Date posted: 1/08/2019 8 min read

Reign, fail or shine: Explore options for change

Enduring a numbing grind at work? The CA Library can help you discover if it’s you or your organisation that needs to change.

In Brief

  • In The Discomfort Zone, Farrah Storr shares how to dismantle your fears into digestible pieces that are easy to overcome.
  • Other available titles include The Value Add Accountant by Jean Cunningham, which translates lean management techniques for accountants, and How to Speak Human by Dougal and Jennifer Jackson, a practical guide to getting the best out of people.
  • All library services, excluding the cost of returning books, are free to CA ANZ members.

Reviews Alexandra Johnson

The Discomfort Zone: How to get what you want by living fearlessly

The Discomfort Zone: How to get what you want by living fearlesslyBy Farrah Storr (Piatkus)

If you were fearless, what would you be doing with yourself? What would happen if you could say ‘yes’ to things that currently make you shake in your boots?

Fear is something that has been covered by many psychologists and self-help gurus.

Now Cosmopolitan UK editor Farrah Storr takes her turn with The Discomfort Zone.

Storr assures readers that by pushing through brief moments of discomfort, you come to understand that nothing is insurmountable. She presents doable methods that break down frightening prospects, such as public speaking, into bite-sized digestible pieces that can then be conquered. Her method involves identifying the fear and then reimagining it.

Many individuals have been conditioned to fear failure and avoid it at all costs, and this attitude has only recently started to be challenged in the business world. Failure is now seen as a learning opportunity, but the reasons for failure can be complex and should be carefully analysed if much is to be gained from the experience.

Negotiating your way past a challenge can also lead to a better outcome. For example, placing restraints on a stalling project (such as fewer staff or a tight deadline) can ignite a more creative mindset and make you think outside the square.

Storr reminds readers that being comfortable with failure lets you push the boundaries of possibility, and that much of what you do or say each day goes unnoticed as everyone is so wrapped up in themselves. She invites you to cut yourself some slack and find freedom from fear. The Discomfort Zone will encourage anyone to push themselves into the limelight and thrive.

The Supernova Multiplier: 7 strategies for financial advisors to grow their practices

The Supernova Multiplier: 7 strategies for financial advisors to grow their practicesBy Rod Knapp (Wiley)

Eleven years ago, Rod Knapp’s bestselling The Supernova Advisor offered financial advisory firms a framework to structure a practice around high-value activity. Key to the strategy is the 80/20 rule, acknowledging that 80% of your business comes from just 20% of your clients. 

While many practices benefited from his Supernova framework, recently Knapp had a sobering realisation that some were failing to maintain growth. His latest book looks in-depth at what’s needed to troubleshoot issues and propel practices to new heights.

Recent CA ANZ surveys confirm that teaming new technology with traditional values such as face-to-face contact is a proven way to improve trust. This is also pivotal in the Supernova strategy, which recommends an accountant not try to service any more than 100 clients as a way to maintain the quality of service and a predictable schedule of meaningful contact.

Each strategy is addressed in a single chapter and includes checklists to follow as you go from one stage to the next. It encourages advisers to build rituals and accountability tools into a practice to maintain impetus, identify performance gaps and ditch activities that offer little value.

The Value Add Accountant: An indispensable partner supporting strategic improvement efforts

The Value Add Accountant: An indispensable partner supporting strategic improvement effortsBy Jean Cunningham (JCC Press)

Jean Cunningham has been applying ‘lean’ management techniques to businesses since the early 1990s and pioneered lean management in accounting. She is now executive chairman of the non-profit Lean Enterprise Institute.

Adopting lean strategies, she says, does not simply involve cutting waste and costs, as many accountants believe. Instead, lean management offers techniques to impact every business function.

Cunningham provides strategies and tools that accountants can use to drive constant improvement both inside and outside the finance area. And although The Value Add Accountant draws from lean strategies, many of its methods can be used in isolation.

For example, Cunningham is a strong proponent of Kaizen events (a tool used in lean management). These are typically week-long projects where a work team, with the help of a facilitator, analyses and then improves business practices in a specific area to reach a particular goal.

What does this look like in the real world? Cunningham includes case studies where month’s end processes have been slashed, accuracy improved, collaboration boosted and redundant bookkeeping dispensed with. She also offers key questions to help finance teams revolutionise the way they go about their work.

The Genius Habit: How one habit can radically change your life and your work

The Genius Habit: How one habit can radically change your life and your work By Laura Garnett (Sourcebooks)

What are the specific behaviours that help people succeed at a high level in their careers? Laura Garnett brings together inspiring stories, research and tools to help boost your career, bring fresh energy to your work and increase personal fulfilment.

Scaling Your Startup: Mastering the four stages from idea to $10 billion

Scaling Your Startup: Mastering the four stages from idea to $10 billion

By Peter S. Cohan (Apress)

CEOs must reinvent a company as it grows by finding new avenues of revenue and transforming practices, processes and workplace culture. Peter Cohan presents strategies that show how to anticipate and respond to the growth of a business.

Women Kind: Unlocking the power of women supporting women

Women Kind: Unlocking the power of women supporting womenBy Kirstin Ferguson and Catherine Fox (Murdoch Books)

The collective clout of women is transforming work, leadership and society. Women Kind celebrates the power of women, challenges the idea that women turn on each other to gain advantage, and looks at gender inequality.

How to Speak Human: A practical guide to getting the best from the humans you work with

How to Speak Human: A practical guide to getting the best from the humans you work withBy Dougal and Jennifer Jackson (Wiley)

Communication challenges abound in the workplace. This practical guide provides 11 strategies for leaders to unleash the power of carefully chosen words. It draws on real-world examples to illustrate the effective use of each strategy.

Listen

How to get clients to follow your advice

By Courtney Vien and Moira Somers, Journal of Accountancy

(Run time 22 mins)

Courtney Vien interviews neuropsychologist Moira Somers on how financial advisers can deliver information in a way clients will actually act on it. She looks at the biggest mistakes advisers make and lists the questions they should ask to ensure clients are on board.

Watch

Learn Excel from Mr Excel

By Bill Jelen

Want to excel at Excel? Watch these two-minute videos on the tricks and quirks of Excel from Bill Jelen, with a new tip each day.

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