Tag Archives | workplace

Creatives in the Workplace: Are you the Machine or the Inventor?

creatives in the workplaceHere in Texas, graduation is approaching. It makes you wonder… How do those potential candidates stand out in a crowd if thousands of them are competing for the same job position? Believe it or not, you were in that same situation once. If you identify with the older generation, how did you land the job you have now?

Simple Answer: You were most likely one of the creatives in the workplace.

2017’s Most Wanted Creative Skills

One of the major problems with school is that they teach material from five, maybe even ten (sometimes even more) years ago. However, it’s partially not their fault. New skills are being explored, developed, and desired every day. Some textbooks just can’t keep up.

Here are a couple of my personal favorite creative skills that some businesses are looking for:


By “design,” I don’t mean the typical architect who draws with a bow compass and ruler and submits by the end of the week. Adobe Illustrator, Lightroom, and Photoshop are no longer highly paid skills because there are so many businesses who use them, and people who have the skill. Since 2015, development with User Experience/User Interface (UX/UI) has become more precise. Who knows, maybe that will be the next Adobe suite in terms of conventional skills…

Designers are also faster than before. If we compare a web page from ten years ago to the ones we see today, then designing a web page used to take months. Now, it only takes a few hours. This increase in productivity opened the door for other improvements with technology and design, and will continue to do so with more improvements in the industry.


Demand is increasing for digital marketers, search engine optimization (SEO), and copywriting for company websites – I’m guilty of this myself! Like many skills, writing is considered a constant demand and ever-evolving skill. Employees don’t often have the time or patience to write 1,000+ words a day.

Writing has become so evolved that there is an algorithm, maybe even a customizable process. Writers put thoughts and feelings out there for users and customers, which is something no artificial intelligence will ever be designed to do.

Everyone has their own special skill… how do you know which is the best system for your company? Download our free guide, How to be a Wingman, to be the best wingman to your CEO.

Benefits of Having Creatives in the Workplace

These are all attractive skills to have in 2017, but the demand is high and the skills are constantly creatives in the workplacechanging. Additionally, creativity doesn’t always translate to advanced skills like coding and UX/UI. According to dictionary.com, Creativity is “the ability to transcend traditional ideas, rules, patterns, relationships, or the like, and to create meaningful new ideas.” Creativity can and should be in every team member, and here’s why…

Creativity = Flexibility

It is common to have a standard procedure and policy when implementing new ideas for a company. One of the benefits of having creatives in the workplace is that they figure out new ways to do a project, but still maintain the company policy. Doing the same tasks the same way becomes discouraging and mundane, and having a fresh opinion can keep even routine tasks interesting.

Flexibility = Growth

Having employees to provide a “fresh” opinion not only keeps tasks interesting, but helps the company grow. It is often difficult to see what needs to be improved when you’ve worked somewhere for a long time. Bending the company norms, but just enough to stay within company procedures, effects change within a company. Depending on your company culture, this is great news. However, not every company sees it that way…

Disadvantages of Having Creatives in the Workplace

When you’ve established a company culture for more than 10 years, having a young mind spouting change might rub the “old factory” workers the wrong way. If creatives and millennials are both seeking creative job positions, you’d assume it’s a good thing that millennials are inclining more towards creativity and innovation. In most ways, it is. In others, well… Here are a couple of reasons why having creatives in the workplace might actually slow your progress down:

Creatives don’t always enjoy Repetition

creatives in the workplaceAs a professor in an Entrepreneurship Program, I hear the same thing. “Corporate is bad,” and “I refuse to be a cog in a machine!” are only a couple of phrases I’ve heard. Young creatives are less attracted to a traditional company culture because of the repetitive and mundane tasks that these businesses often have. Toeing the company line seems restrictive for the creative thinker, which is why having creatives in the workplace is becoming rarer, and more creative people tend to quit their jobs within two years. The best cure for this is to allow those creative minds to bend the policy a little, (and maybe show us Baby Boomers and Gen X-ers a thing or two).

Squirrels are More Common

Another disadvantage to having creative people in the workplace is that they are often strongly opinionated and visionary. Consider our recent blog: “That Squirrel will Kill You!”. Having new opinions and visions for a company should always be accepted and heard, no matter how crazy or different they may be. However, creative people have a lot of ideas, and often move on to the next idea too quickly to make them reality. The downside is, some projects need to be completed before your company can afford another one. Constantly creating can be detrimental if no one is actually productive in a project, and everyone always works on something new.


Having creative people in the workplace can be tricky – there is definitely a gray area and many contradictions. In my opinion, having a creative mind definitely separates someone in a crowd of applicants. The difficult part is how to incorporate those creative thinkers in an environment that isn’t very creative. Let’s face it – companies need those creative people just as much, if not more, than they need the status quo. So ask yourself, are you the cog in the machine that conducts the same processes every time, or the inventor? It’s up to you to decide.

Don’t forget… the CFO is the CEO’s wingman, and it’s not a mundane job. Learn how to think like a creative with this free tool!

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How the Presidential Election Affects Your Business 

“Donald Trump is a philosophically unmoored political opportunist who would trash the broad conservative ideological consensus within the GOP…”

“Hillary Clinton should be in jail because she is crooked, and our nation will suffer from her corruption…”

It’s election season and the Presidential race is a hot topic. Some might say that this election is one of the most memorable elections in history. However, both the Republican and Democratic candidates have gained somewhat of an infamous reputation… and both candidates have a hand in why the presidential election affects your business.

How will our country fare in such a controversial time? More specifically, what will happen to our economy, our businesses?

Animosity in the Workplace

Presidential election season often puts people in the mood for a good debate. When Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton were announced to be the Republican and Democratic Candidates,  things really got interesting.

Animosity between followers of the two parties have clashed like never before. Stealing signs, protesting, creating hate-filled hashtags, and more. Over the past several months, we’ve also seen the presidential election create a financial dent in companies in various capacities.

Can political talk within the workplace cost you your career?

“So… who are you voting for?” This is the question that sparks many an argument.

Long gone it seems is the notion to not talk about religion or politics in the workplace. Tensions are high, and it’s becoming harder to focus at work with the end in sight. Many businesses across the United States are experiencing HR conflicts due to the election – one example of how the presidential election affects your business.

For example, Sarah, an editor of a cooking magazine, decided to hang a “Vote for Hillary!” poster outside of her door. As a result, she was placed on disciplinary probation and was sent home.

Sarah is not alone in the matter. In a recent article, the NY Times reported about how bringing political issues into the workplace is costing jobs. High employee turnover during election season is causing more instability in addition to the uncertainty caused by the elections.

Freedom of speech?

While it may seem like employee discrimination, a private company can act freely in their hiring and firing decisions. Particularly businesses in Texas (a right to hire/right to fire state), employees are not necessarily free to express any opinion and keep their job safe. The only safety net is in keeping your mouth shut.

This issue can only be mitigated by state employee protections. The problem is that so few states protect employees from discrimination for political speech or opinion (only California, New York, and Washington D.C. protect an employee specifically from political activity or affiliation). Private employers make up about 85% of the workforce, and offer little to no protection from being fired due to political views.

Unless your company is all about letting the people freely speak, try to keep the political discussion to a minimum. Instead, create a safe environment a healthy dialogue about how either candidate will impact the company with new policies, guidelines, laws, economic fluctuations, stock market increases/decreases, and business confidence. Use an external analysis as a guideline to create an awareness of potential changes expected as well as a plan to react to said changes.

Other issues within the workplace

I’ve never seen a customer ask an employee about his or her political views, let alone reject their business because of it. The same goes for the business, and their “right to refuse service.” With the issues arising between people, and not just the employees, it seems harder to make a sale.

For example, let’s say you needed to buy a shovel. You make it to the local hardware store, but there’s a “Vote for Trump” sign in the window. Would you give them business? I bet you would if you were pro-Trump. But what if you weren’t?

This isn’t assuming that customers are discriminatory (for the most part). The idea of “voting with your dollars” has never been more in evidence. Consumer spending is less optimistic than before, but like most downturns, there are indicators for a stronger economy within the next six months.

Presidential Election Affects Your Business

The Washington Post recently quoted the chief economist at the National Federation of Independent Business, Bill Dunkelberg: “Uncertainty is high, expectations for better business conditions are low, and future business investments look weak… Our data indicates that there is little hope for a surge in the small business sector anytime soon.”

Check out a blog we wrote this summer about how uncertainty surrounds events like the elections.

Market & Financial Impact

Money Magazine recently published quotes from Mark Cuban and Marc Faber saying, “Stocks will plunge if Donald Trump is elected President. And the bond market could capsize if Trump goes ahead with plans to renegotiate the national debt. Yeah, but if Hillary Clinton wins the White House, she’ll cripple the economy by hiking taxes by $1 trillion.”

There are good and bad consequences to either candidate being elected. As you are evaluating who to vote for or preparing for the impending announcement of our next President, start by ranking the importance and level of impact a particular stance has on your company.
Look at stock markets, debt, foreign policy, immigration, taxes, etc.

Bottom line: vote.

Want to know how to make decisions easier for your company? Download our External Analysis whitepaper to take control of your business during this unpredictable time!

Conducting an External Analysis

Regardless of the animosity and drastic differences of the two parties, we have to remember that either way, someone is going to change the economy. As a result of the presidential election alone, the economy has experienced a slight downturn. Imagine how the selection of a new president will change the future of your business.

According to Wall Street Journal, certain businesses are holding off on million-dollar construction projects until after November 2016. Compared to the previous year, predictions were much more optimistic. New tax regulations, health codes, and other economic policies are examples of external forces directly associated with the presidential election.

The Future with Clinton

When we make projections for a company, we look at the previous years’ financials. In this case, we’ll look at Hillary Clinton’s previous actions to predict the future of our country… with her role as the secretary of state. Clinton was involved with three scandals – emails, Benghazi, and the Clinton Fund.  Will American citizens look harshly on this?

From an economic standpoint, Clinton plans to cut taxes for the middle-class, raise the minimum wage, and other actions related to equality and creating jobs. There is a cost associated with these plans and you must evaluate how your business will be affected.

The Future with Trump

What do Donald Trump’s previous actions say about him?  He has been involved with multiple scandals related to racism, sexism, and violence. How will this affect his ability to lead our country?

From an economic perspective, Trump wants to regulate tax codes in order to grow manufacturing within the United States. His controversial idea to build a wall between the US and Mexico will almost certainly impact trade with our neighbor to the south.  How will these measures affect your company?


Rather than spending time debating your co-workers over the merits of this candidate or that one, really dig into what each candidate’s plans will mean for your company. Take the time to vote.  Don’t take your eye off the ball because of November 8th,  but instead look ahead for what’s to come on November 9th.

presidential election affects your business

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Workplace Diversity

See Also:
Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace
Co-employment in a PEO Arrangement

What is Workplace Diversity?

Diversity in the Workplace is a reality in most businesses and organizations. If organizations strive to improve their competitive advantage in the market, then they must learn how to successfully manage a diverse workforce.

Diversity Management

In a workplace, diversity management requires an environment of inclusion. Employees should feel like they make a significant contribution to the organization using their unique qualities. Diversity management is about taking advantage of people’s uniqueness and individuality. Then move the organization towards progress and success. Managing organizational diversity as an advantage and not as a disadvantage creates a united workplace culture. Drive it toward productivity and improvement.

Benefits of Diversity

The benefit of focusing on diversity and inclusion within an organization is that employees feel comfortable to participate and contribute their ideas. When employees feel appreciated for their individuality, they will think outside the box to help the organization grow. Diversity enables an organization to connect to different markets and to develop diversification of products, services, and strategies. The importance of diversity is that management can strategically maximize the abilities and productivity levels of individual employees.

Types of Workplace Diversity

  • Demographic Diversity includes diversity based on demographic background, such as ethnicity, gender, age, race, and disability status.
  • Experiential Diversity includes diversity based on life experiences, such as being a mother or father, an immigrant, a military veteran, or a former politician.
  • Informational Diversity includes diversity based on individual knowledge and educational backgrounds, such as a high school education versus an MBA education.
  • Fundamental Diversity includes diversity based on individual beliefs and values, such as importance of ethics in the workplace, as well as the relationships between employees and their organizations.

Determine which candidates are the right fit for your company using our 5 Guiding Principles For Recruiting a Star-Quality Team.

Workplace Diversity

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Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace

See Also:
How to Run an Effective Meeting
How To Train People For Success
Future of the Accounting Workforce
How to Hire New Employees
How to form an Advisory Board

Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace

We’ve all come across numerous articles spouting the need for us to get in touch with our feelings and be willing to share our feelings with others. Does that apply in the workplace, with a coworker or with our boss? You’ve got to be kidding, right? No, I’m actually not. This article discusses emotional intelligence in the workplace and how it attributes to success and real value.

Emotional Intelligence and Workplace Success

Many experts in the field of business psychology have concluded that there is a direct correlation between success in the workplace and emotional intelligence (EQ). So, what is emotional intelligence in the workplace? And why is it important in the workplace? EQ is one’s ability to cope with daily situations and to get along in the world. It is also the ability to recognize one’s owns feeling and those of other people. In addition, it is the ability to motivate oneself and others. Furthermore, many believe EQ is a measure one’s effectiveness in the workplace.

Download The 7 Habits of Highly Effective CFOs

IQ vs EQ

All too often, many of us fall into dated views that our IQ and/or educational background are the key drivers to past and future successes. For example, contemporaries believe that IQ by itself in not an effective predictor of job performance. But rather, it is a combination of IQ vs EQ that provides a better measure of success in the workplace. We are being judged by a new yardstick. It’s not just by how smart we are, or by our training and expertise, but also how well we handle ourselves and each other. This realm of thinking is increasingly applied to who will be hired and who will not. (Goleman, 1998) According to personnel executives, IQ may get you hired, but EQ will get you promoted. (www.time.com– Understanding Psychology)

Best selling author, Dr. Daniel Goleman has championed heightened awareness on this subject through his books “Emotional Intelligence” and “Working with Emotional Intelligence.” Both books have been enormously influential and have played a key role in adopting the notion of EQ in mainstream business thinking. Dr. Goleman’s definition of emotional intelligence proposes four broad domains of EQ which consist of 19 competencies. The following chart illustrates the domains and the inter-relationship between the competencies.

SELF SOCIAL RECOGNITION Self-Awareness Social Awareness Self-Confidence Empathy Emotional Self-Awareness Organizational Awareness Accurate Self-Assessment Service Orientation REGULATION Self Management Relationship Management Self-Control Influence Trustworthiness Inspirational Leadership Conscientiousness Developing Others Adaptability Influence Achievement Building Bonds Drive to Succeed Teamwork and Collaboration Initiative

Recognition: Self-Awareness

The following includes some more details about self-awareness:

  • Emotional self-awareness: Reading one’s own emotions and recognizing their impact
  • Accurate self-assessment: knowing one’s strengths and limits
  • Self-confidence: a sound sense of one’s self-worth and capabilities

Regulation: Self-Management

The following includes some more details about self-management:

  • Emotional self-control: Keeping disruptive emotions and impulses under control
  • Transparency: Displaying honesty, integrity, and trustworthiness
  • Adaptability: Flexibility in adapting to changing situations or overcoming obstacles
  • Achievement: The drive to improve performance to meet inner standards of excellence
  • Initiative: Readiness to act and seize opportunities
  • Optimism: Seeing the upside in events

Recognition: Social Awareness

The following includes some more details about social awareness:

  • Empathy: Sensing others’ emotions, then understanding their perspectives, and taking active interest in their concerns
  • Organizational awareness: Reading the currents, decision networks, and politics at the organizational level
  • Service: Recognizing and meeting follower, clients, and customer needs

Regulation: Relationship Management

The following includes some more details about relationship management:

  • Inspirational leadership: Guiding and motivating with a compelling vision
  • Influence: Wielding a range of tactics for persuasion
  • Developing others: Bolstering others’ abilities through feedback and guidance
  • Change catalyst: Initiating, managing, and leading in the new direction
  • Conflict management: Resolving disagreements
  • Building bonds: Cultivating and maintaining a web of relationships
  • Teamwork and collaboration: Cooperation and team building

With few levels of management in today’s organizations, management styles tend to be less autocratic. In addition, the move towards more knowledge based, team working, and customer focused jobs means that individuals generally have more autonomy, even at fairly low levels within organizations. (www.psychometic-success.com) So, how can we apply Goleman’s insight to increase our own probability of success? Spend time getting to know and evaluating yourself. Then determine how you relate to others.

Questions About Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace

Then ask yourself the following questions to know yourself, choose yourself, and know others:

Know Yourself

Ask the following questions to know yourself.

  1. What makes you think, act, and feel the way you do?
  2. Which parts of your reaction are habitual and which parts are intentional?
  3. What motivates you?

Choose Yourself

Ask the following questions to choose yourself. 

  1. How do you know what is right for you?
  2. Can you increase your awareness of actions so that you can see their effects on yourself and on others?
  3. Can you live with doing less than what is right?

Know Others

Ask the following questions to know others.

  1. What makes others think, act, and feel the way they do?
  2. How can I recognize and respond to other’s emotions?
  3. How can I encourage and motivate others?

It is unlikely that your emotional intelligence skills will drastically improve by reading a book or this article or taking a training class. It takes time, training, and a great deal of practice. As products and services and skills continue to be commoditized, the ability to distinguish oneself or a product is becoming more difficult. However, leveraging EQ enables us to create a competitive advantage through a focus on other’s needs, relationships, and leadership style.

The Role of Emotional Intelligence in Leadership

The leader of today and tomorrow must not simply have a vision that inspires others, but they must also be able to execute it successfully to ensure that vision becomes a reality. (D. Dunning, Leadership in the Millennium) But, how does one ensure successful execution in today’s rapidly changing and dynamic business world? Through focused and intentional leadership development.

For instance consider the following action plan – which can be used by those mentoring and by those wanting to improve their leadership skills.

1. Begin With An End in Mind

What does the aspiring leader need to do or know? What skills or competencies mush be acquired to accomplish the goals?

2. Truthfully Level Regarding Gaps

Be honest with individuals about the gap that exists between where they are currently and where they want to be. Help them develop a plan to get there and provide supportive feedback along the way.

3. Develop Real Time Learning Opportunities

Give people learning assignments from real-life situations or issues. To grow, people need “stretch goals and assignments.”

4. Provide Continuous Feedback and Support

Small group feedback is an effective way to provide constructive and effective feedback.

5. Be Sure to Celebrate Victories

Acknowledging and publicizing success and giving credit/kudos is a way to demonstrate how you and the company value its people and their contributions.

6. Don’t Allow Resting on One’s Laurels

Begin the cycle again with new goals and objectives for growth and development.

A single leader may be able to effectively solve simple technical problems; however, today’s complex problems require an alliance of diverse individuals and groups contributing unique knowledge, experience, and expertise. It is the workforce, in creative alliance with leadership, which drives effective change – not the individual leader. As a result, emotional intelligence plays an integral role in the success of today’s as well as tomorrow’s leaders.

For example, leaders with high EQs focus on leading by teaching. Furthermore, they understand the power of appreciation. They also remind others of what’s important, generate and sustain trust. Finally, they build alliances with their staffs.

The Information Age

This is the information age. As a result, all of us are dependent on information and using it wisely. The advent of the EQ model enriches our knowledge of the information surrounding us. It also tells us emotional information is there and that some people can see it and use it. The model encourages all of us to use EQ information wisely – whether through our own direct understanding, or through the assistance of those who do understand.

If you want to learn more financial leadership skills, then download the free 7 Habits of Highly Effective CFOs. Find out how you can become a more valuable financial leader.

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A Fun Place to Work

Can you have fun at work and be productive at the same time? Blinds.com sure does think so. Last week I visited the open house for their new location and I can truly say they have set up a workplace of fun. From the paint colors to the floor coverings, the idea of fun was very much considered. One might wonder with all this fun going on is any one getting any work done.

Blinds.com – A Fun Place to Work

Well, let’s just say they have experienced a 25% growth rate over the last three months and they have reached the $100M mark. I would say that’s quite an accomplishment for CEO Jay Steinfeld, who started the company from his garage with $3,000.00. Steinfeld and his team of over 130 employees have developed a culture of fun in the workplace.

Open House

On June 19th, I attended the open house for their new location. From good food to fun videos it was two hours well spent. From marveling at the lava lamps, playing with the huge Kinect board, playing along in the scavenger hunt (which I didn’t complete) to watching Steinfeld and his team perform on the “Move It” video I came away thinking, “I see why they are so successful”. The finale was hearing Jay Steinfeld thank his team and announce a toast to their success. The energy in the room was contagious. His final thought was that he’s always wanted to work in a magic shop and the new space fulfills that wish. Now the entire Blinds.com team can strive to create magic for their customers as they continue their work to be the world’s number one online window coverings store.

Here is a gallery of photos from their new space…

To learn more financial leadership skills, download the free 7 Habits of Highly Effective CFOs.


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The Future of the Accounting Workforce

The Future of the Accounting Workforce

“Firms who are hiring new accountants or accounting majors have to understand where the newer generations are “coming from,” as a Boomer (born 1946-1964) might say, to target a style that will bring out the next generation’s (the Millennial Generation’s) strengths and maximize their effectiveness. This involves discarding biases and pre-conceived notions, and enjoying our generational differences—and similarities!

Millennial workers grew up in a technology-driven world. As a result, the way we do business has changed dramatically over the last 2-3 decades. As a result, they often operate under different perspectives than older workers do. Companies across North America that recognize that the differentiator is their people will emerge as winners in the battle for talent. They’ll design specific techniques for recruiting, managing, motivating, and retaining them.

A notable demographic shift will begin to occur in 2011 when the oldest Baby Boomers (b. 1946) hit the United States’ legal retirement age of 65. As Boomers begin retiring, members of Generation X will take roles in middle and upper management. Millennials will take positions in the workforce. This process has already begun since some members of Millennials in their late 20s.

Other scenarios that will become commonplace will include

  • Experienced Boomers reporting to Millennials
  • Members of all three generations working side-by-side on teams
  • Millennials calling on Gen X clients

And, all this is going to happen while three generations continue the process of finding a way to get along in an uncertain workplace.

This is made all the more interesting given the gap between these two generations: Gen Xers complain that the Millennials are indulged, self-absorbed and overly optimistic, while Millennials charge that Gen Xers are cynical, aloof and don’t appreciate fresh ideas and idealism….”

More at WikiCFO.com

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