Tips for Overcoming Growing Pains

By Allie Petty-Stone

Like most nonprofits, you want to make the world a better place. With each positive result you gain, the more positive results you want to achieve.

However, as your achievements grow so will your organization. Are you prepared for this growth?

Growth is exciting, yet challenging, for both nonprofit and for-profit organizations. During the last few years, Alerding CPA Group has experienced significant growth, most recently through a merger. We have learned a lot in the process and thought your organization would benefit from the insights we have attained.

Our growth has demanded that we recruit and cultivate a strong team of leaders and client advisors. Internally, we have strategized about what practices have kept us strong and vital and which should be halted. Our common goal is preserving and enhancing exceptional service to our clients, while keeping our staff engaged and challenged.

If your organization is in the process of growth, it is best to keep these following tips in mind:

(1) Recruiting – Define the attributes that are truly needed beyond a boilerplate job description. Consider what WAS required and what is essential for the position(s). Job descriptions are a starting point, but what other characteristics do you desire in a candidate that would better serve the position. I personally find beginning anew the most exciting aspect of the career journey and am pleased to work with and welcome talented members to our staff.

(2) Orientation/training – Consider the immediate training needs of new staff members, especially entry level. Great managers are engaged with their staff and can identify what training tools they need NOW and in the future. It is best to cultivate their curiosity and to inspire staff to evolve in their current roles while visualizing what career possibilities lie ahead for them; it is best to note a staff member’s strengths. Once objectives are achieved, an employee may become bored and seek a purpose elsewhere. If he or she shows strength in IT processes, get him involved in those functions for his team or department.

(3) Leadership influence – Great leaders, no matter what their positions, share the company’s vision and values and live by them. They are constantly engaged in the day-to-day business and client relations. Eventually, employees take notice of this dedication and will buy-in and support this vision if they believe these core values are authentic. To this day, I can give you the name of every mentor who inspired me and how I wanted to mimic them.

(4) Team collaboration – There is nothing better than having new ideas infused in a conversation of what the department/organization is currently doing and how it can be improved. It provides the opportunity to constructively pave new paths. Business building takes work. I love getting feedback from a staff member that improves a documentation process. It means (a) he or she is taking notice; (b) he or she cares about my work; and (c) this staff member wants the firm to perform better overall.

(5) Problem solvingOne of my favorites. If a staff member has questions or concerns, it is important to ask in-person or make a phone call. Step outside simply sending an email and become accustomed to engaging in conversation. It is important to encourage problem solving. One of my favorite “mom-isms” is “You can’t come to me with a problem if you can’t offer a solution.”

(6) Humor and creativity – Add some humor and creative thinking to get around difficult issues. Regardless of generational or cultural differences, most people have a desire to make things better. Assist your staff with a smile and help diffuse concerns quickly. Never ignore problems or they can fester.

Growth can be overwhelming, so let’s also be realistic. We are fallible. Errors are made. Assumptions can be incorrect. The sooner you “right” the “wrong,” the better. Be accountable. Be forgiving. Be strong. Learn through mistakes and be the best version of a leader that you can imagine. Make it your daily mantra and your legacy. Your staff will be proud to work for you and your clients will appreciate doing business with you.

To find out how Alerding CPA Group may be of service to you, contact at 317-569-4181 or visit its website www.alerdingcpagroup.com.

Allie Petty-Stone is the firm administrator for Alerding CPA Group, an Indianapolis-based public accounting firm. She has 20 years experience in business operations.

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