Management Lessons Learned from Buddha

I was reading a recent article in Financial Times on April 2 regarding a Tokyo monk who traveled to India for a business school education that ironically made me think of accounting marketing!  The monk, Keisuke Matsumoto, believed that he could learn the important skills he needed regarding management and marketing to improve his Temple from an MBA program. This  reminded me that it doesn't matter what business you are in,  leadership skills and business strengths are essential for success, from nonprofits to CPA firms to retail organizations.

As CPAs, you, too, can learn the lessons that  helped Mr. Matsumoto excel. What he took away from the business school program was the ability to think outside in instead of inside out. in other words,put the client first.  In marketing communications and client service delivery, this is a critically important approach. While we have a tendency to see things through our own lens and with our own perspective, it is more important to hear the client and react to what they perceive rather than what we see as important. It is as simple as asking people what they want - and then adjusting your delivery to meet their needs. According to the author of this FT interview, Michiyo Nakamoto, Buddha says teach according to a student's ability to understand.  This can be easily embraced by your firm's marketing proferssional to help you reach out to clients and communicate with them based on their focus. Marketing and branding need not be a one-way  blitz to convince your audience of your value, but rather, when done well, it is a two-way channel that enables your brand to meet the needs and values of your target market. Self-awareness and awareness of others create a great foundation for any marketing plan, whether it is for a Japanese Buddhist Temple or a local CPA firm!

Good luck.

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Sally Glick, CMO, Principal, Marketer of the Year in 2003 and AAM Hall of Famer in 2007, will lead a lively discussion of the constantly expanding roles of marketing and the professional marketers that drive this initiative in accounting firms of all sizes.

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