Lessons from Future Business Leaders

Do you want to know what’s on the minds of our future business leaders?

This past weekend, I attended the JDC West university business case competition hosted by the Hill School of Business at the University of Regina. My role was to spend time at the Certified Management Consultant’s (CMC) booth and explain the CMC designation benefits to students.

Their questions showed they were thinking about the future, including:

  • next steps in their careers;
  • what management areas are growing; and
  • how to contribute in the real world.

Here are a sample of their great questions and my responses.

My Future

A young lady with a great brain for numbers asked, “Should I pursue the Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) designation or the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation?”

I offered her some advice on how to pursue her talents and dreams, as the future is unknown, and that she will keep herself positioned well by continually learning.

Continual learning is the best path to a productive and engaging career.

⇒ How are your employees using their talent and skills to help you build a better business?

Management Information

A mature student who is already pursuing his CPA designation wanted to know, “How can I make an impact as a manager working in a company? I know the CPA is focused on external financial reporting for bankers and investors. I want to help management make better decisions.”

We discussed how many companies run their businesses solely from their monthly financial statements, and lack important transaction, costing, sales, production, and customer information. Management needs real time information on sales, production, and cash so they can make better decisions, faster.

Businesses need managers who can understand the multiple management areas beyond their specific area of expertise and how all the pieces fit together.

⇒ What types of information is your management team missing so they can make better decisions and generate better results?

Skills: Depth and Breadth

The most common questions were along the line of, “How do I enhance my education and career?”

To this, I reflected on my own career of starting in accounting as a CPA, then broadening to marketing and strategy as an MBA. My advice was to focus on developing the skills you have and then acquire new skills in other management areas.

For example, and according to my daughter, a football fanatic, here is a football analogy. If a football team has several great receivers and an excellent quarterback, but the offensive line cannot protect the quarterback and give him sufficient time to make plays, the team will lose. Your management team needs to be like a strong offensive line and protect the entire company so it can perform and win.

Management is a team sport and needs a variety of skilled players to generate success.

⇒ What are your team’s strengths and who do you need to contribute missing breadth and expertise on your management team?

Presenting A New Offering: Management Training

In response to client requests for time and cost-effective ways to strengthen their management teams, I’m now offering formal management training programs in the areas of:

  • Company Performance Improvement– this includes development and analysis of metrics such as Flash reports, financial statement analysis, cash flows, costing, pricing, margins, budgets, and performance measurement.
  • Strategic Growth – this includes growing revenues, profits, valuation, market share, competitor positioning, value proposition, creating a distinct sustainable competitive advantage, metrics to monitor growth, training in my proprietary Strategy Wheel™, and strategies to enhance growth.

These courses are customized for your management team and your business. These courses may qualify for partial government funding. If you’d like more information on how your managers can learn—and implement—growth strategies and improve company performance, call me. To see how you can qualify for government funding to train your employees, check out the website link or call me.

Helping Clients

The most direct question from the students was, “How do you get clients?”

My business development approach is simple: I proactively provide value and treat my prospects as if they are already clients. My role isn’t to sell to people, it’s to help people, as I’ve learned from my mentor, Alan Weiss.

Proactively helping your clients is the most effective method of selling.

For more information on the power of giving and being proactive, see Adam Grant’s excellent book, Give and Take.

⇒ How are you proactively helping your existing clients and customers?

Working for Small/Medium Enterprises (SMEs)

In conclusion, I encouraged all the students I spoke with to consider gaining experience and working for privately-held small and medium enterprises. SMEs will expose them to the entire business. They’ll be able to use all their business education to help analyze, make decisions, and improve results.

Their questions, energy, and enthusiasm were awesome. Our management futures are in good hands.

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