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Firm Management

Creating Trust Through Change Management

Your firm is focused on improving your tax and/or audit process by leveraging Lean Six Sigma (LSS). LSS is a proven process improvement methodology used by many leading firms to improve their processes. Lean focuses on the speed of the process, Six ...


Your firm is focused on improving your tax and/or audit process by leveraging Lean Six Sigma (LSS). LSS is a proven process improvement methodology used by many leading firms to improve their processes. Lean focuses on the speed of the process, Six Sigma is about the quality.  Together, your improved process has just the right mix of increased quality and efficiency.

The benefits of LSS are not limited to just process improvement. LSS is also a powerful change management tool. The tools of LSS help your process improvement team communicate the changes to your entire firm. The ultimate success of your change initiative will be measured on your team’s ability to understand and explain why you needed to make changes and why will these changes be better. You and the team spent ample time answering these two ‘why’ questions.

Fast forward a few months. Now, you are in the throes of busy season, and some people are not following the new processes. In fact, some of them are ignoring the changes that you thought made the most sense. How can this be?

How much do you care?

Have you ever heard this quote from Theodore Roosevelt? “No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care.”

When faced with the challenge of changing processes in your firm, you must remember that you need to gain the trust of your peers. In some instances, they need some extra reinforcement to understand the change.

Remember, most of your firm was not in on all of the discussions. They probably don’t have the deep understanding of what Lean Six Sigma is, why the firm needs to make changes or how it will be better when those changes are made. They didn’t spend the time you did answering the ‘why’ questions.

Of course, every member of the firm doesn’t need to be privy to every detail that the team discussed. But they should know what Lean Six Sigma is and the reasons for undertaking the project. Without this understanding, they could be making assumptions about the reasons for change. Remember, a key aspect of successfully leading any type of change is to understand that people’s reaction to change is largely based on emotion, not logic.

Gaining trust

To establish trust, you need to do more than share your vision for the project. You need to execute the project in a way that shows genuine interest in the concerns of the employees responsible for implementing the process.

When you come across resistance to following new processes, consider this strategy: “I know how you feel. During our team sessions, I felt the exact same way. Here is why we made the change and here is what I found after I made the change to my daily routine.”

We like to say, all progress begins with the truth. So start there. It can be difficult to get people on board with change, but when you demonstrate that you care, you strengthen the trust between you and them.

When firms cultivate a culture of trust, buy-in is not something that they need to work to achieve. It just happens. This is especially important during times of significant change. Trust helps your firm not only improve your process but also improve the speed of implementation. It’s not just a “nice to have.” It’s an imperative.


As a Consultant and Lean Six Sigma Black Belt for Boomer Consulting Inc., Michael leverages his past CPA firm experience to provide factual, reliable and thorough results on client engagements.  He focuses on Lean Six Sigma Projects and Training; Strategic Planning; Technology Planning; and engagements designed to fulfill the custom needs of CPA firms across the country.


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