Dedicated to Differences

by Gordon Krater on October 6, 2014

Recently, I was interviewed by Inside Public Accounting for an article the publication is writing on women in leadership. The discussion touched on a variety of diversity topics, and at one point, the reporter commented on the lack of diversity she sees each year when it comes to partner promotions within the accounting profession. “It’s a sea of pale and male,” she said.

Since forming our Diversity Council in 2003, Plante Moran has been very intentional to address that issue at our firm in order to recruit, retain, and develop a more diverse staff. Why? One of our managers, Alisha Davis, put it best in this recent Crain’s Detroit Business article: “Plante Moran studied its existing and prospective markets and saw that businesses owned by minorities and women were growing at far faster rates than businesses in general. This added urgency for the company to improve its diversity mix.”

“People really want to do business with people who understand them, understand their culture, and understand their language,” she continued. “We have to get this right, or else we’re going to lose our competitive advantage.”

I couldn’t agree more. A diverse workforce makes good business sense, and it does have an impact on the bottom line (in addition to being the right thing to do). Those organizations that embrace diversity will benefit from more diverse thinking, better retention of top talent, and a wider, more diverse, client base. According to the Census Bureau, by 2043, there will be no single majority group in the country. Firms that see the business case, embrace diversity now, and get it right will have a significant advantage in the coming years. Those that don’t will be on the sidelines wondering what went wrong.

What about you? What are you doing to increase diversity within your workforce?


Papal Advice: 10 Tips for Becoming a Happier Person

by Gordon Krater on September 22, 2014

Over the weekend, I saw an article called “10 Tips for Becoming a Happier Person.” It typically wouldn’t have gotten my attention—there’s a lot of “noise” out there—but this particular list was developed by Pope Francis, so I was curious.

As I read it, I found myself nodding in agreement with the tips which included “Live and let live” and “Don’t proselytize; respect others’ beliefs.” But the two that resonated most were as follows:

  1. Stop being negative.
  2. Be giving of yourself to others.

Stop Being Negative
There are few things worse than negativity. It can be damaging at work and in life. The Pope says, “Letting go of negative things quickly is healthy,” and he’s right. Dwelling on the negative can be incapacitating and contagious.

It reminds me of an article Plante Moran Partner Steve Gravenkemper wrote recently about “the power of yes, and….” The gist in this: when you’re having a dialogue with another person and you say, “yes, but…,” you’re shutting down dialogue while trying to impose your “right” idea. But when you say, “Yes, and…,” it encourages camaraderie, creativity, and knowledge-building. It’s another example of the power of positivity versus negativity.

Be Giving of Yourself to Others
When I think about this tip, I think about Plante Moran’s mentoring program. We have a tradition where partners mentor and develop other partners and staff to succeed at Plante Moran and out in the community. Time and again, we give time that we may well prefer to spend on other endeavors to help our colleagues and ensure they develop into successful professionals. Whether in business or in our personal lives, the most precious gift we can give others is our time.

Although this isn’t my typical reading material, I’m glad I came across it. In a world where seemingly every article is promoting fear, uncertainty, and doubt, it’s nice to have something positive to share.

How about you? What did you think of Pope Francis’s tips for a happier life? Any others you’d like to share?


So You Want to Be a PMer…

September 2, 2014

Over the past year, Plante Moran has received a mind-boggling number of resumes—more than 26,000! As campus recruiting season heats up, I thought I’d take a few minutes and discuss what we look for in Plante Moran staff and how candidates can stand out from the crowd. First, we look for well-rounded people with strong […]

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Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

August 18, 2014

Each year, Plante Moran holds a creativity contest to determine which of our offices came up with the most fun/unique way to raise money or volunteer time for Plante Moran Cares, our firm’s charitable effort.  The winning office receives an additional $5,000 donation to the organization it supports. The winner this year is East Lansing, […]

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Women in Leadership at Plante Moran (Guest Blog Featuring Sue Perlin)

August 4, 2014

While Gordon is on sabbatical, he has invited Sue Perlin, a partner specializing in serving many of the firm’s significant foundation and cultural institution audit clients, to fill in as a guest blogger. Sue is known for her active involvement in the attraction and retention of women leaders at the firm and is currently leading […]

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Plante Moran’s Firm Conference Is Chockfull of “Little Wows” (Guest Blog Featuring Jim Proppe)

July 21, 2014

While Gordon is on sabbatical, he’s invited Jim Proppe, a member of Plante Moran’s six-person management team, to fill in as a guest blogger. In his role as Group Managing Partner, Jim leads client service, growth, and people development for the firm’s industry-focused practice areas. Each year, we invite our 2,000+ staff (the entire firm!) […]

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Four Uninterrupted Weeks Off. At Plante Moran, We Call That a “Sabbatical.”

July 8, 2014

For more than a decade, the firm has had a sabbatical program that requires all partners to take a mandatory four consecutive weeks’ leave every seven years. Although we have a generous paid-time-off policy at the firm, some partners use it more than others; the sabbatical program requires all partners to disconnect completely so that we may […]

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Can Company Culture Hamper Innovation? We’re Surveying Leaders to Find Out!

June 16, 2014

I once read that the most dangerous phrase in business is, “We’ve always done it that way.” And it’s true. Certainly, there’s comfort in routine, but there’s a reason we’re always trying to challenge people to “step outside of their comfort zones”—because if you’re not changing, you’re stagnating. For the past three years, Plante Moran […]

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Are You Measuring the Right Things?

June 2, 2014

Modern business literature emphasizes the importance of measurements and accountability in business. That’s all well and good—I’d never argue against measuring the right things—but it’s important to be cautious about what we measure. The wrong metrics can drive undesired behaviors just as the right ones can effect positive change. This is often referred to as […]

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Candor Is Kindness

May 19, 2014

Candor Is Kindness Although tax season ended April 15th, the firm is in the midst of another “busy season”: performance management. Over the next month, staff will be evaluating themselves on how successful they’ve been in the past 12 months and setting their goals for the upcoming performance year. They’ll then discuss those performances and […]

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