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Two critical dimensions of Corporate Culture - part 2
4/13/2014

The second recently defined cultural dimension is “Tolerance for Uncertainty.” This dimension is arranged from “Uncertainty” to “Minimized Uncertainty.” Though perhaps less obvious than “Dress Code,” this Cultural Dimension defines the cultural tolerance for risk within an organization.

An organization with a strong scoring around “Uncertainty” does not fear risk – and probably thrives on it. Few rules and regulations probably exist and attendance may be mandatory. Often times, organizations with very high degrees of uncertainty are start-ups or straight commission sales organizations.

On the other side of the continuum is the “Minimized Uncertainty” organization. Here, the organization is fanatical about removing all elements of uncertainty. Organizations that have multiple levels of cross-training, that never have enough data with which to make a decision, or that spends countless hours managing minor projects, score strongly towards the “Minimized Uncertainty” side of the continuum.

Note that the two sides of the number line are “Uncertainty” vs. “Minimized Uncertainty.” At one point I thought they were “Uncertainty” and “Certainty,” but the fact that business is about dealing with uncertainty led this categorizing to be unclear. People seem to more quickly identify with “Minimized Uncertainty.”

If you are interested in the new Cultural Score Card, please contact us. The original copy is still available here.

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a negative hiring trend for 2014
2/28/2014

In a previous blog I wrote about three positive 2014 hiring trends. For the sake of balance, in this blog I'll explore the other end of the spectrum -- a negative trend. Without putting on rose colored glasses I will close this writing on a positive note (for I think this trend comes with a silver lining).

The negative hiring trend that I will focus on concerns the experienced CFO -- the CFO that has, "been there and done that." This individual has held the title of CFO and has earned between $150,000 and $250,000, but is currently unemployed.

Here is a true-life example of one of these CFOs. This individual ran a beautiful career. They started in the Big 4 -- went to work for one of his clients, and grew from auditor to North American CFO over a 20 year span. Unfortunately the company was in an industry highly damaged by the recession. At one point U.S. business was down 90%!

The company could not keep the North American CFO and moved the responsibilities to the parent company's location over-seas. This left an outstanding CFO unemployed in an industry that was far from thriving.

He would like nothing more than to move back into a CFO role. There is little doubt that he would be exceptional in a new industry. But there are several issues keeping him from re-emerging in that role. First, there is a lack of movement at the CFO level (CFOs are not changing jobs and few companies are making decisions to replace their sitting CFO). It is hard to get a CFO job when the CFO jobs are few and far between.

Second, there is a perception that hiring an unemployed person is risky. I know this sounds ridiculous, but it is very much a reality. Many companies are concerned about unemployment gaps.

Third, companies are still concerned about cash. Even when a CFO states that they will take less money, companies are concerned that this is only a temporary fix -- once the market turns around the hired employee will bolt to a higher paying job. They are extremely reluctant to take this risk. Therefore, the strong trend is to hire an "up and comer" -- a person without experience that could grow into the role. [Whether this is a good hiring strategy is the source of another blog].

This leads to a very frustrating market for the unemployed CFO. Unfortunately I have never seen a market that is tougher on this experienced executive.

But here is my positive take on things -- since the economy is improving, these CFO candidates are in a very short line for future employment. True, companies are still at a cross roads -- unsure on whether to hire (especially for an upper level position). The problem is that there is not enough talent to go around.

The market itself is creating an environment that demands business owners, or anyone that wants to get work done, to look to creative resources. I believe this will be (in part) in the utilization of the "over qualified" CFO.

After all, this is a resource that can step in and provide great value for a company. Yes -- there will be issues to confront regarding salary, flexibility, position in the company, and tenure, but those are things that intelligent companies can work through. By accessing these highly experienced CFOs the savvy companies will be able to better position themselves in this upswing market.

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aria says:
3/1/2014
William Adermeyer, CPA says:
2/28/2014
russ@russ says:
2/28/2014
Holly says:
2/28/2014
Kent McNabb says:
2/28/2014
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What does finishing have to do with marshmallows?
2/27/2014

If you had $10,000 and you could invest that money in someone's future, who would you bet on? On what would you base your decision? Conor Neill from IESE Business School asks these questions and answers them with three criteria from Warren Buffett in this excellent TEDx video: The Discipline of Finishing: Conor Neill at TEDxTalks.

At almost 24 minutes, this is a bit long. But, in the end Conor Neill brings it all together and makes an excellent point. It was worth 24 minutes of my life.

From a hiring perspective, I also find Conor's points worth considering. True -- he is in the end encouraging us towards self reflection; however, the points clearly transfer to the hiring process.

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jblock says:
2/27/2014
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Bill Harshman on New IRS Property Regulations
2/26/2014

Today we continued our Free CPE program with Bill Harshman of Harshman & Phillips CPA. Bill presented on A Controller's and Business Owner's Guide to the New IRS Tangible Property Regulations, also known as Repair Regulations. We were excited to have Bill discussing the best way to navigate the new IRS rules.

If you are unfamiliar with Bill, he is a 30+ year CPA. He co-founded Harshman Phillips & Company (HPC) in 1992. Prior to HPC, Bill was the Partner-In-Charge of the Atlanta Tax Department of Arthur Young & Company and a Tax Partner with Ernst & Young. Bill specializes in working with entrepreneurial and closely-held companies in the manufacturing, software, distribution, and food service industries.

Bill did a great job making a dull (but incredibly important) topic interesting. He did so by weaving through real life examples and experiences. Bill has a unique sense of humor and he used that as well throughout the presentation.

If you are interested in information on future CPE's, please reach out to Brent Harris at brentharris@accountantsone.com. We try to do at least one session a quarter.

If you are interested in learning more about Harshman Phillips, contact Bill at wharshman@hpccpa.com.

 

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2/27/2014
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Dilbert's take on corporate culture
2/24/2014
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1/4/2015
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Thomas Friedman on "how to get a job at google."
2/23/2014

Thomas Friedman hits a home run here.

Ostensibly this is a New York Times article on getting a job at Google, but so much more -- including the importance of corporate culture and a misguided focus on education.

Hope you enjoy the read!

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Dylan says:
3/2/2014
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