"Whether you think you can, or you think you can't, you're right." - Henry Ford
Do your people believe in what you're doing? Do they think they can achieve what you ask of them? Ford's quote gets to the heart of the culture most organizations strive to have - one where everyone, from your administrative assistant to your most senior partner, is dedicated to continuous improvement. However, in many organizations, including CPA firms, it's not that easy to get individuals who are set in their own ways to embrace improvement ideas, and they may actually resist them.
There are nine categories of waste found in CPA firms referred to as DOWNTIME + A. The "+ A" is attitude. Complacency and resistance to new ideas is a classic example of the waste of attitude in a firm. If widespread, it can be detrimental. Actually, it only takes a few people to resist an implemented change in order for a project or initiative to fail. It's why all the various stakeholders in your firm must understand the concepts and benefits of process improvement if you are to ever evolve into an organization that is dedicated to continually improving what you do.
There are people within firms, who, although they have good intentions, actually hold their firms back. They appear at all levels of the organization and typically resist buying into firm initiatives because of the paradigms they have developed for the way things should be - regardless if there is a better way.
Do any of these people sound familiar:
It's rare that individuals purposely try to hurt their firms. However, that's exactly what they are doing in the instances above without knowing it. The paradigms they've developed become an obstacle to your ultimate effectiveness.
The good news is with training and coaching, most people, including the stereotypes above, can be developed into better team players and leaders in the organization. Lean principles, like understanding what's valuable to internal customers, reducing bottlenecks and building quality into the process at earlier and lower levels, can help most people overcome their resistance to process improvement - even if they don't realize they are obstacles to your continuous improvement.