This month’s Leadership Spotlight features Katie Davis, Partner at James Moore & Co. Katie recently graduated from our Transformational Leadership Program™ (TLP) and we’ve enjoyed getting to know her over the past year. Katie has a passion for providing value to clients beyond traditional accounting services. In her role, she is actively involved in the development and implementation of the firm’s nontraditional service lines. Katie is Lean Six Sigma certified and helps clients improve their operations and grow their bottom line by redirecting their resources to the things that matter most. In addition to her consulting role, Katie provides accounting and consulting services to privately held businesses, nonprofit organizations and higher education institutions, including collegiate athletics departments, nationwide.
ConvergenceCoaching: Whose leadership style do you most admire and why?
KD: Tim Tebow is my choice. Yes, I admit I’m biased as an alumni and die-hard fan of the Florida Gators, but biases aside, his fearlessness, vulnerability and positivity truly inspire me to continuously grow as a leader. Tim tries new things and faces new challenges head-on while inspiring those around him. He’s not afraid to be himself or openly discuss what he believes in, and he always takes the high road in difficult situations. He is a servant leader that takes ownership of team failures and reacts positively using his faith in himself and his teammates to bounce back.
ConvergenceCoaching: What do you think the single most important leadership attribute or characteristic is and why?
KD: Awareness – both self-awareness and social-awareness. First, you need to be aware of what’s going on around you by observing, listening, and understanding. Then, you should be able to adapt to the moment with actions that matter to that specific person or situation in order to make the biggest impact.
ConvergenceCoaching: What do you look for in young up-and-coming leaders?
KD: Proactivity. Anyone who thinks ahead, does something without being asked, and looks for ways to work smarter and not harder. When I see these attributes, I think that person is more likely to be more efficient, manage time well, have flexibility, take ownership of a project, and will ultimately provide more valuable client service.
ConvergenceCoaching: How do you develop leadership in others?
KD: I really enjoy the synergy that comes from collaborating with those on my team, whether it’s working on a client service project, a strategic firm project, or a business development activity. I hope that my teammates’ experiences in real-life scenarios, where they see successes and failures in action, help them learn and grow. I don’t want to use a “mother knows best” approach, preaching the do’s and don’ts. I certainly still provide that advice to my team here and there, but without true application, I don’t think it is as impactful. I also encourage them to seek out opportunities to collaborate with other leaders in our firm for a more diverse perspective, and I hope they pay it forward by collaborating with those they supervise.
ConvergenceCoaching: What advice do you have for those looking to step into a leadership position in their firms or businesses?
KD: The NextGen leader wave is coming fast and with fury, and with that will come a sea of change. My biggest advice is to be patient as you communicate change ideas to the leaders in your firm, and to remain positive when you face hesitation or resistance from others. Don’t give up!
ConvergenceCoaching: What three words best describe your leadership style?
KD: Collaborative, innovative, focused.
I appreciate how intentional Katie is about providing experiential learning opportunities for her team. “On the job” learning is one of the most effective and efficient ways to help people learn new skills. Plus, younger talent seek hands-on experience and direct interaction with clients, firm leaders and others. I also admire Katie’s approach to collaborating with her team. It’s clear that she wants her people to be successful and to grow in their roles.
Katie serves a unique role in her firm, and I would expect other emerging leaders look to her as a role model of the different capacities in which firms can provide value to clients. Katie’s focus on specific target markets and on her Lean Six Sigma consulting are prime examples of finding your career sweet spot and growing those areas of the firm. Others can use her example to determine where they want to focus their careers and work to make that vision a reality.
Do you provide experiential learning opportunities for your people? How do you create an intentional focus on helping others grow? What about helping others find their career sweet spot – what are your strategies? Please share your ideas in the comments box below. We’d love your feedback!