems from how
they feel about the company itself
and those around them. Companies
grow when people grow. People grow
when they feel valued. Trust and
empowerment are the foundation
for growth and innovation, and for
building a company people want to
GROWTH CULTURE VS.
How do you create a foundation
rooted in trust and empowerment?
Here's what that looks like based on
* People listen to each other and ask
for each other's opinions.
* Ideas can come from anyone, no matter
where they sit in the organization
or how long they've been there.
* People have autonomy over how they
reach their goals and KPIs.
* Leaders support and encourage testing
new ideas and taking on stretch
* People collaborate crossfunctionally.
Failure is embraced and shared, not
condemned and avoided.
It all adds up to what's referred
to as a " growth mindset. "
When I've worked in companies
with a growth mindset, it seemed
to me that people felt like what they
did mattered. Job descriptions were
broad and tied to outcomes, not
tasks. If they saw something broken
or raised an issue, leadership listened
and wanted to know how the situation
could be improved. They were
interested in evolving as a company,
and people grew and evolved too.
In one such company, I came in
as an entry-level analyst. Before I
knew it, I was influencing product
and corporate strategy, how sales
teams were structured and where we
made investments in the company. I
soon stepped into a leadership role.
The contrast to that is a " fixed
mindset " culture. Here's what
I've experienced in that type of
* Decisions are handed down from
* Execution is micromanaged.
* People fear questioning things or
disagreeing with the group.
* New ideas are met with silence, or
dismissed without consideration.
* " The way we've always done it, " is
* Mistakes result in finger-pointing.
* No one wants to risk trying new
things for fear of failing.
In this culture, people's roles
and spheres of influence tend to be
narrow. They don't point out problems
they see if those problems are
outside of their sphere. They don't
bring forward new ideas, because
they know they'll be told to stay in
their lane. There's a " not my job "
You can probably guess which
type of culture
NOT JUST FOR SMALL
This is not just a big company vs.
small company issue. One of the
most empowering places I've ever
worked is one of the biggest companies
in the world. One of the worst
was a small company where the
leader would scream and yell and
talk about people behind their backs.
No one felt safe.
Big companies that want to
continue to innovate intentionally
invest in things like incubation
centers or hack-a-thons, not necessarily
because they're demanding
specific profitability performance but
because they're trying to foster the
creation of new ideas, and they don't
hold an expectation of performance.
They hold an expectation of evolution,
growth and collaboration.
In a small company, innovation is
even easier. If you set the right tone,
innovation is what everybody does
naturally. There's so much flexibility
in the direction of a smaller company
and there's a greater ability to say,
" Hey, why don't we try this? " and go
What all of this comes down to is
how you value your employees.
Money alone is not the answer.
Money typically isn't even the primary
factor in how employees feel
about the place they work. Feeling
empowered to contribute to the best
of their ability, and having their contributions
valued, matter more than
paycheck or title to many employees.
The value you place on your
employees as people is communicated
every day, from the top down.
It's communicated by listening to
opinions and ideas, trusting people
to make decisions, and clearing
the runway for them to thrive. It's
shown in removing the obstacles to
let people go beyond what they're
doing today, and then giving them
the opportunity to push themselves
further and try new things.
The COVID-19 pandemic has
been a time for people to re-evaluate
their relationships and how they
spend their time, both personally
and professionally. Many have
decided that returning to business
as usual, or continuing to work in a
job where they don't feel valued as
a person, is not worth the costs to
their physical and mental well-being.
That's what The Great Resignation
is all about. If employers don't
acknowledge and respond to this
shift in workers' mindsets,
ultimately lead to losing lots of good
Josh Cyphers is the President
of Nvoicepay, a FLEETCOR
Company. For the past 20
years, Josh has managed
successful growth for a
variety of companies, from
start-ups to Fortune 100
companies. Prior to Nvoicepay, Josh held
leadership roles at Microsoft, Nike, Fiserv,
and several growth-stage technology
companies. Josh is a lapsed CPA and has
a BS in Economics from Eastern Oregon
NOVEMBER 2021 ■ www.CPAPracticeAdvisor.com
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of november2021
From the Editor: CPE for Free at Ensuring Success
Quick Networking Tips Your Can Implement Today
Technology: A Critical Driver of M&A Synergy
How to Better Manage and Track Your CPE Credits
How to Find the Right Buyer for an Accounting Firm
Modernizing Outdated Areas of Your Accounting Firm
Marketing Your Firm: How to Create a Press Kit if Your Firm Acquires or Merges into Another
From the Trenches: Continuous Education to Meet Technology Changes
The ProAdvisor Spotlight: Productivity Innovations Announced at QuickBooks Connect 2021
The Leadership Advisor: Self-Care for Busy Accountants
The Labor Law Advisor: The Pandemic: Unforseen Events and Unforced Errors
The Millennial Advisor: Every Action Matters
The Staffing & HR Advisor: Staying Ahead of the Curve: What's New in Accounting for 2022?
Apps We Love: Lifestyle Apps
Trust & Empowerment: Two Keys to Emerging Unscathed from the Great Resignation
AICPA News: A round up of recent association news and events
Bridging the Gap: 5 Growth Trends for 2022
november2021 - 1
november2021 - 2
november2021 - 3
november2021 - From the Editor: CPE for Free at Ensuring Success
november2021 - Quick Networking Tips Your Can Implement Today
november2021 - Technology: A Critical Driver of M&A Synergy
november2021 - How to Better Manage and Track Your CPE Credits
november2021 - How to Find the Right Buyer for an Accounting Firm
november2021 - 9
november2021 - Modernizing Outdated Areas of Your Accounting Firm
november2021 - Marketing Your Firm: How to Create a Press Kit if Your Firm Acquires or Merges into Another
november2021 - From the Trenches: Continuous Education to Meet Technology Changes
november2021 - 13
november2021 - The ProAdvisor Spotlight: Productivity Innovations Announced at QuickBooks Connect 2021
november2021 - The Leadership Advisor: Self-Care for Busy Accountants
november2021 - The Labor Law Advisor: The Pandemic: Unforseen Events and Unforced Errors
november2021 - The Millennial Advisor: Every Action Matters
november2021 - The Staffing & HR Advisor: Staying Ahead of the Curve: What's New in Accounting for 2022?
november2021 - Apps We Love: Lifestyle Apps
november2021 - Trust & Empowerment: Two Keys to Emerging Unscathed from the Great Resignation
november2021 - 21
november2021 - AICPA News: A round up of recent association news and events
november2021 - Bridging the Gap: 5 Growth Trends for 2022
november2021 - 24