I’ve done a lot of writing about how to do the work of Strategic Advising, but in this post I want to emphasize how it should feel. The question is this: Are you happy at work? Do you find satisfaction in your work days? Are you sure?
The need to feel satisfied in our work is very important. It underlies performance on a fundamental level. It’s so important that U.S. companies spend billions of dollars each year on programs to help their employees find happiness in the workplace—a market creatively called employee engagement.
What does it mean to be engaged at work?
Gallup measures employee engagement by three factors:
- Your opportunity to do what you believe is best
- Having someone at work who encourages you
- Believing your opinions count
Gallup measures employee engagement in the U.S. yearly, and by the looks of their report, Americans are surprisingly unengaged. To be specific, 68 percent of American workers show a lack of engagement! How sad, when we consider the amount of our lives spent at work—and especially sad since the level of employee engagement directly correlates to the success of a business.
For myself, it’s simple. I am happy at work when I feel I’ve contributed directly to the success of the company. Goal setting and meeting those goals is how I measure my happiness. You know that feeling of setting a goal, developing a plan, and then eventually reaching it? I love that feeling!
Now, imagine doing this with a client. There’s nothing more rewarding in business than in helping your own company or a client succeed. The joy that comes from a collaborative process and the implementation of shared goals is bar none.
It makes sense, really. Human beings, unlike other species, are geared at a primordial level to feel what another person feels. Empathy. I have the ability to feel what you feel, therefore we are at our best when we are working together. It’s a common thought that competition is what propels us forward, but there’s a growing body of evidence suggesting that empathy is what really moves us ahead, by bringing people together.
Happiness and Strategic Advising
So, now, imagine you not only meet your own goals at work, but you help other companies meet their goals. And not only that, but your opinions count, you feel encouraged by others, and you have the freedom to do what you feel is best. That is the work of Strategic Advising! And it’s why I love it so much.
Strategic Advising services can not only transform your practice, but they can fulfill and enrich your professional life.
Let’s explore how:
The essence of Strategic Advising is the ability to help your clients plan for growth, but to do that well you must employ empathy and be engaged.
There are very few things in business more engaging than collaborating with a client on their business goals and helping them put plans in place to meet those goals. Their general business goals become strategic goals when they are married to the business plan.
The empathy part is doing your best to feel what your clients feel on a monthly basis, so that you can hear their problems and help them determine what adjustments to make to stay on course. You must feel connected to your client to be successful.
Contrasting the work of advising with the more traditional compliance-based work, it is striking how little the compliance-based work allows for the overriding factors of workplace happiness: collaboration and freedom in goal setting. Compliance services are by definition about interpreting, aligning with, and reporting on predefined rules. They don’t have to do with collaborative business planning or goal setting in the holistic sense. So, not only can these services be frustrating for you, they can strain your client relationship, because they don’t allow for the collaboration that can connect you as an advisor.
Change the world!
Lucky for you, advising services are not only the place where you can be the most happy in your accounting work, they are the services projected to have the most growth in the industry in the foreseeable future.
I encourage you to take the time and mental space necessary to determine what will make you happy in your work. You owe it to yourself to ensure that all those hours spent each week are hours spent doing something you love. And, as a bonus, advising services can actually change the world, because successful small businesses are the backbone of the U.S. economy. You could actually have a direct impact on your community’s economic success! Imagine how great that would feel!
You are smart, you are industrious, and you have worked hard on your professional development. You should be happy in your work. Go get it!