12 May 2020
Watching the ‘Last Dance’ has reinforced to me the importance of being a student of the game. Can I say, I used to get to the rim like Mike!
Translated to accounting speak, once upon a time I gained a merit certificate in Accounting 1 during my Professional Year (PY) studies in 1998. Which means I could debit and credit really well. Perhaps I even have more than one merit, but the wisdom of time has shown that being good at accounting at a point in time, doesn’t guarantee you will make a good accountant over time.
The best work on their game, they use their downtime to evolve and remain ahead of the curve. Michael Jordan leveraged his strong work ethic to transform from a rim-attacking leaper into one of history's most important jump-shooters. And he did it by shooting, shooting, shooting, and shooting some more. Federer used to serve and volley and evolved into a mentally focussed, super fit, formidable groundstroker by doing hours and hours of hard work the public never saw.
So, it led me to wonder - how many in the game of accounting have made the most of the opportunity presented to us by COVID-19 to improve their game in isolation so they can bounce forward once restrictions are lifted rather than bounce back? Because the one thing I am certain of upon returning to the office, is the game has changed!
In addition to checking in on how well we have all contributed to the flattening of the COVID-19 curve, the other curve for accountants to understand is the Sigmoid Curve. The Sigmoid Curve suggests cycles happen and even if things were going well you should assume the first curve’s growth is nearing its peak and preparation for the new curve should be underway before decline sets in. In a pre-COVID-19 world, perhaps there was no compelling proposition to change. Why throw away something that is mature and brings reward for something new and untested?
Post COVID-19, the game has changed and the question to ask yourself is will your old ways still win you a championship?
No growth is permanent. It will plateau before it declines. Superstars work on their game during the season as well as the offseason to ensure they remain ahead of the curve.
For accountants, consider your next four to six weeks pre-season and how you can make the most of this current opportunity. Sure, moving to a new curve entails more pain since growth always involves pain to some degree but “if you don’t fail you ain’t trying.”
For accountants, compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world because interest on interest over time leads to exponential growth. What skill will you add to your game plan? Cyber security, business continuity, data analytics, social media integration, outsourcing, emotional intelligence, team leader - the choice is yours, but choose something and choose now so you can gain the benefit of compound interest from your investment.
I attended a conference recently and my key takeaway was Ash Barty controls her controllables by:
- Working her butt off in practice.
- Giving it her best on game day and letting the result be what it will be.
Ben Crowe tells me all I can control is bringing the best version of myself to the task every day. He also told me perfect is not possible, but self-improvement is. If you want growth post-COVID-19, its time to add a mid-range jumper to your game.