Leadership Lessons I Have Learned Along the Way
When I started my career at BerganKDV nearly 16 years ago, I did so as a staff accountant. This meant that my days were spent interacting with clients and their financial information. I still have the privilege of working with business owners and other clients but as my responsibilities have increased at the firm, I have been required to focus more of my time on our firm’s business, rather than working in the business. This shift in role has helped me better serve my clients as they, too, are often in this boat. Many started out as maybe a one-person shop wearing multiple hats, but to make their business grow, they have given up some of the day-to-day, hands-on tasks to focus on the bigger picture.
This was a topic recently discussed by two of my colleagues in our firm’s Listen. Learn. Lead. webinar series. In the series, some important points were shared about systems, compliance issues, staffing and how to measure success. I encourage you to take some time out to watch this webinar, and to get yourself signed up for the entire series.
In addition to this information, I too have some lessons I have learned along the way as I lead our team in the firm’s Cedar Rapids office. Here we go:
- Be a lifelong learner. Believe it or not, I started my career as a high school math teacher. I realized this was not my calling and I was meant for something else, so I started helping keep the books at my in-laws’ turkey farm. It was there that I realized I needed to go back to school, get my accounting degree and my CPA licensure. But the learning didn’t end there. As I have advanced in my role at the firm, I have learned about many other facets of our business from human resources to marketing to how a LEAN organization functions. None of those subjects were on my mind when I first started my career here at the firm, but I am challenged daily to learn new things for my own betterment and for the firm’s benefit.
- Be flexible. In my role as partner-in-charge, no two days are alike, just like no two days are the same for a business owner. One of my favorite things about this career is the variety and chaos it can bring! Some days are spent keeping our team going and motivating them as they trudge through long, long days during tax season. Other days are spent in meetings with leadership in our six other locations to talk about integrating systems across the firm. And, other days are spent networking at events with clients, or doing things I never thought I would do, like recording a radio spot to promote our firm! None of these tasks were outlined in my job description, but here we are! And it has given me the opportunity to learn about things I would have not ever thought about exploring! It has helped me grow personally and professionally.
- Don’t give up. All organizations that grow do so because they change. Changing the way you know how to do things can be challenging and always seems the worst when you are in the middle of it. At times, you can feel you won’t ever have the chance to catch your breath or feel like you are on solid ground. I know this to be true from experience. But, don’t give up. Keep moving forward, find the next step to take, and then the step after that. Depend on those around you, not only within your organization but outside of it, too. Get involved in your industry organizations, or your local civic groups. I heard one time, if you fall down six times, get up seven!
Becky Morgan is a Partner who works closely with small business clients. Becky is also the manager of our Cedar Rapids office, overseeing that projects move along smoothly. When she isn’t reviewing a tax return or consulting with her small business clients, Becky enjoys camping, gardening, playing volleyball and spending time with her husband, two sons, and dogs. And, she would love to have dinner someday with Matthew McConaughey.