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MSM Advisors and the Four Disciplines of Execution: Identifying the Problem

MSM Advisors has been a top notch CPA firm since 1991 serving both businesses and individuals. At the same time they were serving their clients well and working as a team, they began to notice that their current ways of operating were cumbersome and needed updating.

MSM Advisors decided to get a fresh look on their systems by calling Caldwell Consulting and Training.

When I met with the partner, Mike Moffitt, I listened to how overwhelmed he and his team felt with their email inbox. Although their current system still allowed them to serve their clients and to communicate with each other, he wanted to know if there was a better way.

Mike also shared with me his desire to make use of the strengths of each of his team members by working together as a team on projects for their clients.  Without a formal project management system, the team was not always aware of each other’s projects to provide help, nor was Mike able to balance the work or track the status of projects efficiently.

MSM Advisors also noted that more of their team members were working remotely. They needed a more efficient way to communicate with all the team members since working remotely meant that they could not just walk across the office to ask a question.

The needs of MSM Advisors are similar to so many successful accounting firms, and small businesses. MSM Advisors showed wisdom by acknowledging their need for change and by enlisting the help of an outside perspective on their workflow.

Too many business owners choose to stay overwhelmed rather than change their business practices. Some don’t know how to change. Others don’t want to go through the trouble of trying to motivate their team members to change. But the businesses that are successful in the long run are those who are willing to face their need for change and to do the work to find the solution.

In my consulting work, I have found The Four Disciplines of Execution (4DX) by Chris McChesney, Sean Covey, and Jim Huling to be supremely helpful to business owners in need of change.

4DX outlines the process of choosing a goal and creating steps to achieve the goal.

Briefly, the Four Disciplines are:

  1. Focus on the Wildly Important. Sure there are a lot of things that you may want to change or improve in your company. But if you try to focus on all of them at once, nothing will get done. Instead, focus on one (or two at the most) Wildly Important Goals.
  2. Act on the Lead Measures. Your team’s to-do list will be made up of specific, measurable actions that will make the Wildly Important Goal happen.
  3. Keep a Compelling Scoreboard. Motivate your team members to act on the lead measures by posting the score for all to see. This scoreboard is not for one team member to be in competition with another, but for the team as a whole to keep track of how they are achieving the lead measure.
  4. Create a Cadence of Accountability. Hold short weekly meetings with members of the team to motivate the members to be working on the lead measures. Celebrate the successes! Brainstorm together when there is a new idea needed for making the lead measures happen.

As I thought about the needs of MSM Advisors and the 4DX plan, the solution for their management goals became clear. Read our next blog, coming soon, to find out more.


Carla Caldwell is the owner of Caldwell Consulting & Training.  Carla works with business owners (especially non-profits) to bridge the gap between growing business and specific accounting solutions.

She also helps accounting and bookkeeping firms implement the tools that help them to be more successful- from value pricing to process development to the apps that support their systems.  Learn why companies are utilizing Caldwell Consulting & Training, to get better organized, more efficient systems and stronger results.

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