Ep. 165: David Wray and Lynda Kitamura - Talent Development and Learning

David Wray, President of the DFCG International Group and Author, and Lynda Hawton Kitamura, Chief Financial Officer of Electronic Products Recycling Association (EPRA) and Chair at the Board of Governors at Wilfrid Laurier University, join Count Me In to talk about a better way to learn the critical personal and business skills accounting and finance professionals need. A Harvard Business Review study concluded that the more than $357 billion spent annually on Learning & Development did not achieve the desired return on investment as only 1 in 10 use the learned skills and 1 in 4 believe training improved their performance. David and Lynda each discuss traditional learning approaches, what they have experienced to improve on traditional learning approaches, and what skills management accountants should focus on to accelerate their learning and talent development to future themselves. Download and listen now!
Contact David Wray: https://www.linkedin.com/in/david-w-29627882/
Contact Lyna Kitamura: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lyndahawtonkitamura/

FULL EPISODE TRANSCRIPT:
Mitch: (00:05)
 Welcome back to Count Me In, IMA's podcast about all things affecting the accounting and finance world. This is your host Mitch Roshong. And today you'll be listening to episode 165 of our series. A Harvard Business Review study concluded that more than 357 billion dollars spent annually on learning and development did not achieve the desired return on investment. It turns out that only one in 10 used the learn skills and only one in four believe training actually improved their performance. So we must ask, is there a better way to learn the critical, personal and business skills we need? Fortunately, for today's episode, you will hear from Lynda Kitamura, a seasoned Chief Financial Officer with a background that covers multinational to startup. We will also hear from David Wray, the author of the Power of Potential, and the President of the International Group of the French CFO network, DF CG. They spoke with Adam about their view on what accounting professionals can do to accelerate the transition to effective continuous learning. A skill the World Economic Forum Report on the future of jobs concludes is critically important and will remain so through 2025. So now let's head over and listen to the conversation.
 
 Adam: (01:25)
 So the Harvard Business Review findings that only 25% of learning attendees, find that what they learn improves their performance. What has been your experience with traditional learning approaches?
 
 David: (01:37)
 Maybe I'll start that question then. Adam, it's a great question to really set the context for the discussion with Lynda and personally I've long believed that the traditional methods of learning are woefully inadequate, and that's because they use the same approach in terms of being an outside-in approach. Let me explain what I mean by that. So I've got this philosophy that says, you know, an outside-in approach is effectively when someone comes into a room and they start talking about their experience, the way they learn their techniques, their tools. And that's great for them. In fact, it's brilliant for them, but it's not necessarily good for me. It's not necessarily good for Lynda or even for you or anybody else. So what I talk about a lot more in what I've practiced my entire career is this idea of the inside out method of learning.
 
 David: (02:28)
 And basically, let me give you an example of, what that inside-out method looks like. And I'll use public speaking as an example. So if you think of the traditional way of learning, you would end up going into a classroom, they would teach you about tone. They would teach you about pitch. Maybe they would teach you about what to wear, how to use media, how to walk around the stage and things like that. So all external things, but what they don't teach you for example is how do you harness your nerves as you're about ready to walk on stage and you're nervous. You've got butterflies. You're feeling that little bit of nausea. As you walk on thinking this, can I even do this? That's what they need to teach you. And when you look at experts in this, they've got a very specific technique for how they harness that nervousness and create a really positive energy for themselves.
 
 David: (03:15)
 That's what I mean by inside out. So it's taking the things , you can't see the skills and attributes you can't see, and basically using that to develop expertise. And that's what I refer to as the visible versus the invisible elements of being skilled at something. And it helps to put this in context from the stages of learning. So if you think about learning from the standpoint of we've got this unconscious incompetence, meaning we don't know, we don't know something, right? And we all start there every single one of us at some point. And it's then recognizing that we have that gap in knowledge, and then how do we then move it from the first phase, which is not being aware to then the awareness we're still potentially incompetent in that context. And I use that term very loosely, but at least now we know we don't know something. Then we need to move it to having this conscious competence.
 
 David: (04:08)
 Now we're starting to be aware that we've got a skill. We're applying it. We're starting to get fairly good at it. And ultimately when we move to mastery, it moves to a level of unconsciousness again. So then, you know, you look at experts and they can be incredibly talented. And when you speak to them and say, Hey, how do you do that? How do you harness your nerves before you walk on stage? And the typical answer you get at first is, I don't know, I just do it. And it's about how you get below that to say, Hey, how do you really do it? Tell me a little bit about what you go through so that you can start to understand the techniques that are basically hidden. So that's why I feel that the traditional outside-in approach of learning, doesn't work. So the Harvard Business Review finding's really don't surprise me from that perspective. What's your take Lynda?
 
 Lynda: (04:53)
 Thanks, David. Certainly would concur , with everything that you are saying, just from my experience, I would say, to everyone that we wouldn't discount traditional learning. I think of it more as a foundation, but as David, as you said, you absolutely as an individual or with your teams need to build on it. So an analogy think of watching a cooking show versus going into the kitchen and cooking. Both important. But you do not know until you actually do something or as you say, David, you practice something or you try it. You don't uncover what you do know and what you don't know. You haven't taken the technical learning. Maybe it's your accounting designation. Maybe it's some other expertise and brought it to top of mind where it's more inside, it's more intuitive. So I would say, you know, build on, on those traditional, if you have them, because they do serve a purpose, but David, as you said, then how do you internalize it? How do you become self aware? This is what I do well, but these are my gaps and then start doing things and it can be a class or it can be practice, or if it can be a volunteer role or it can be an assignment on a board. There's ways, different ways of doing that practice.
 
 Adam: (06:13)
 So you both raise some very interesting examples. And if you could choose one example to share with the listeners where you personally had the richest learning experience, what would that be and why that one? Lynda, can we start with you?
 
 Lynda: (06:29)
 Let me think. an example. I think one of my best examples for myself was early in my career. So I was working with a multinational high tech company and I was very early mid twenties. And this company went through its first acquisition of a workstation company. And at that time there hadn't been processes or protocol. They said, Hey, Lynda, would you go over to this company's offices, other side of the city and just figure out how to integrate it. So I had my accounting and business degrees and I had that piece, but until I went over and learned, okay, where is your general ledger? Where are your systems? What do you do? And immerse yourself in it, you don't know what you do and don't know. About a company, about the business model, about the people, as David said, half of it is, the emotional intelligence and emotional quotient. And so I think for me, immersing myself in that unknown situation, where I was the only individual and these other 40 people were not very happy to have me there, was my best experience of an on-hand learning experience. David, I'm gonna turn it to you now.
 
 David: (07:43)
 So I I agree with Lynda. Adam, I think it's really challenging to choose, but one example, right? Because when you think about your career, it's rich of examples that we've had in terms of learning. But let me give it a go anyway. I think for me, it was probably to be honest, when I wrote my book. Something that first really seemed so easy, turned out to be so much more challenging than I ever expected that it would. And the learning for me went well beyond the idea of a 10% new approach, which I tend to adopt a day to day. And what I mean by that is I just do one little thing every day. So if 10% of my day is a new learning, a new experience, meeting a new person, learning about a new process, as Lynda said, you know, going in and, seeing something different.
 
 David: (08:31)
 This went well beyond that 10%. So I was probably at the 90% learning new, which was, definitely at the deep end. If I think about, for example, something that at least listeners will go through very commonly. And we all go through as accounting and finance professionals. It's one thing to write a report or to write an accounting paper, or even frankly, to write articles that are accounting, business, or transformation related. That's so much different than writing a book. If I think about what it took to write a book, I had to think about how do I elaborate ideas, really, not just superficially, which you tend to have to do when the writing format is much shorter. You tend to go over at a fairly high level, but when you write a book, you have to elaborate them much deeper than that.
 
 David: (09:17)
 And you have to avoid repetition, which believe me is so much harder than it sounds because we do tend to repeat ourselves, as adults as well. And then I had to learn how to use humor appropriately. I love humor personally, but humor has to be situationally appropriate, right? Because it doesn't work in all cultures. It doesn't work in all contexts. So having to think about humor very differently. And then I had to be able to tell the story in a really compelling yet relatable way. Again, all sounds so easy, but when you actually get into it, you think, okay, how am I actually going to do this? So I also learned through that process, that I need to, or I had to get comfortable relying on experts. People that could do things that frankly I couldn't do. And I think that's a big learning in terms of going through career is knowing when to lean into the expertise of other people and accept that it's something we don't have ourselves.
 
 David: (10:11)
 And I learned that probably the quickest through the editing process. In fact, one of the editors I had when I did the book and by the way, when we think of editing, I personally thought of just one editor. No, no, it doesn't work like that. There's a structural editor who helps set the structure of the book. So it actually makes sense. Then there's a different kind of editor that helps with the flow to make sure it all sounds cohesive and works together. Then there's a third type of editor who ends up correcting things like the spelling mistakes and the grammar, very different skill sets. And the best learning I got was from the structural editor, who frankly, when she gave me feedback on the book at first was she said to me, look, David, you've got a couple of choices. You can either go with the format that you've got, which is effectively talking about the inside-out model.
 
 David: (11:01)
 And then the second part that I talked about in the original version of the book was how to build a business out of it. Because it's something I had done before, and that was the approach, I submitted in and she said, you could do that, but she said, how about you do this? How about you keep the first half of the book, which is great. And then talk about the second half from the standpoint of building it into your own life. And then talking to people about how they embed the technique in their own life, rather than talk about how to build a business. And I did that and it turned out to be a great decision because the book has done really well and it's relatable. So I think that was the learning I had as well as how do you take feedback in the spirit it's intended because it's designed ultimately to help us, right?
 
 David: (11:43)
 And if we take it from that standpoint, we can end up with a much better product, which I did, and it can also provide a springboard in my case for the next book, which will end up coming out next year. So for me, it's all about being open to learning, open to change, and really seeing the whole thing as one big adventure, no matter how challenging it looks. To Lynda's point, you know, whether you walk into an acquisition or you walk into a book, it's how do you look at it as look, this is one big adventure challenge. Let me take it on.
 
 Adam: (12:12)
 Now, one thing that I picked up from, our conversations that we had together, was that you two have been working together for many years and become friends and maybe I could start with asking what was one memorable thing that you did learn from each other working together and how has it impacted you now? And David let's put you in the hot seat since you reported to Lynda.
 
 David: (12:35)
 Oh, thanks Adam. Nothing like being in the hot seat. So you're right. In all serious, you know, I really learned many, many things from Lynda or perhaps the most memorable one that I learned was how to be an empathetic leader. If I think about the fact that we spend hours together in meetings, honestly, sometimes some of those meetings were quite challenging, especially when we started talking about revenue recognition. And can we recognize revenue? Why can't we, and is there a way around that, or if we think about the country balance sheet review processes that we went through, where sometimes there was an item in the balance sheet and lots of questions came out and sometimes those questions were difficult to work through. And sometimes the opinions differed quite a lot as well, and they could become quite strong and do so quite quickly.
 
 David: (13:21)
 And it was really helpful to watch Lynda go through this process and see her really skillfully maneuver through different motivations and think about how to connect with people wherever they happen to be as opposed to asking them to connect with her, where she happened to be. And frankly, she made it look effortless, right? In terms of putting yourself in the shoes of other people and, and being able to see why they were coming at something from the way they did. And she really took the time to explain, you know, why she thought a particular approach was perhaps more helpful or more important in the context of what we were doing or perhaps that it was unimportant, depending on the situation. And I think it's probably fair to say, and Lynda might disagree with me, but I think it's fair to say that she probably, didn't realize at the time that she was actually modeling the inside- out learning approach, that I ended up writing about in the book.
 
 David: (14:16)
 So she clearly was an early pioneer, knowingly or unknowingly, and really helped me see things I think through a very different lens. And she taught me that when we start to understand those hidden motivations for doing something and how we can tap into that, then frankly we can learn any skill and perhaps the most valuable of all skills we can learn just having that mindset. And that approach is the skill of learning skills. And this is something that's been talked about by many, including the world economic forum as well. So in other words, we're on a path to continuous lifelong learning. And I think if there's one thing I've taken through my career and, Lynda has been a strong supporter of, is that lifelong learning is really important. And if we remember what I said a little bit earlier about the hidden attributes of skill mastery, when we can embed both those visible and invisible elements of the skill that unconscious part of the brain, then it becomes something that we just do, right? It's a little bit like when you drive your car home and you're not consciously thinking about the roads that you're driving down, you're not consciously thinking about the trees you're passing or the other cars on the road, other than obviously for safety, you're just doing it because it's imprinted as part of your brain. And ultimately you intuitively know where to go, you know what to do. So by learning how to model skills, frankly, I've ended up becoming a better leader myself. And I think Lynda is a big part of why that's happened.
 
 Lynda: (15:47)
 Wow. Well, thank you, David. I think that I'll just sign off the podcast now. That was lovely. Yeah, kidding aside. But I do very much appreciate those thoughts and it is a mutual respect. And I think, Adam, when you ask, what have we learned from each other? I certainly have valued from the beginning in working with David, especially in finance and accounting. It takes a lot of courage for one to do what we know is the right thing. And, so, I've always said to my finance team, you know, be prepared to lose your job, to stand up for the right thing. Misreporting or misrepresentation of financials is one of the fundamental problems and risks out there. And so having the courage to know what is correct reporting, what is correct accounting, and to stand up for it and you have to build for yourself before you get into that situation.
 
 Lynda: (16:46)
 And David does this and I've done this, and this is why we work well, that we recognize that you have to know you're going to stand up for the right thing before the situation comes up. You can't decide in the moment what you're going to do because you get confused. And, the other is you build resiliency in your life so that you're not so dependent on a job that you haven't set a little bit of savings aside that you, can get by week to week that not easy. Like this is not, I don't say that lightly, but try and live within your means. This isn't a financial podcast, Adam, I promise you, but it is these kind of steps to build resiliency, allow you to be your best and allow you to make the right decisions. And I would also say, you know, learning from David and, seeing what he does, enthusiasm and risk taking.
 
 Lynda: (17:38)
 Now you can hear the enthusiasm in his voice and writing the book and just how much he put into that. So what does enthusiasm mean? It means being engaged. It means doing the research. It means caring about learning new techniques and then figuring out how to articulate and share them with the people around you. In David's case, writing a book and risk taking. But we're all busy and we're all sometimes afraid of doing more or doing something that's new and uncomfortable. Again, great example in David taking that on when he already had lots of other things on his plate. So I would say Adam, you know, these kinds of things, you look at your friends that you admire, look at your colleague that you admire and, pause. What do I admire? And then see if you can embrace it yourself.
 
 Adam: (18:25)
 So here's a question, a little outside the box. What if you're in a situation where you don't look up to any of your colleagues inside of your workplace? What, you know, is that a reason to say, you know what, maybe I should go somewhere else where I can grow.
 
 Lynda: (18:42)
 So I'll start with that one. and it's such an important question. I would say, yes, Adam. So , if you are feeling uncomfortable, pay attention to your gut, and then you consider, why am I uncomfortable? Is it something that can be addressed and managed? And if so, how would I go about it? And what would be the avenue where I could find someone in the company who shares my value set and would be a good, safe, founding place to address it. If it is a situation where it's not addressable and you've underlying concerns. And I think it is absolutely appropriate to say, do I need to remove myself from this situation? So those are very fair. And, we will all come through. I have gone through my career two or three conversations where I thought I'm gonna get fired today, because I know they're not gonna, like what I'm going to say.
 
 Speaker 4: (19:40)
 However, I tried to go into those rather than just a, no. It was, we can do A, or we can do B unfortunately C is off the table. So let's talk about A and B and it just took the conversation. Granted, you pulled it back a few times to what you can do, and then as opposed to deliberately focusing on what you can't, I would just say the, last, piece of it, and I'll turn it over to David, is that in every situation, even when I was in high school, I was working in a part-time job and it was just not a great company. The processes were bad. And what I learned was what will I not do when I am someday in a position of influence. You can always learn, if you can't learn anything else, what can you take away that you won't do yourself when you have that chance. There's always learning. So David, over to you,
 
 David: (20:35)
 You raised some excellent points. And I think Adam, to answer your question really simply I think if an individual, a listener is in an organization or a role where they just don't see any role models, I think to be honest, I think the easiest thing to do is definitely dust off the resume if it's not already polished. And that would be one piece of advice I would always give - I've given it to my staff my entire career - is always be market ready. And I think this is one chance or one situation where being market ready is very helpful. Because if we can't look to the individuals around us, in a workplace setting and feel some sense of pride, relation, connection, then I think we're not in the right culture. We're not in the right environment. And I think we do need to look for alternatives.
 
 David: (21:22)
 I think all of the suggestions that Lynda's made are absolutely spot on. And I agree with them. I agree, it's hard sometimes to do the right thing, to make the tough calls, because to realize that we're in the wrong environment means we have to leave. And that puts us back into a risk taking position as well. Potentially we have to, you know, start all the way at the bottom, depending on where we are in our careers. Sometimes we do, sometimes we don't. But all of it is significant change, and all of it needs to be adopted, but they're all important skills to learn, right? Because the more resilient we can be in our lives, whether it's personally or professionally, the more successful we will end up being. And the more likely we are to choose environments and roles that fit for us, right. We don't feel compelled. As Lynda said, I remember taking that first part-time job at as well as a kid thinking, oh, I never want to do this when I grow up. And it was more this idea of just realizing, okay, if I want to do something different, I have to take control of what I do, and I have to be responsible for the decisions that I make. It's not down to anybody else. So I think ultimately just having that mindset from a very early age is very helpful.
 
 Adam: (22:29)
 Definitely. And you guys have a very rich experiences in your career, you know, I think that was a nice segue to, you know, what would you offer individuals who are starting their career or midway through their career, or even contemplating a career change to kind of help them prepare for the next challenge. And I think we kind of started that with that last question, but, Lynda, maybe you can dig into that a little bit more?
 
 Lynda: (22:49)
 So when, people look forward and a career change or a career decision is one of the biggest things that people struggle with and, deliberate on for all of the right reasons. So if you're in a role and let's say, Adam, you're in a role for five or six years, and you're thinking, should I make a change? One role of them to, ask yourself is, well, if I spend two more years in this role, what will it look like in two years time? What will I have learned that I haven't already learned? Maybe there's a lot? Maybe not much? What will I have added to my experience to what will I have practiced? And if there's a lot of change or opportunity coming, then you may say, yeah, I can see how the next two years will play out.
 
 Lynda: (23:36)
 And at the end of that time, what I will have had a chance to try or to experience or to do. On the other hand, I've had many people say, you know, another two years of the same rule, I really won't have much more experience than now. And that's the first good tip to themselves that it's time to try something new. Sometimes the change is forced upon you. Like through mergers and acquisitions, and then you're in a new role you may be asked or you just be given, and this is your new role. And you're thinking, do I want to stay in it? Do I even want this new role? I had that once through when a major merger of the company went through and I was given a lovely title, but almost all of my staff was moved to other lines of business.
 
 Lynda: (24:18)
 So I was expected to do the CFO role without all of the normal tools or people. And I had to do it through influence for the most part, apparently, but ultimately I decided, you know, can I learn something in this new role? And can I contribute? I boiled the situation down to those two questions. Can I learn? And can I contribute? If so, I will give it an another 12 months and let me see how it unfolds. So it wasn't an open-ended, it wasn't decide right now, it was, if it met those two criteria for me, can I learn and can I contribute? I'd be willing to see how it played out. It actually, I did stay, it played out beautifully, eventually moved to an America's and worldwide role. But in the moment crystallize your personal question is, and if you can achieve something in it, then, it's good to go for. And if not, then you move to a plan B and look for something else. And so, and David, with that, I think I'll turn it over to you.
 
 David: (25:21)
 It it's interesting as you were relaying that story, Lynda, it reminded me of when we worked together. I was just wondering, was that about the same time that I was facing, or I was being taught to take a global role where you were losing me as part of that as well? Because I know we had , a conversation about that because I felt pulled, between staying with the local team, which I absolutely loved working with as opposed to going into a global organization where the influence certainly would be more, but I would have to reestablish all of the relationships. So I remember going through that at the time and you and I talking about it. So it's good segue.
 
 Lynda: (25:58)
 Yes. That was the time and lots of change and lots of personal self examination. And then trying, you never really know, do you David, where the company is gonna go? All you can do is assess and then do a little bit of a leap of faith. And if it fits with some of what you feel you can learn.
 
 David: (26:17)
 Yeah, absolutely. And you are right. It ended up working out really well for both of us in very different ways. And here we are today doing our podcast together. I'm very much like Lynda, I'm a forward looking eye. I really do look ahead as well. I probably do it slightly differently from Lynda. I tend to do a little bit of a longer term approach. So yes, I do look a year ahead, but I also look three to five years and more ahead as well, because some of the changes that we might want in our life might take quite a while for them to materialize. So one of the techniques I use is actually a very cool technique that was created by Walt Disney himself. And he created it for his organization to help with creative thinking, forward looking, and just this idea of dreaming.
 
 David: (27:01)
 And if you think about the organization, it definitely needed to thrive on creativity, given what they created, but effectively his model was morphed to use in business. And it's called the Disney strategy. And it's a three step strategy basically. And this works, whether you're talking about your professional life, whether you're talking about your personal life. And it's really saying, well, whether I'm at the beginning of my career, the middle of it, or the end, doesn't really matter because at the end, you're just going to a new chapter. It's just a whole new set of experiences, right? That still need a plan that still need an idea and an approach and a roadmap. So basically the approach starts like this. We start by thinking through very vividly, what is it that we actually want? You know, can I picture exactly what I want to achieve, whether it's where you want to live, where you want to work, whether it's have your own business, work in a company, it doesn't really matter what it is.
 
 David: (27:52)
 It, as long as you've got some level of passion for it, and that you can see very vividly how it's going to unfold. So you can imagine it happening and you can see yourself in different facets of it. That's what we refer to as the dream phase, right? It's the whole creative idea in that place we don't think about, is it possible? This doesn't even come into the realm of thinking everything is possible when we start talking about dreaming, right? So we go in with that mindset, which is great because you can effectively dream anything. The second stage that we go through then is a little bit more into reality, which is okay, I've got a dream. Wonderful, but now I need a plan. I need to actually make it happen. So then we move into this mindset of putting together a plan to make the dream come true.
 
 David: (28:36)
 So in that phase, we're not thinking about whether the dream is realistic, whether or not it's achievable. Of course it's achievable because now we're just about planning. So the plan is about achieving whatever the dream happens to be. And then when we've gone through the plan and we think the plan is fairly robust, we then move into a third mindset, which is why it's a three step model. And that third mindset is all about critiquing. Now this is when we look at the plan and this is where as, accountants will be brilliant at this. We poke holes in the plan. We find flaws in the plan and this we're very, very good at. So we are not again, trying to solve the problem. We're just trying to point out weaknesses, gaps, or issues that need addressing. And then effectively there's this back and forth process we go through where we change mindsets between planning and critiquing until we get it to the point where the critique can't find any more holes or flaws or risks in it, it says, okay, the plan is solid.
 
 David: (29:32)
 And then effectively we can end up then executing on that plan. And you might say to me, well, have you actually ever used the plan? You talk about it, but have you ever done it? And the answer is absolutely when I first started my career. And again, I didn't realize it was called the Disney strategy back then. When I first started my career and I first looked at this, I had in my mind a plan around what I wanted to do with my career. And I literally said, okay, from entry job over the next 10 years, what do I want to achieve? And I set out a concrete plan for myself around starting as an individual contributor, moving up to a team leader, then a supervisor, then a manager, then a director, you know, kind of the traditional path, if you will.
 
 David: (30:14)
 And I narrowed it down to four companies. That's all I put in my plan now, in retrospect probably wasn't enough, but at the time it seemed to work out quite well because one of the companies on that plan, I ended up joining and it's ultimately where Lynda and I ended up meeting. And I went after that plan relentlessly, I used every lever available to me to make that plan happen and it did. And ultimately it ended up leading to a career that's become, incredibly fulfilling and I've been able to do, as Lynda said, lots of other things that have allowed me to actually tap into a passion, which I have, which is speaking and being able to share things with other people to help them in their careers. Because funnily enough, as I get a little bit older, I find that the more I can help others, the more fulfilling I find this experience.
 
 David: (31:02)
 So, you know, when I think about my early career and you think about, it's all about title, it's all about money for a lot of people, not everybody clearly, but certainly it was for me when I was young. And then thinking through, as I got a little bit older thinking, you know what? Those things actually don't matter as much anymore. What matters to me is that I feel fulfilled and I feel a sense of purpose us. And ultimately, you know, am I living the kind of life that I want to be? So what's all that taught me then at the end? It's really taught me that ultimately every experience we go through, as Lynda said earlier, teaches us something. The key is to be open, to listening to what it teaches us, and making sure that we don't lose that lesson and that we embody that, in everything we do after.
 
 Adam: (31:48)
 I think that's great advice, David. Being open and willing to listen to just about anything is huge for everybody. And so, as we kind of wrap up our conversation and, David, you've already talked about how you like looking into the future. And as, our listeners know, when we talk to David, he always likes to finish about talking about the future. So what's some parting advice do you have for our listeners on the skills they should be thinking about to future proof themselves? Because we have an everchanging industry, you know, COVID 19 is becoming COVID whatever, and there's so many different things happening for everybody in the world. What should we be doing right now? What should our listeners be doing as we look to the future?
 
 David: (32:31)
 It's a great question. And you're right, Adam, I really do love finishing on a forward looking question. So yeah. What can accounting and finance professionals do? Well, there's a few things that we can do, right? In fact, we have many choices. I think as Lynda said a little bit earlier, it's really embracing a willingness to take control of our choices, whether they're personal or professional, right? Because at the end of the day, we alone are in control of our lives. Yes, events happen around us, but how react to them is entirely within our control. What we learn from them is within our control. So I think if we own things, we plan for them, we execute them. And then we savor the successes, no matter how big or small they are. That's important again, you know, Lynda gave me some advice many, many years ago when I was doing far too much.
 
 David: (33:18)
 And she said to me, one day she said, David, do you celebrate these little things that you go through? And I sat and I thought about it and thought, you know what, no, I don't. I just go on to the next thing. So I think that's one thing that I've learned is really important because it also creates this sense of purpose and that we are not just going from one fire to the next. the other things I would say to our listeners are really think about learning from the inside out. So really think about getting below the skin, so to speak and adapt our learning, to be able to leverage our own strengths, our own preferences and our own personal style. What works for me doesn't necessarily work for everybody else. And that's okay. But it's about learning from other people to get different perspectives, to then figure out how do we embed and emulate what we wanna emulate and what we wanna model.
 
 David: (34:11)
 So it's really learning it from that point of view, but doing it in our way. And that's why the inside-out learning model is so effective because we do customize it to how we are as individuals. And I think I would always say to have fun when learning, it makes it so much easier to assimilate learning and to retain it when we're having fun, when we're laughing about it. It's amazing when you laugh at a movie, you can actually recount the movie so much better than if you watch a very heavy movie and you think, oh, I need to, you know, that was a heavy movie within a day or so. You'll forget most of the movie, whereas if it was funny and it had you rolling around laughing, you'll remember a lot of the movie, because again, it's quite relatable. So I would say, because in truth, we can't afford to wait and see what happens. We've got to start and be much more assertive in our roles and in our own learning and development. And as I mentioned, it's really about finding passion and purpose. And then it doesn't feel like work. The whole thing feels really enjoyable and it's great fun. And you meet great people along the way. So I would say those are probably my parting words. As I look forward to help individuals, Lynda, what are your thoughts
 
 Lynda: (35:20)
 On top of that, and I agree with having fun and learning, every day, my suggestion to all of the listeners is invest in yourself every day, every day. If you think about, what you can learn and what you can do, it all comes from within and the, and the inside of David that you write about in the power of potential and you speak to. Think about it when you're on the airplane. Remember when you get on the airplane and you're giving the advice and you're buckling up, what do they say? They say, put your own mask on first, if you're in an emergency situation. And that's where the invest in yourself is one of the best things you can do, cuz we don't always know the future. We can look for trends. We can keep informed. Here's a really easy one.
 
 Lynda: (36:07)
 When I guest lecture to MBA programs that I share with them when they, when we first open a class and I ask them, what's the headline today in let's say it's a finance or accounting group like this, the audience, what's the headline in the business section? And a lot of times they'll be spending thousands and thousands of dollars doing this degree. And they don't know what the headline in the newspaper is. And this is the one easy, easy way to invest in yourself to spend. And now you don't have to subscribe to a print newspaper. You can listen to a podcast like Adam's doing with us today. You can go online and look at digital information. So there's no cost, take 10 minutes, find a headline that interests you and then say, how would I explain this to my neighbor?
 
 Lynda: (36:55)
 If I'm down in the lobby or if I'm speaking to, you know, my family at dinner tonight, what are the sound bytes of, this situation. This is the company, this is the issue. This is the impact. And here's what I think about it. What do you think? If you can take an idea and invest in yourself by learning and articulate it in a few sentences, you have just given yourself a gift you've invested in yourself and you are going to be well equipped. And Adam, to your question of, you know, for future proofing ourselves, I think the best way to future proof is to stay current. Stay curious.
 
 Closing: (37:37)
 This has been Count Me In, IMA's podcast providing you with the latest perspectives of thought leaders from the accounting and finance profession. If you like what you heard, and you'd like to be counted in for more relevant accounting and finance education, visit IMA's website at www.imanet.org.

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