1Why Leadership Matters

“One does not ‘manage’ people. The task is to lead people. And the goal is to make productive the specific strengths and knowledge of each individual.”


Leading the Brightest of the Bright

CPAs and chartered accountants are some of the brightest professionals in the world. Accountants regularly rank in the top 10 percent on college entrance exams, and most people would argue that their intelligence quotients rank at the very top, as well.

This book is about leading a small (or large) group of very bright, somewhat introverted, and skeptical accountants toward a common goal. It’s about

▴ leading a small team of auditors, tax accountants, or consultants.

▴ the new manager leading a group of accountants on an engagement.

▴ leading niches, divisions, and service lines.

▴ leading large organizations with many offices and hundreds of partners, owners, or shareholders.

When I became an audit senior and later a manager at Price Waterhouse, I mistakenly thought that the title on my business card gave me the right to tell people what to do. Looking back in horror, I know now that people didn’t want to follow my leadership because they felt dominated and manipulated. It was a painful lesson for me to learn that I could manage projects and processes but not people. It took me many years and experiences to grasp the lesson embodied in Drucker’s opening quote, and I am still working hard on it today. To be effective, you can’t manage people; you must

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