I recently attended the CPA ‘The One’ conference at which Curtis Zimmerman, a best selling author and motivational speaker, was a keynote. (www.curtiszimmerman.com) Zimmerman helps plant the transformational seed for organizations by illustrating how people need to constantly learn and organizations must always be evolving if they want to beat the competition. He does this in the most unconventional but engaging way…juggling. Before becoming a motivational speaker, Zimmerman used to be a juggler himself and was an entertainer on cruise ships. He emphasized during his keynote that a person in any organization, new or tenured, first and foremost, has to say, “Yes, I am ready to learn” and “Yes, I am ready to change traditional practices.” This mindset is key. Before there is any point to teaching new skills or adopting new practices, there has to be an open mind. Without that, the exercise is pointless.
He started his presentation at the conference by asking how many people thought they were going to leave the conference being able to juggle. Nobody thought it was possible. Then he asked a member of the audience to come up on stage and taught that person how to juggle. He said, “I am not going to put all the pressure on this guy, I am going to help all of you learn how to juggle.”
There were 1200 delegates at the conference, and at the end of every row in the audience there were boxes filled with juggling balls. He asked people to stand up with three juggling balls each and then proceeded to teach everyone how to juggle. It takes about 20 minutes to get the basics. You wouldn’t be able to join a circus with only 20 minutes of training, but everyone understood the principles involved and got the knack of how to juggle on some level.
It was pretty powerful. People were saying, “Wow, I never thought that this was something I would be able to do.” No one walked into the keynote with the expectation of learning how to juggle and no one anticipated learning something like that so easily.
The point: the notion of change, the need to get better and taking action starts with a plan. Doing nothing produces exactly that – nothing. You have to start with the belief that you can make something better, and that there is a way to achieve that improvement.
I have many conversations with people dealing with accounts receivable, and it’s clear to me that they have a certain comfort from knowing that their processes have remained unchanged for decades. But being open to change is a large part of how companies achieve success. Companies have to constantly evolve and not continue with obsolete practices just because “that’s the way we have always done it.”
Part of what we do at VersaPay is to get finance departments to see the enormous opportunity that awaits them when they update their accounts receivable process and enhance their customers’ experience. As change agents, VersaPay motivates them to take the first step to change, just as Zimmerman got his audience to juggle.
The steps to learning how to juggle are quite easy, but so are the steps to dramatically improving accounts receivable. The journey is quite straightforward and easy to achieve. It begins with a belief that we should start now to improve upon the traditional AR process, and not accept the notion, “that’s how it’s always been done”. By accepting change, evolving and taking the first step to learn how to improve AR, organizations will be well on their way to beating out the competition and enhancing their customer experience.