Vision & Purpose

Engage. Inspire. Transform.

Creating Change: Engagement is hearts & minds work

Creating change?

Change means people do different things or at least do things differently. When you aspire to create any significant change in your organization, it’s important to resonate with people at the deepest level: beliefs. That’s because people seldom change a behavior until they change a belief.

Individual belief change is business isn’t as simple as “I believe I’d like to make more money.” (HA! If only it were this easy.)

Did you know only a small percentage of people—even CPAs—are dollar driven? It’s harder to motivate with money if they already make “enough” to be comfortable. A savvy CEO once said, “It’s pretty hard to get people to listen when they have hundred dollar bills stuffed in their ears.” Complacency is a common affliction in CPA firms.

So what does work?

Rather than being money driven, most people are purpose driven. With new or clearer evidence as to how their purpose could be further achieved, peoples’ beliefs begin to shift enough for their actions to change.

Belief changes come down to each person seeing a familiar thing in a new way.

And this is where Michelle excels. She helps people explore new perspectives, identify and safely challenge assumptions, and then opens participants’ minds to new ideas. She organizes each meeting’s flow to move people from mind to heart and back to mind such that they’re ready—eager even—to try things that they weren’t open to doing before.

Your session

Michelle works closely with you to create a session that gets results. Her warmth and sensibility put your group at ease. She can help through routine or revolutionary initiatives, highly polarizing subjects, difficult personalities, and can usually help move even the most stubborn “change avoiders” to action.

Finding Your Firm's Why

Michelle enjoys leading firms to arrive at a common Purpose or “WHY.” This is useful foundational work before embarking on large-scale change or prior to strategic planning.

With business gurus advising that we need separate statements for our missions and visions and values, you may wonder, is it redundant to also create a purpose statement?

Simon Sinek probably answers this question best in his exceptional 18-minute TED talk, “How Great Leaders Inspire Action.” Simon conveys the significance of the relationship between purpose and engagement, explaining that the greatest successes (external and internal) come when people feel an emotional connection with an organization’s purpose.

Where does a purpose statement fit in?

Your vision is what your firm aspires to be, years down the road—your lofty goals—often size, location, market position, or product mix. Your mission tells others what your business is and how you go about what you do. Your values describe your culture and how you conduct yourself.

But your organization’s purpose is bigger and it’s in the present. When you work within an organization, your organization can be aligned through the collective purpose or WHY of its people.

The unifying purpose is most impactful when shared by employees, leaders and customers.

A WHY workshop

Michelle developed a creative and effective process through which she brings people together to first explore their “personal whys” before even thinking about the firm’s “why.” This step is essential for their authentic, collective “why” to emerge—and the bonding that results is valuable, too. Without this step, purpose statements can feel manufactured or scripted and miss the mark, failing to resonate with others.

The result of Michelle’s two-step approach is a unique, heartfelt firm-level purpose statement that’s based in truth and surfaces naturally from the “souls” of the people who participate in this process. It’s ultimate engagement.

Whether your business is facing major transformation, or you just want it to feel more cohesive to improve culture, consider hosting a purpose-defining leadership retreat.

“Michelle helped us define our firm’s purpose as part of our strategic planning process. Starting with our individual “why” statements, we built on them to craft our firm purpose based on truth and personal motivations. We were finally aligned and working as a team toward the same outcomes.

Coming into the process, I thought it would be a challenge getting us on the same page, but as a professional facilitator, Michelle was able to unite a diverse management group of 50 individuals to arrive at an outcome we were all proud of.

I highly recommend Michelle if your firm is looking for a facilitator who knows how to bring the best out of people.”

Eric Majchrzak

CEO, BeachFleischman PC

“Our firm had the pleasure of working with Michelle on finding our ‘why?’ and creating a purpose statement.

She is an excellent facilitator and very knowledgeable. Her skills and expertise helped us collaborate to connect and align what matters to us individually with ‘why we do what we do’ together as an organization.”

Mark Stebbins

Director, Freed Maxick CPAs, PC

How "Purpose" Helps

Each firm seems to have a slightly different reason for pursuing this experience. Here are some scenarios:

Business Model Transformation

Countless firms are embarking on business model changes that involve revenue models, service-delivery models, and intense specialization. These firms know they are asking a LOT of their people who are also saturated with work from growing capacity challenges. Asking people to put energy into changing the WAY they do things as they also do MORE things, takes huge buy-in that is only fully achieved through belief changes (above) followed by realistic planning then solid education.

Merger Integration

Firms who merge don’t always find enough ways for cross-office partners and managers to bond through leadership. Using a process like this enables people to work together, at a high level, without bringing insecurities and turf issues. They collaborate in a powerful way, and build trust. Participants find commonalities and learn more about each other, deepening their relationships and respect for one another.

Succession Ahead

Savvy senior leaders know it’s wise to engage emerging leaders in shaping their firm’s future direction. It might be premature for up-and-comers to join the board or sign off on overall strategic direction. But inviting future leaders into the process of discovering the firm’s purpose creates a healthy blend of generational perspectives. It brings a balance of tradition and founder values, with the current business environment, and insights about what our younger people, who are new community and family leaders, most value. The synergies that emerge from so many differing mindsets creates mutual respect and appreciation that improves working relationships.

Curb Dissent

We hear all the time how “alignment” makes or breaks a firm’s success, yet thousands of firms seem to survive without alignment. But they aren’t the best places to work, and they repel the best talent. Signs of misalignment are behaviors that disrupt and undermine progress. Before dysfunction drives away good team members and customers, get those influencers—overt and covert—on the same page. In this process, historic naysayers have a chance to be heard and to see where they do agree so the firm can leverages their influence in positive ways. Having a clear and concise purpose strengthens the business, feeds planning, and reassures the team.


Purpose feeds strategy. And strategy needs true buy-in to become reality.

Are you ready to engage hearts and minds in your business purpose?

Ready for New Results?

PO Box 410
Island Park, ID 83429