As many of you may know, there was a pretty big shake up in the world of pro football recently when Tony Romo announced his retirement as quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys, effectively passing the baton to his replacement, rookie Dak Prescott. Such a shift is bound to bring about significant change. But as many of you already know, change is not always a bad thing. In fact, sometimes a good shakeup can encourage growth.
Major leadership change is occurring at an increasingly rapid pace throughout the business world as well. And as more and more baby boomers retire at record levels we will soon be watching as Millennials step up to take their place. As this change continues to unfold, I have a few thoughts on the matter.
Full disclosure: As a Millennial myself, I have no intention of writing yet another “how to manage millennials in your business” article. Instead, this piece is going to focus on the “changing of the guard,” so to speak.
Why Not Mess With A Good Thing?
I recently found myself driving south toward Ashville, North Carolina to visit with friends and to tour the 8,000-acre Biltmore Estate, built by George Vanderbilt in 1889. The original driveway, according to our tour guide, was designed to promote a state of relaxation as visitors found their way up to the main entrance of the manor. With every twist and turn, drivers are urged to slow down, relax and to simply bask in nature of their surroundings. It was breathtaking. After a very nice visit, I set course a course for home and began to make my way through the winding highway as it took me directly through the Smokey Mountains. It wasn’t long before my mind began to wonder back to the soothing driveway leading up to the Biltmore property.
Further on down the road, it occurred to me that my 2014 Ford was driving along a highway that appeared to be the same width as the driveway on the estate. And that made me wonder about how these measurements were determined. Well, as it turns out, car axels were modeled after the axels of trains. And the axels of trains were built to mimic the measurements of ancient Roman chariots. While we’ve come a long way since the days of Caesar with regard to efficiency, the goal of transportation remains the same: how do we move goods and people in the best possible manner.
With every year that passes we welcome and embrace a variety of new tools and ideas into our wheelhouse. Today we are more efficient than ever before. Change in the name of advancement is necessary. And while change doesn’t always come about smoothly, there are times when it does.
Finding The Tie That Binds
I have had the good fortune of being a part of a very smooth changeover process in my mentor/mentee relationship with Mike Taylor, a principal within our firm with over 45 years of experience in the industry. And although this relationship has spanned over a relatively short period of time, the lessons I have learned from him have been powerful and are sure to accompany me as I continue to grow in my career.
During one of our first meetings, Mike asked me to list the leadership books I’ve read. To be honest, I was a shy to answer, since my answer was none. But that’s because I just didn’t have time. (After all, studying for the CPA exam was a full-time job itself!) But even though at the time it had been a while since I picked up an actual book to learn leadership best practices, I regularly listen to renowned leadership authors on YouTube while tackling my housework. Obviously this wasn’t a method Mike was accustomed to working with himself, but he didn’t falter. In fact, he embraced my method by explaining that regardless of how I garner the knowledge, my interest in furthering my leadership education provided the common ground upon which we could meet.
Tony Romo, the retired quarterback I spoke about in the beginning of this post, came to a similar realization about his own metamorphosis. Dak, will take on the quarterback roll, but Tony will be close behind – a mentor on the sidelines. He has, after all, spent years working to help build up the team. Now it’s time for Tony to be an effective leader from off the field while Dak takes the lessons he’s been taught over the years and improves upon them. That’s what effective change looks like and it certainly exists in all aspects of life.
By Katie Snyder, CPA (Wooster office)