Learning, Adapting, and Growing: Leadership Perspectives

Leading and Adapting Through Crisis

When the COVID-19 pandemic first began, Jason Chong and his IT team were on the frontlines of establishing cybersecurity protocols for the firm and ensuring everyone could work from home in the new remote environment. The smoothness of the remote transition, and the IT team’s high-quality service year-round in helping our professionals handle unforeseen technical issues, resulted in them winning the Clark Nuber Values Award in 2020.

We recently sat down to talk with Jason about what the last couple years have been like for him and his team, how they worked together to overcome remote hurdles, and how he helped lead Clark Nuber through the global crisis.

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What I’ve Learned from Failure

“Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.” – Henry Ford

Failure gets a bad rap. To many, it’s a loaded word, packed with a negative connotation. Failure means something we wanted to happen didn’t, and all we’re left with are feelings of disappointment and self-doubt.

However, if we stop processing failure at that point, we do ourselves a disservice. Beyond the disappointment and doubt, there is an opportunity for reflection, learning, and growth. History has incredible examples of growth from failure, and yet the default negativity stubbornly remains.

Clark Nuber has many successes to celebrate over our nearly 70 years in business,

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Leading in a Rapid Growth Environment

Leadership today is being redefined by the forces present in a fast-paced market. Changes brought on by unexpected economic trends, rapid technological adaptions, increased security threats, and a global pandemic have made us all rethink modern leadership models. This is especially true for leaders catalyzing rapid growth.

We (the authors) have had extensive opportunities to observe successful start-up leaders for many years. We have helped advise technology start-ups through fast paced funding cycles, complex exit events, and assisted them in navigating through periods of rapid growth.

Naturally, we have observed a broad range of leadership styles and habits. To be sure,

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For most of my adult life, I’ve committed myself to continuous improvement, whether that is personally, professionally, or in my relationships. I believe there is always an opportunity for growth or learning. And, I’m fortunate that I work in a supportive environment and have a strong social network where I can be myself and try new things. Part of this confidence comes from developing a healthy understanding of failure. I know my mistakes are part of the learning process and not punitive by leadership or my colleagues.

How do continuous improvement and growth relate to leading with purpose? For me, they are the central principles that empower me to lead with confidence and focus,

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Leading with Data

Things were simpler in times of old. Back in the pre-industrial era, the only data you needed for a profitable harvest was a ledger of your past sales and maybe a farmer’s almanac.

Today, data is everywhere. The problem isn’t how we get the information we need to make decisions, it’s how we get the right information we need, in the right format, and how to see through the clutter and white noise that surrounds everything we do.

Every day, our systems accumulate vast amounts of data without any intentional action by us. As I write this article,

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More so than any time in recent history, the COVID-19 pandemic has enabled company leaders to reflect on the notion of becoming compassionate leaders.

Sara Elizabeth Hyre, head of Clark Nuber’s Tax Department, and Tom Sulewski, head of our Audit Department, are two leaders who have overseen their service groups during a time of unprecedented change in the industry – walking a tightrope of meeting client expectations and ensuring their employees are cared for.

Here’s what these shareholders had to say about the enduring strength of compassionate leadership:

Thank you both for sitting down to talk with us today.  » Read more

Leadership Through Adversity

Creating an environment for solving difficult challenges is a prerequisite for effective leadership. Occasionally, the challenges may be positive and fun to address, such as how to best take advantage of a new market opportunity.

However, anyone in a position of leadership will face adversity sooner or later. While I would not characterize problem-solving in the face of adversity as “fun,” it is nevertheless rewarding, perhaps even more so, as the stakes are often very high.

The challenges of 2020 have taught me a great deal about leading through adversity. When faced with a major challenge, there is typically no playbook for responding to the issues that spring up with little notice.

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Becoming Leaders in Times of Change

As 2019 came to a close, Clark Nuber promoted a record five principals into the ranks of shareholder. Little did these new shareholders know what was waiting for them on the other side of the new year. We recently met with them to discuss the challenges of 2020, the unexpected opportunities of working remote, and what it was like coming into a leadership role during a once-in-a-lifetime crisis.

Interviewer: You’ve been shareholders at Clark Nuber for over a year now. Did you see yourself here when you first began?

Jennifer Mace (JM): I would say it felt like a natural progression.

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Becoming an Innovation Leader

Most of us spent 2020 experiencing upheaval like never before, both on a global scale and in our personal and professional lives. Since March 2020, the world has been in constant state of flux as we all try to get our bearings in the COVID-19 reality. To frame a terrible year in its best possible light, you could characterize this as an intense period of innovation. But is all the change we’re going through really strategic innovation? Or is it merely a knee-jerk reaction to the current moment?

I’ve spent the year watching with curiosity to see which of these new COVID-induced routines will be valuable enough to stay – the true innovations – and which are destined for the dustbin when the quarantine lifts.

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Media Contact

Melissa Takade
Director of Marketing
Clark Nuber
Phone: 425-454-4919
Contact Melissa

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