Deeper Weekend 2014

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REFM -  Adrian Photo Square - CATOBIt’s right before tax season, and I’m sitting here at a table in my office’s front room, typing away on my laptop. This moment has significance.

We moved into this office space in February 2012, right as tax season started that year. It came after an unexpected offer to change suites at our office park to a ground floor spot. It’s not a big space, ­­1100 square feet +/­. But I got to design the floor plan and had been working with the contractors on build­out, colors, flooring, network placement, etc. There was a concept then for how we wanted to decorate the front room, but we had to settle for the basics at the time so we could go full swing into tax season.

And now it’s three years later. And we’ve decorated the front room to welcome our customers into a relaxing coffee shop ­style feel that was its original plan. And I’m sitting at a pub­style table here.

The future takes time.

This quote from Reid Hoffman I think is critical for those of us out there trying to do something new:

“Innovation comes from long ­term thinking and iterative execution.”

It makes me think a little about How Not to be Strategic, Strategically. There I talked about how as entrepreneurs, we do our best to see as far out into the future as we can, then we look as near as we can in front of our own two feet, choose our next best step, and take it. Then we do it again.

The future takes time.

In the meantime, it’s important to keep the proper psychology about you. Last week I was reading a mini­book by Strategic Coach founder, Dan Sullivan, entitled Learning How to Avoid the Gap. In it, he lays out an important lesson for entrepreneurs – that while looking into the future is a powerful tool for helping us create something new, we need to measure our success at each new step by comparing it to the step before, not the ideal out on the ever­-advancing horizon. One leads to happiness, and the other to unhappiness. I highly recommend picking up the book.

In my Evernote app, I have a note where I’ve written out what I want my firm to look like – how the customers experience it, how our team experiences it, how I experience it. Over the years, as that picture comes into clearer and clearer focus, I edit and update the note. One of the things I’ve learned is that having mental clarity of a future subconsciously pulls you in that direction. So I attempt to bring that picture into focus as best I can as I go along, then leave it alone again when it doesn’t want to get any clearer, to revisit at a later time.

What I think I’m going to start doing periodically (perhaps annually) is writing what my firm currently looks like – how the customers are currently experiencing it, how our team is currently experiencing it, and how I am currently experiencing it. But then instead of comparing it to my ideal, I’m going to compare it to the notes I made the year before. And I’m going to celebrate the movement, thank those around me, and be grateful for the blessings of my present.

The future takes time.

And now for a twist: Isn’t this a type of “accounting”, a type of accounting that would also be helpful to our customers? We do a form of this when we help them track their actual numbers and develop their target numbers – we help them compare today’s actuals to last year’s actuals. And we help them develop their target to move towards based on the ideal out on the horizon. How about narratives that accomplish the same thing?

The future takes time.


Adrian G. Simmons is a CPA innovating ways to put money in its place. After working as an auditor out of college for KPMG, he joined his father in public practice in 2002, and now acts as the Chief Creative Designer there. With the team, he looks for ways to help their customers become financially strong, so that they can focus on what truly matters in life. Adrian likes tech, uses a fountain pen, successfully attempted a half-marathon (and may try another), and prefers dark over milk chocolate.

Other Thoughts, Strategy
  • On 02-04-2015 at 3:06 pm, Melinda Guillemette said:

    Adrian, this is SO good. I particularly love comparing experiences of clients, team members, and yourself to where they all were a year before. This effort requires effective and consistent communication with each group; in my view, that can only be a good thing. You never know what you’ll discover.

    • On 02-06-2015 at 3:29 pm, Adrian G. Simmons said:

      Hi Melinda! — thanks for your comment, and agree: effective and consistent communication is *so* key! Have a great weekend!

  • On 02-08-2015 at 10:09 pm, Jason Blumer said:

    Yes, I like this a lot Adrian! You always bring us back to being introspective instead of comparing ourselves to the commoditized masses.

    Thank you.


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