Chapter 11Take “Yes, But” Off the Table

Once you replace negative thoughts with positive ones, you'll start having positive results.

—Willie Nelson

In some industries, it's harder to create positive cultures than in others. Phil Moore, the managing partner of Porter Keadle Moore, an Atlanta-based accounting firm, says, “As accountants, our job is to find the bad stuff that other people can't see, so it's easy for our default to be negative.”

When Porter Keadle Moore was founded in 1997, they worked primarily with life insurance companies. They expanded into community banking, and now PKM (as they're known) currently represents corporations in the financial, insurance, technology and biological science, commercial, and government service arenas. Their NSP is We help clients seize opportunities and reduce risk.

Their clients are in high-risk situations. PKM's role is to help them be successful, while at the same time, to avoid problems. Moore says, “You get a bunch of accountants, or engineers, or lawyers together, and it's not going to be as positive as a roomful of PR or marketing people.” He describes the DNA of accountants saying, “We put ourselves in a position where our default wiring is finding problems, or at least we've tended to believe that's our job. Our culture, the nature of our business, is about finding the problems with performance. We have trained ourselves to look for the bad stuff.”

Moore, along with senior partner and COO Debbie Sessions, recognized that their ...

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