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Management Lesson: Are you listening and ready to respond? (Indiana CPA FusionNet)

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The Indiana CPA Society has recently initiated a new project called ‘FusionNet’.  Briefly, the project brings together a cross-section of the Society’s membership to work together on better preparing the CPA profession for the future.

Members work to scan the environment, de-cluttering the noise (acting as an attenuation filter) to amplify immediate, near, mid and long-term challenges that could impact their profession.  The network has been split into groups that represent regions within the state of Indiana, so that the signals can be looked at from a local, district, state and national level – to enable this there is representation from a cross-section of firms (to encompass size, geographic location and function of the CPA role).  Findings are discussed via blogs, Twitter and a regular menu of conferences and Knowledge-Café style engagement events – the belief being that the environment is fluid and, for example, annual report writing is often anchored in an irrelevant past.

This project came about as the Society realised the need to make better sense of its environment and, perhaps more importantly, the implications of a modern complex environment upon the wider CPA profession.  FusionNet does not sit in isolation, with scaffolding being provided via three other complimentary projects that look to probe, make sense of the environment, reflect on the implications and develop responses; taking the lead to fashion a more dynamic, agile and adaptive profession.

There is a lesson here for many organisations to follow.  The environment is constantly in flux and signals (weak and strong) are constantly bombarding us.  The question is, are you listening?  If you are listening, do you have the structure to respond?  If not, are you ready to lead change?

Too often, organisations unintentionally create a walled garden, believing that the entry gate (the door or portal through which their staff enter) is a symbol of their openness.  The problem is that they are actually closed.  They are not structured to listen (internally or externally), and, as a consequence, they cannot respond.  One day, at a point where things are already critically wrong, someone peeks their head over the wall to find out that the environment has changed on the outside, that they are no longer relevant, that they are adrift and that their existence is under threat.

Organisations have to be open to the signal, they need leadership, they have to be listening and they have to be structured to respond.  You may not be, but are your competitors?

Are you listening?

So, what do you think?

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